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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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