Grass Fed Bison Cooking Tips by Cut
There is no such thing as tough bison meat, only improperly instructed cooks. Although bison meat is similar to beef, it needs to be prepared and cooked differently. You will find you can interchange bison meat with most of your favorite beef recipes if you follow a few basic instructions.
Individual cuts of bison appear identical to beef, except for color. Prior to cooking, bison meat is dark read- almost red brown. This coloring is due to the fact that bison meat does not marble (produce white, or fat, streaks through the meat) like beef, and also the fact that preservatives are not used to make the meat look artificially red.
Trim your bison meat of all perimeter fat. If there is any visible fat, cut it off. Do not cook the fat. Remember, SLOW AND LOW is key in learning to cook lean meat. You may cook bison to the same doneness that you like beef. We recommend rare to medium. No promises are made for well-done (totally destroyed) steaks or roasts! Overcooked bison meat will bring you the same result as other meats that are overcooked- something nearly as palatable as roofing shingles.
Taste panels evaluated from research done at the South Dakota State University Experiment Station found as the oven temperature increased and the internal temperature of the roast rose to well done, texture, juiciness, and tenderness scores went down.
The best oven temperature is 275℉. Preheat oven. To insure the desired results, use a meat thermometer. In general, you can plan on the roast taking the same amount of time or less than beef would take at the higher temperature. Bison, with no fat, cooks more quickly, so check on it. Bison cuts suitable for roasting are rib steaks and roasts, tenderloin roasts, sirloin roasts, and round roasts.
Crock Pot Cooking
Very slow, moist heat works especially well with the less tender cuts of meat, such as the chuck. The best way is a crock pot or slow cooker. Let it cook all day. With the moist, slow cooking method, you don’t have to worry about overcooking. You can cook it until it falls apart. Use the low setting on your crock pot. The fore shanks, brisket, and stew meat are also well suited to this cooking method.
Pan Fry, Pan Broil, or Braise
First, turn the heat down! You can use a standard beef recipe, but watch the temperature. If you use high heat with bison, use it only for a very, very short time, such as searing, then watch the cooking time. Bison cooks faster than beef.
Move your broiler rack farther away from the heat than you would for beef, about two to five inches. Broil as you would your beef but shorten the cooking time. Turn the steaks a few minutes sooner. Ribeye, tenderloin, and New York strip steaks are fantastic this way.
If you have a grill that tells the temperature, keep it down! Or let the coals die down some. Don’t put bison meat in the flame. If you are grilling a piece of meat that needs a long time to cook, keep the temperature low and use a recipe that uses a marinade, BBQ sauce, or other basting liquid. Lean meat is dry to begin with as it does not have fat in it to keep it moist. You need to baste frequently.
Stir fry is an excellent method of cooking bison. Cut the meat into small strips (across the grain) or cubes. Be sure to use just enough olive oil or polyunsaturated oil to just coat the pan. Remember, bison cooks quickly, so have your vegetables ready to toss in the pan. Heat the oil only enough to sear the meat. Toss the meat quickly around, and then add the other foods. Proceed as the recipe calls for, but keeping the heat down some. The short cooking times in stir fry recipes are excellent for cooking bison.
Microwaving is an excellent way to cook bison, as well as to reheat leftover meat. Steaks are great using the microwave. Either brown the steaks quickly in a frying pan or use a browning pan made for microwave use. Once the steak is browned, a microwave with a high energy level will cook that steak to medium rare in 20 to 40 seconds, according to your taste and the thickness. Practice. Steaks cooked to well done will have a steamed flavor that is unfavorable to some. It is recommended to cook them to the medium stage.
A version of stir fry can be done with the microwave. Very small strips or cubes of meat, marinated or not, along with some of your favorite accompaniments can be put in a covered microwave dish, microwave a minute, stir and put back in for another minute or so. Cook to taste.
Using Ground BISON
Ground bison is naturally lean. Browning ground bison will give caramelization but should produce no fat to drain off. Some suppliers “grade” bison ground meat because some people want a little beef fat (tallow) added back for burgers. It makes grilling easier. Be sure to ask your supplier whether you are buying 100% bison, or whether you are getting ground bison with beef tallow, all Stangel Bison meat is 100% bison.
You can use ground bison in beef recipes. According to the cooking methods used in the recipe, you might be able to skip the browning stage if it was just to cook the fat out, and you are using 100% bison. We feel that the browning process does add flavor to most recipes and should not be skipped. An overpowering of BBQ sauce might be an exception. Be sure your recipe calls for enough cooking time to cook the ground meat.