The Nutritional Content of Beef vs. Bison
Many local grocery stores now carry cuts of bison meat, also called buffalo meat. Although bison is often available in a more limited selection of forms and cuts, it can work well as a unique substitute for beef. Bison can be a very nutritious addition to your diet, especially if you trim off any external fat from your cut before eating it.
The protein content in ground bison is virtually identical to that in 85 percent lean ground beef. According to the USDA Nutrient Database, there are 15.87 g of protein in 3 oz. of ground bison, while 3 oz. of standard 85 percent lean ground beef contains 15.8 g. As the fat content in beef decreases, the protein content increases; 95 percent lean beef contains about 18.2 grams of protein in each 3 oz. serving.
Bison is rarely available in lower-fat selections, as it is already a quite lean meat. Three oz. of bison contains 13.54 g of fat, while 3 oz. of 85 percent lean ground beef contains 12.75 g of fat. Ground beef is much easier to find in varyingly lean or fatty cuts than bison. The leanest variety available is 95 percent lean with 5 percent fat. Three oz. of this ultra-lean beef contains just 4.25 g of fat.
While bison and beef are both good sources of a few different minerals, they only contain trace amounts of most. Bison is rich in phosphorus, potassium, and selenium. Beef is high in these minerals as well, but it contains more calcium and fluoride than does bison. Beef is also higher in the vitamin choline, with 52 mg in a 3 oz. serving. However, bison is higher in niacin, with 4.17 mg, and vitamin B-12, with 1.52 mcg, in a 3 oz. serving.
Which type of meat do you prefer?
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, only 20,000 bison are butchered in the United States in an entire year to be sold for meat. To contrast, 125,000 cows are killed in a single day. This relatively limited bison supply means that typical prices for bison meat tend to be much higher than typical prices for beef. It also means that the availability for cuts of bison meat tends to be much more limited than for cuts of beef. However, most bison is free-range, and antibiotics and growth hormones are generally not used in its preparation.
Like beef, bison meat is inspected by the USDA. You can prepare bison using similar cooking techniques to those you use for beef. If you are able to locate a convenient source of bison, it can help provide you with healthy lean protein, as well as a unique culinary experience.