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Buffalo Meat - the healthy, delicious alternative to beef

Updated on March 18, 2013
Try some buffalo kebobs!
Try some buffalo kebobs! | Source

Bison Meat

How much do you know about buffalo meat, also called “bison meat”? This beef-like flesh is gaining popularity every year, as more and more Americans become concerned with heart health and animal welfare for slaughter livestock. Buffalo meat is even served in some restaurants now, and it’s becoming more “mainstream.” After sampling some buffalo steak rather recently, I’m amazed the trend hasn’t caught on even more than it has. I was a little dubious when my cowboy friend, Gary, offered me some of the steak, but my doubts were quickly squashed. The buffalo meat ribeye was awesome – one of the best steaks I’ve ever tasted! And believe me, as the former wife of a cattle producer for more than a decade, I’ve enjoyed many, many steaks over the years. I hate to admit it, but buffalo meat is even better than choice beefsteaks! It’s also a much healthier choice. I’m going to share with you what I’ve learned about buffalo meat in this article.

Farm-raised bison meat is low in fat and high in nutritional value.
Farm-raised bison meat is low in fat and high in nutritional value. | Source

Buffalo Meat Nutrition

Buffalo meat has a rich, beefy flavor, and it’s also juicy. Believe it or not, however, buffalo meat is much lower in fats than most other meats. For a 100-gram serving of bison meat, you get just 2.42 grams of fat. To do some comparing, consider the amount of fat in some other types of meat. For the same size serving, choice beef contains 10.15 fat grams, select beef contains 8 fat grams, skinless chicken has 7.41 fat grams, and pork delivers 9.66 grams of fat. If you’re a salmon fan, you might be surprised to discover that a 100-gram serving of sockeye salmon packs almost eleven grams of fat – more than four times the amount found in buffalo meat.

Buffalo meat nutrition has other advantages, too. Of all the meats I’ve listed, buffalo meat is the highest in vitamin B-12 and iron, and it’s the lowest in cholesterol. And guess what else you’ll be avoiding when you chow down on some tasty buffalo meat? You most likely won’t be getting chemicals and growth hormones. Many buffalo meat producers are members of the National Bison Association and must adhere to a strict code of ethics. These rules plainly state that no growth hormones can be used, and neither can any non-therapeutic antibiotics be fed. That’s another great reason to substitute buffalo meat for beef.

Buffalo Steaks are amazing - especially if they're dry aged.
Buffalo Steaks are amazing - especially if they're dry aged. | Source

What does Buffalo Meat Taste Like?

If you’ve never sampled buffalo meat, you’re probably wondering how it tastes. Everyone has different taste buds, of course, but to me, buffalo meat tastes like quality beef - only better. The flavor is hard to put into words. It’s rich, beefy, and meaty, and it has a slightly sweet flavor. If you like beef, you’ll love buffalo meat!

Some consumers who have never experienced the taste of buffalo meat might think that bison meat will taste “wild,” like venison, but it doesn’t. Bison that are raised for meat don’t have a “gamey” flavor. The flesh of animals is largely influenced by their diet, and farmed bison are fed a high quality diet of grass and are usually finished on natural grains. Quality in means quality out.

Something else you might want to consider is the “shrinkage factor.” You’ve probably had this experience before: You make some big beef burger patties for the grill, but once they’re cooked, your large patties shrink to the size of postage stamps, and you’re left with a lot more bun than burger. That’s because ground beef contains a lot of fat, and as the fat cooks out, the burgers shrink significantly. You won’t have that problem with buffalo meat because there’s very little fat to escape.

Concerned with Animal Welfare? Most farm-raised bison are allowed to roam and graze freely, just as our cattle were.
Concerned with Animal Welfare? Most farm-raised bison are allowed to roam and graze freely, just as our cattle were. | Source

Bison and calves grazing in Nebraska:

Animal Welfare

How is buffalo meat produced? I’m a meat-eater, but I’m also concerned with animal welfare. When I was part of a cattle-raising family, our animals were treated well. They had hundreds of acres of pasture land to roam, so they actually had some quality of life. Unfortunately, this isn’t the norm with most of the beef produced in the United States today. Many of the animals spend their entire lives on cement, in crowded feedlots. As a result, the threat of disease is always lurking, so many beef producers add antibiotics regularly to feed. Steroids and growth hormones might be added, too. I was happy to discover, however, that most producers of buffalo meat treat their animals the way we did – free range and allowed to roam at will. Buffalo meat comes from strong, healthy animals that don’t require a lot of chemical help. That means you won’t be consuming such ingredients when you eat buffalo meat.

Buffalo Burgers don't shrink like beef burgers do.
Buffalo Burgers don't shrink like beef burgers do. | Source

Buffalo Meat Recipes

Buffalo meat comes from American bison, a bovine that’s similar to beef cattle. It’s not some exotic meat that you’re going to have trouble with. Cuts of buffalo meat correspond to beef cuts with which you’re familiar. It doesn’t have a wild or “gamey” flavor, either, so no special steps are needed in the preparation of or in cooking buffalo meat. The only real difference is that buffalo meat cooks more quickly than beef, due to the lower fat content, so you’ll probably want to cook it at a slightly lower heat. You’ll find lots of buffalo meat recipes online if you need some ideas.

Buffalo meat or bison meat is available in rump roasts, chuck roasts, prime rib roasts, short ribs, ground buffalo, and in buffalo burger patties, ready for the grill. For a real taste bud treat, however, try the buffalo steaks. Just exchange your favorite beef steaks for buffalo steaks: ribeyes, filets, New York strips, or top sirloin steaks. For some unbelievable flavor, try marinating the buffalo meat steaks in some red wine, black peppercorns, red onion, a little olive oil, and garlic before throwing them on the grill. Awesome! You can also order buffalo meat jerky for great high protein snacks.

Other buffalo meat recipes you might want to try include herb-roasted prime rib, stir fries, and meat loaf. You might want to grill up some buffalo meat kabobs, too. Just cut some buffalo steaks into cubes and thread them on skewers with cherry tomatoes, red onion, and bell pepper. As the kabobs are grilling, brush the meat and veggies with a mixture of teriyaki sauce and cooking oil.

You can use buffalo meat in any recipe that requires beef, from tacos to burgers to a Sunday roast. You’ll love the flavor, and you should feel good about eating buffalo meat. Your heart and cardiovascular system will thank you, for one thing, and for another, you can have the peace of mind knowing that the animals received humane treatment. In almost all cases, buffalo meat is the kinder, more humane choice.

Bison Burgers Recipe:

Try some bison prime rib!
Try some bison prime rib! | Source

Where To Buy Bison Meat

Do I have you convinced to give buffalo meat a try? If so, you might be wondering where to buy bison meat. Supermarkets in some regions of the country carry it, but I haven’t been able to find it in any of my local stores, so I asked Gary this very question. He told me I could order it online and tipped me off to To see what buffalo meat they have to offer, click the link in the first paragraph of this article. Once I heard about this producer, I visited the website in order to learn more about their buffalo meat, and I was impressed. All the buffalo meat they offer for sale is dry aged, resulting in super tasty, tender flesh. Real dry aging isn’t easy to find these days, by the way. Their bison are also treated humanely, allowed to graze, as nature intended. I also like the fact that the buffalo meat from NebraskaBison is all natural, with no antibiotics, no chemicals, and no hormones. Next time you’re craving some great beef, try buffalo meat, instead!


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    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      7 years ago from Georgia

      Arshad, you make some interesting points. Thanks for visiting!

    • ARSHAD MAJID profile image


      7 years ago

      This is a very interesting article for any Pakistani. Actually we have both cows and buffalo here, but in case of milk, we prefer buffalo and in case of meat, 'beef'. The beef has a bit of acidic taste that is loved by people who like to have a bit of more stimulation of taste buds -- but they have to pay for it sometimes.

      Beef; according to wide-spread belief is said to be not good in any health disorder that involves digestive tract or inflammation. In rural areas, mothers who fail to produce enough milk, always prefer buffalo milk, as they say that cow's meat and milk are both hard to digest and in case of infants, the cow's milk causes the baby to cry due to abdominal discomfort.

      There is also a saying of Prophet Mohammad, in which he discouraged 'beef' (although very much permissible).

      Very interesting article as you proved that it is better than beef, in detail. Thank you very much for sharing the info.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, creativelycc. I think everyone should give it a try! lol

    • creativelycc profile image

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      I've been buy buffalo meat sticks at out local health food store. They are delicious and so full of protein. Sometimes I'll have a buffalo stick with some veggies for lunch and feel satisfied. It really has less fat and a fabulous taste. Great hub!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, ElleBee. Animal welfare is important to me, even though I eat meat. I often wish I could be a vegetarian. lol

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, janshares. I have no idea about the meat you describe, but I don't think you can get buffalo meat in a can. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, teaches. It's always nice to see you!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I knew that I liked buffalo meat and that it was healthy but that was it :) I like that you included info on animal welfare, where to buy buffalo meat etc. in addition to the basic nutrition info. Very interesting.

    • janshares profile image

      Janis Leslie Evans 

      8 years ago from Washington, DC

      Hi Habee, I think they had Buffalo meat at my high school in Buffalo, New York. Is that possible? I used to love these "beef" sandwiches we'd have for lunch that had a slightly different taste and consistency than beef. There was very little fat, if any at all; it was shredded-like, served on a hamburger bun. The color seemed slightly darker than beef and it was more tender. I think it came in a can. Anyway, thanks for the flashback and a great looking hub. Voted up and interesting.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      8 years ago

      The cuts of meat look amazing and so delish! My hubby has tried it and he enjoyed the different taste. It all looks so good here. Good article and you just may have converted some over to this type of meal choice.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      If he likes the flavor (which I feel sure he will), I can order some!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks so much, khmazz! I really appreciate your kind comment!

    • khmazz profile image

      Kristen Mazzola 

      8 years ago from South Florida

      Fantastic information! Thank you for sharing this! I loved all of the videos too, great touch!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Mhatter, lucky you! I've been looking for the closest restaurant to me that serves buffalo steaks. I can't wait for hubby to try one.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 

      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. In SF, we have Tommy's Joint. It is a restaurant that specializes in buffalo meat.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Leroy, you make a good point about braising. For any lean steak - whether it's beef or buffalo steaks - a good marinade that includes some oil will work, too.

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Kasman, I like venison, but I don't like duck. Buffalo meat is better than venison, in my humble opinion. As you know, some deer meat can get sort of gamey, but that's not a prob with farm-raised bison. Thanks for reading!

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Doc! Be sure to try the dry-aged buffalo steaks. I have three words to best describe them: mmm mmm mmm. lol

    • leroy64 profile image

      Brian L. Powell 

      8 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

      There is a butcher shop in Plano, "YE Old Butcher Shop", that has buffalo meat. They also serve a buffalo burger you can eat on site. It's a very good burger. Great article. I find that with an extremely lean cut of any meat braising is a good technique to use.

    • Kasman profile image


      8 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      To be honest, I've tried everything from venison to duck. Never tried buffalo meat before though. If this is as good as your claiming, then I may have to try it. I guess I'll have to start looking for it online as well. Thanks so much for posting this Habee!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 

      8 years ago from south Florida

      Thanks for this fascinating buffalo meat information, Holle. From your description and photos I will have to give those buffalo steaks a try. I have not seen them in local supermarkets so will go online to the site you suggested. Will keep you posted, m'dear.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Fulloflove, thanks so much for the votes! I totally agree with you about free-range meats - they taste better, are healthier, and at least the critters get a decent life before they feed us.

    • habee profile imageAUTHOR

      Holle Abee 

      8 years ago from Georgia

      Howdy, back, Wesman! I agree about adding a little oil to bison meat. Of course, adding a healthy type of oil is way better than getting all that artery-clogging cholesterol.

      I haven't found buffalo meat in our local supermarkets, but I'm going to check at a big new one that just opened. If they don't have it, I'll order online.

      Great to "see" you!

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      8 years ago from United States

      Free-range livestock (and poultry) is definitely much better! Though I haven't tried buffalo meat, I'm curious and rather excited to try it. I love beef too, but I'm concerned about the saturated fats. Now I've found the answer to enjoy my hamburgers without worrying much about fats.

      Those pics look so mouthwatering!

      This hub is really good news - both for livestock farming and healthy dieting.

      Voted up and awesome, interesting. :)

    • Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

      Wesman Todd Shaw 

      8 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Howdy Habee!!!

      Yes Ma'am, we have it here in our local grocery. I've bought it before, and will gladly buy it again.

      It does seem to cost a bit more than good beef - and it is without a doubt WAY low in fat. You gotta use some oil when cooking buffalo, but there may be some fatty cuts that don't need oil...and I've just not seen them.

      Heck I just got up...and now I'm hungry already :)


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