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The Princeton Longevity Center Medical News

Bison:  The Other Red Meat?

By: Karen McPartland, RD

Eating something new can bring back childhood memories of having to finish your lima beans or brussel sprouts. It can be a bit traumatic! It’s especially daunting when being asked to add a new animal to your palate’s repertoire. But you’re all grown up now – so how about trying something new for the New Year? Bison is making a “charge” among both diners and chefs alike. Bison meat is not only tasty (some think tastier!) than beef but much healthier too. In fact, those who’ve had to give up beef for heart healthy diets are now able to enjoy Bison with no guilt! Click Here for facts on adding Bison to your diet.

What is Bison?
Bison are also called American Buffalo.  According to the Texas Bison Association, bison belong to the same family as cattle.  But, bison are much gentler on the land and grasses than cattle because they move around more and do not crop the grass as closely. Their hoofprints leave depressions that collect water and their dung serves as a powerful fertilizer: Both assist in seedling germination and establishment.

How are Bison farmed & what do they eat?
Bison are raised on the open range where they roam freely and eat hay or grass.  According to the USDA fact sheet on bison, antibiotics and growth hormones are not given to bison.    

Nutritional Properties of Bison: 
Bison is a nutrient dense food.  In each 3 ounce serving of bison, there are: 
143 calories
2.4 grams fat
22 grams of protein

nutritiontable.jpgIn addition, bison contains more iron per ounce than beef.  Bison contains heme, which is the most useable form of iron.  Bison also contains zinc, phosphorus, niacin, Vitamin B6, and selenium.  See the chart below to compare bison to other types of animal meats.

How does Bison Taste? 
Bison has a sweeter, richer flavor when compared to beef.  There is less of a heavy feeling, with no game or wild taste. As one website says “Bison tastes like beef wishes it could”.

Where to buy Bison: 
Most major supermarkets carry bison.  You can also order bison online directly from bison ranches like BisonRidge Meats (www.bisonridgemeats.com) or others listed on the National Bison Association website (http://www.bisoncentral.com)   
How to cook Bison: 
Bison is very lean and lacks fat marbling so it tends to cook faster than other red meats.  Here are some tips on cooking bison from The North American Bison Cooperative:

  • For ground bison or bison burgers, cook about 2-3 minutes less than you would beef. There is very little fat, so overcooking may result in a dry burger.
  • For roasts, low temperatures and high moisture yield the best results. The best oven temperature for preparing a bison roast is 275 degrees then continue to cook until desired doneness (as indicated on your meat thermometer). Covering the roast in aluminum foil or using a roasting bag helps retain the juices during cooking. Remove roasts from oven at about 5 degrees underdone and allow to set for 15-20 minutes, depending on size.
  • For steaks, preheat broiler at least 5 minutes, then broil farther away from the heat than you would a beef steak. Broil for less time than you would beef, for the doneness you prefer.
  • If you are grilling, simply grill for less time than you would beef.

References:
1. The Texas Bison Association www.texasbison.org
2. The North American Bison Cooperative http://tenderbison.ndnatural.com/Home.aspx
3. BisonRidge Meats www.bisonridgemeats.com
4. United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Factsheets/Bison_from_Farm_to_Table/index.asp
5. The National Bison Association http://www.bisoncentral.com

 

 


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