Bison: the other red meat



If you’re stuck grilling the same old burgers and hot dogs, branch out this summer and grill some bison.

Most grocery stores now carry a variety of bison products, from ground meat to rib eye steaks.  Both of these make for great grilling, with the added benefit of being lower in calories and much lower in fat than beef or even chicken.  Bison also has a higher iron content.  Here’s a summary of nutrition qualities:

  • very low fat
  • lower calorie than other meats
  • high protein
  • high iron
  • significant source of zinc and B12

There’s another reason to eat more bison, separate from nutrition and health: the environment.  Bison do well on native grasses.  They’re well adapted to thrive on the open prairie, without eating energy-intensive grain-based feed or baled hay.

What about the flavor?  Isn’t bison “gamey”?  Not at all.  Obviously it doesn’t taste exactly like beef, since it isn’t beef, but it has a very pleasant flavor all it’s own.  The main difference is that, due to the much lower fat content, bison should be cooked at a lower temperature.  Cooking a bison burger on the same high grill temperatures you use for beef burgers might result in a tough, overcooked burger.  You still need to cook bison burgers to an internal temperature of 155-160° F.

Build a really healthy bison burger for dinner by topping it with sliced avocado, tomato slices, salsa, sautéed onions and mushrooms and/or roasted sweet or chili peppers (anaheim or ancho would go well).  If you must add cheese, use only paper thin shavings of Jack or goat cheese.  Serve on a artisanal whole-grain bun, or just eat it with a fork, with a tossed salad on the side.

For more information about All Things Bison, check out the National Bison Association website.

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