Buffalo: meat for the 21st Century

extreme weather? fences? no problem.

If you were secretly served buffalo instead of beef – whether as steak or burgers or stew – you probably wouldn’t notice.  The antiquated idea that buffalo meat is tough, dry, strong-tasting and unpalatable is so 20th Century.  Make 2011 your year to try this delicious, healthy and environmentally friendly food.  There are plenty of reasons:

  • Buffalo could be the perfect meat for global climate change.  According to the National Bison Association, extreme weather, from severe cold to sizzling heat and humidity, is no big deal to these shaggy animals.  Extreme heat in the Midwest killed off an unusually high percentage of beef cattle last summer, but local bison shrugged it off.  They’ve survived extreme weather conditions for eons.
  • Bison eat native wild grasses and hay made from those.  They are the ultimate locavore.  They don’t need soybean meal or corn or hormones to fatten up.  Because they don’t “fatten up”.  The meat is very lean compared to beef.
  • Buffalo meat is naturally low fat, and lower in calories compared to beef, pork or even chicken.  A 3.5 oz portion of buffalo has about 150 calories and 2-1/2 grams of fat, vs beef with 200-300 calories and 8-18 grams of fat ( depending on cut).  Think about it another way: if you wanted to eat 300 calories of meat, you could eat 7 oz of buffalo with 5 grams of fat, or 3.5 oz of choice beef with almost 19 grams of fat, half the portion and over 3 times the fat.

Drawbacks?  Bison are wild animals, not docile cattle.  They need big strong fences.  And buffalo is more expensive than beef, although that hasn’t stopped consumers from buying it up.  Even during the recession demand stayed high and supplies are tight as bison ranchers try to ramp up production.  Finally, because the fat content is so low, cooking methods for buffalo should be more gentle, compared to beef.  When grilling a bison steak, rub it with a little olive oil to retain moisture.  The National Bison Association has plenty of cooking tips.

One of the coolest reasons to buy buffalo?  It’s a truly North American food, raised in several states and Canada.  So far, no buffalo is imported from China.   And if you’re still not convinced — it tastes great.  A buffalo burger with sliced tomato, avocado and lettuce is a burger you can feel good about eating.  Buffalo is a food that deserves it’s Health Halo.


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Buffalo Meat, Donna Feldman MS RD. Donna Feldman MS RD said: #Buffalo, #bison, whatever you call it, it's meat for the 21st Century. https://radionutrition.com/?p=1281. #NationalBisonAssociation […]

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