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Buffalo Meat - Nutrition Facts | How to Cook | History and More

Updated on July 13, 2011
American Buffalo Birth photo: jimbowen0306 @flickr
American Buffalo Birth photo: jimbowen0306 @flickr

Growing Interest in Buffalo Meat Health Benefits

Buffalo, also referred to as American bison, are being farmed all around the United States. Currently, there are less than half a million buffalo in the USA.

There are more cows slaughtered daily in the USA than there are buffalo in an entire year! But interest in buffalo meat health benefits is increasing, and it is becoming a popular alternative to red meat.

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Buffalo and Native Americans

Buffalo had been the primary meat source for the Plains Indians before the buffalo were hunted nearly to extinction by settlers during the end of the 19th century. In addition, buffalo supplied the Indians with resources for making almost everything else they needed.

The bones were used to make tools and weapons. Buffalo hides provided clothing and shelter. Even some of the organs were recycled into food and water pouches. Nothing went to waste, not even buffalo chips. They used the chips to make fires.

How Does Buffalo Meat Taste?

The taste of buffalo is comparable to beef, however it is actually sweeter and more tender than beef. It is full of flavor, but doesn't have that gamey taste that you might expect. Because buffalo meat is low fat, it isn't greasy.

If you want to try buffalo meat first without attempting to cook it, several restaurants now offer buffalo meat entrees, especially out in the western United States. My husband has become a regular consumer of healthy buffalo burgers and steaks since he has been working in Wyoming.

Buffalo Meat Nutrition Facts - Buffalo Meat Health Benefits

Buffalo meat is a healthy food alternative to beef, in addition to a delicious one. If you like red meat yet rarely eat it because of health factors, it is possible to enjoy buffalo meat with no remorse. It is actually recommended by the American Heart Association!

Buffalo is more healthy compared to beef, as it contains half the cholesterol and 80% less fat. Buffalo meat also has less fat than chicken or pork. Buffalo is an excellent source of protein, iron, and essential amino acids. A small buffalo steak has about 10 grams of protein and less than 3% total fat.

Buffalo don't require the antibiotics and hormones often given to cattle, since they tend to be fast developing as well as hardy animals. And there is no worry about mad cow disease, since buffalo graze in pastures and feed on all natural grains.

Delicious Buffalo Steak photo: LarimdaME @flickr
Delicious Buffalo Steak photo: LarimdaME @flickr

How and Where to Buy Buffalo Meat

Buffalos possess very similar muscle tissues as cattle. It's available in identical popular meat cuts, such as ribeye steaks, ribs, T bones, Porterhouse, sirloin and many others. So, when you buy buffalo meat, you know exactly what to expect. Or, you can make buffalo burgers, soup, or most anything that you would make with other red meat.

It is possible to purchase both fresh or frozen buffalo meat, if you are lucky. Buffalo meat is usually vacuum packed to increase shelf life. Vacuum packed frozen buffalo meat keeps safely for up to twelve months.

Buffalo meat is more expensive than a lot of meat. But the health benefits outweigh the cost. Buffalo meat might be difficult to find, though. Search for buffalo meat on the internet if your neighborhood supermarkets tend to not sell it.

Buffalo Steaks on the Grill - Delicous! photo: paige_eliz @flickr
Buffalo Steaks on the Grill - Delicous! photo: paige_eliz @flickr

So Many Ways to Cook Buffalo Meat!

As far as seasonings and marinades go, I would opt for few or very little so as not to overpower the natural flavor. In contrast to many cuts of beef, a simple marinade is best for buffalo meat, since this particular meat features a naturally sweet taste.

Buffalo meat can be prepared just like beef, however the reduced fat content causes it to get done quicker. Fat actually prolongs cooking times, and that's why leaner meats cook faster.

It is easy to roast buffalo, fry it, or throw it on the barbeque. You will need to monitor it, so as you don't cook it too long. This is particularly true if you are accustomed to making beef and the cooking times regarding it. You may be surprised at how quickly buffalo meat gets done!

I would suggest adding a bit of olive oil or butter to ground buffalo meat. It is so lean that it can become too dry when cooking.

If you grill your buffalo meat, it is recommended to first sear both sides, and then cook to desired doneness. This will help seal in moisture, and keep the steaks nice and juicy. Rare or medium rare give it the best flavor. Make it more done if you insist, but cooking buffalo meat past medium could make it tough and dried out.

When you broil buffalo steaks, try a rack one level lower than what you normally use with beef, and check on the steak earlier.

For roasting, reduce the heat about fifty degrees Fahrenheit less than with beef.

Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. The buffalo steak temperature to be done at the same temperature as beef, however it will get done quicker.

Learn More About Buffalo, American Bison

American Buffalo Indian Art Painting photo: mharrsch @flickr
American Buffalo Indian Art Painting photo: mharrsch @flickr

Buffalo Meat Nutrition Video

Buffalo Meat Nutrition Facts, How to Cook, History and More Comments

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    • Granny's House profile image

      Granny's House 

      8 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

      I had a buffalo burger. I didn't like it. It was too dry. I think they should have add some pork fat. It is better for you though. It is very lean. Great hub

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 

      8 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Buffalo burgers are great. I have never tried cooking it myself but I would like to.

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      I hate to say this but wasn't pure stupidity to kill the buffolo and introduce cows. Look at the advandage. OK they couldn't have known that but to have a huge amount of buffalo already awailable without any effort and the cows with, even in those days, all the effort.

    • dashingclaire profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      I think I'm really going to try buffalo meat this summer. We eat more turkey burgers than beef, but I think I'll add the buffalo to the menu and not say anything. Just wait to see what happpens n_n


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