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Cooking with Bison
meat_nutrition_chart.jpg (16938 bytes)

Source:  Graphic:  USDA.  Text and recipes:  National Bison Association

Note:  The graphic is hard to read,.  It illustrates the low-fat content of bison (2.42 grams) compared with beef (9.28 grams), pork (9.66 grams), and skinless chicken (7.41 grams).  Note the cholesterol content is about the same.   Also interesting to note that skinless chicken is still higher in cholesterol than beef or pork!

The following recipes are designed to give the reader and/or first time Bison meat buyer an opportunity to sample several Bison cuts. However, may we first recommend that Bison be tried alone, without condiments, spices or sauces. The meat truly has a subtle, discernible taste by itself that is highly agreeable and satisfying. By leaving off the condiments one can actually improve the taste and dramatically improve the calorie count. Individual cuts of Bison are identical to beef, except for color. Prior to cooking, Bison is a deeper red. This is due to the fact that Bison does not marble (produce internal streaks of fat) like beef. Marbling slows down the cooking process because the fat acts as an insulator - heat must first penetrate this insulation before the cooking process can begin.

Since Bison lacks marbling, the meat has a tendency to cook more rapidly. Caution must be taken to guarantee that you do not overcook Bison. The recipes in this section were prepared and tested by independent food consultant, Rhoda Friesen of Westminster, Colorado. The nutritional analysis for each recipe is on a per serving basis, derived from USDA values and research conducted by Dr. Martin Marchello, North Dakota State University, Fargo, ND.

Grilled Bison Steak Rub your favorite 6 oz. cut of Bison steak with a combination of a little garlic salt, cooking oil, and lemon pepper. Grill steaks 4-6 inches above medium hot coals (325) for the following times, depending on thickness:

1" thick - Rare: 6 - 8 min. Medium: 8 - 10 min. 1 1/2" thick - Rare: 8 - 10 min. Medium: 10 - 12 min. 2" thick - Rare: 10 - 12 min. Medium 14 - 18 min.

Tips: Steaks recommended for grilling/barbecuing include Rib Eyes, T-Bones, and New York Strips. Lesser quality Bison steaks are not recommended for grilling unless they have been marinated. Using a fork to turn steaks punctures the meat, so use tongs for turning and keep those wonderful juices in the steak. Bison steaks taste best when grilled to rare or medium (still pink in the center). Cooking time is important to avoid overcooking. Per 6 oz filet: 234 calories; 3.2 g fat; (12% calories from fat); 105 mg cholesterol; 91.8 mg sodium.

Bison Burger
1 pound Ground Bison*
4 burger buns, split and toasted
Salt and pepper

Shape Ground Bison into four 1/2 inch thick patties. Grill covered 4-6 inches above medium hot coals, turning once, just until the pink has disappeared. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Tuck into a toasted bun, top with your favorite condiments and enjoy. Serves 4. Per patty: 156 calories; 9.1 g fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium. *Ground Bison can vary in leanness. The above recipe is based on 92% lean Ground Bison. Ask your meat market for the lean content of their product:
extra-lean 95% or greater; lean 90 to 95%; regular 85-90%.

Bison Kabob
1 pound Bison Sirloin
2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
1 large red bell pepper
1 large onion, quartered
8 mushrooms
8 cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup dry white wine
2 cloves garlic, minced
Cut Bison Sirloin into 1 1/2 inch cubes and place in a glass bowl. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over cubed Bison. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate refrigerated for 8-24 hours. Or, place cubed Bison and marinade in a zippered plastic bag to marinate. Cut squash and red bell pepper into 1/2 inch slices. Alternate meat, squash, pepper, onion and mushrooms on each of 8 skewers, ending each skewer with a cherry tomato.
Grill covered 4-6 inches above medium hot coals for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with the remaining marinade mixture. Serve on a bed of rice. Serves 4. Per serving of marinated meat: 273 calories; 15.7 g fat; 70 mg cholesterol; 546 mg sodium.

Bison Chili
1 pound Ground Bison
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15oz. can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 16oz. cans peeled tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

In a non-stick skillet, saute the Ground Bison and onion until the meat is browned and the onion is tender. Add the pinto beans, tomatoes, water and seasonings. Cover and simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if chili becomes too thick. Add chopped cilantro and simmer an additional 10 minutes. Spoon into bowls and garnish with grated cheese or diced jalapeno peppers. Serves 4. Per serving of meat: 156 calories; 9.1 g fat; 30 mg cholesterol; 60 mg sodium. Per serving of chili: 360 calories; 12.5 g fat  (31% calories from fat); 69 mg cholesterol; 30.9 g carbohydrate; 720 mg sodium.