With the barbecue season coming back around (for those that stopped grilling when it got "too cold"), we know you've been dying to try something new with that grill in your backyard. If you've never done so, cooking bison is the perfect way to break out the barbecue again. That being said, we've got some first hand experimentation and research to help you learn about bison. So, here are the 12 Facts About Bison You Didn't Know that we believe you have to know, split in three categories: Nutrition, Cooking Tips, and Fun Facts.
- Bison meat is lower in fat than chicken with only 2.42 grams of fat per serving, with only 1 gram of that being saturated fat.
- Bison has more protein and iron than beef.
- The calories, cholesterol, and sodium levels are also very low.
- Bison is also a great source of numerous vitamins and minerals like B12, potassium, zinc, copper, and selenium that your body will benefit from.
- Bison are raised naturally without the use of growth hormones, stimulants, antibiotics or animal by-products.
- Unlike your steak, bison won't shrink as much during the cooking process as it has less moisture and fats that'll melt away. Be careful about overestimating how much you need from your local grocery store or butcher. BUT, life doesn't always have to be so complicated and you can just eat as much as you want.
- Bison meat cooks faster than beef, so don't wander away from the grill until you’re familiar with the cooking times. Also, don't rush the process. Grill the bison on slightly lower temperatures (compared to steak) and pay attention to the sights and sounds of the meat while it cooks.
- As with ground beef, cook ground bison to 160°F (71.1°C) internal temperature.
- The lower fat content of bison can sometimes mean less flavour, so cooking it with a compound butter will bring a whole lot of moisture and fat back onto your plate for the final presentation.
- Speaking of flavours, bison is known to be slightly sweeter than beef. It's also described to have more subtle "earthy" and "minerally" tastes. However, counter-intuitively, the meat does not have a "gamey" taste.
Bison is one of those meats that you may not have grown up eating or cooking. So, trying it out will definitely expand your knowledge of how different meats react on the grill and produce different flavours. Test it out!
- Bison has been found to be a more preferable meat for those that have heart conditions, diabetes, and/or are trying to lose weight. Disclaimer: this is not medical advice. We may be barbecue experts that deserve some sort of PhD by now, but we aren't medical experts.
- Before Europeans came to North America there were an estimated ten million plains bison doing their wild and woolly thing on the prairies. At the start of the twentieth century there were only about 300. That’s one heavy ecological footprint. Luckily, there were a few people smart enough to conserve some animals and a breeding program was established that eventually saved the species. Thanks to those smart folks we’ve got some bison left to admire and, well… eat... Still admiring them though!
Are you finally convinced that you should try some bison? Well here are some good recipes for you to try, whether or not you've tasted/cooked bison before:
We used to raise ostrich, and their meat is also very low in fat, thus similar to bison and other types of game. Ostrich (and bison) are best and very tasty when cooked rare to medium rare. Cook it beyond that, and the meat becomes tough and tastes like liver. Warning: DO NOT OVERCOOK YOUR BISON !