Although bison meat is similar to beef, it needs to be handled and cooked differently.  You will find most recipes for other red meats can be adapted to buffalo.  The important things to remember are, DO NOT OVERCOOK!!!! and, do not let the meat dry out.
Individual cuts of buffalo appear identical to beef, except for color.  Prior to cooking, bison meat is darker – a dark, rich red.  This coloring is due to the fact that bison meat does not marble (produce internal streaks of fat) like beef.  Fat is an insulator and heat must first penetrate this insulation before the cooking process begins.  In other red meats, fat also provides some of the moisture.  Buffalo, with its low fat content, does not need to be cooked as long or with as high a temperature to get the job done.
Remember “low and slow”.  Cook bison meat to the same doneness that you prefer in beef.  We recommend medium.  If you must have your meat well done, consider using a slow cooker recipe where the meat is cooked for 10 hours or more at a very low temperature (180-200 degrees F).  Very slow, moist heat works especially well with the less tender cuts of buffalo, such as chuck.  With slow cooking, you do not have to worry about overcooking, let it cook until it falls apart.
The most acceptable bison roast is produced when cooked in a slow oven (275 degrees) to a medium internal temperature.  Plan on the roast being done in the same amount of time a beef roast of comparable size would be when cooked at the usual (higher) temperature.  Use of a meat thermometer is helpful and highly recommended.
For steak or burgers, medium heat is recommended and it is even more important to retain the internal moisture.  The FDA has recommended that ground meat be cooked to an internal temperature of 155 degrees F.  The USDA recommends 160 degrees F for home use and because it is difficult to determine the temperature of a burger patty, recommends that burgers be cooked to the point where the pink is just disappearing.  These recommended temperatures are in the medium to medium-well done range.
In order for the meat to retain its moisture, it is most helpful to use a cover, whether it is the cover on the propane grill, a covered charcoal grill, or the lid on a skillet.  You may also want to use recipes where the meat is initially seared on the outside, in order to lock the moisture inside.  No matter which method you use remember the principle…do not let the meat dry out.
Ground bison can be used as a substitute for ground beef in most recipes.  Since ground bison contains very little fat, remember to use moderate temperatures to help insure that the meat does not scorch.  With ground bison meat, what you see raw is what you get when it’s cooked, as there is very little shrinkage in cooking.
Microwave cooking works just as well with bison as it does with beef or any other red meat.  Using a lower setting will give you better control over the cooking process.

            Stir-fry is an excellent method of cooking bison.  Remember, bison cooks quickly so have your add-ins (onion, green and red peppers, pea pods etc.) ready to toss in the wok.  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 keep the heat down some.  The short cooking times in stir-fry recipes work great for bison.            



            Bison is the heart healthy red meat and is considered to be a veal or poultry exchange on the Weight Watchers food plan according to Weight Watcher’s Magazine (Oct. 1985).  Many people just like the taste of red meat and now you can enjoy that taste by substituting bison for other meats, knowing you are lowering your fat intake at the same time.  The taste is very similar to the very best beef you have ever had and there is no gamy flavor.  There is just a hint of sweet to the meat.
            Bison meat is non-allergenic.  No one, to date, has had an allergic reaction to buffalo meat.    There are no low-level antibiotics, no hormones, no drug residues, and no preservatives in buffalo.  When you eat bison, you are eating pure, wholesome meat.



            There’s no doubt that many of us can use more iron than we’re getting.  According to the Recommended Dietary Allowances 1989 Guidelines, adolescent, lactating, and premenopausal women need at least 15 milligrams of iron per day, while pregnant women need more.  Adding bison meat to your diet can help meet these allowances, as bison contributes about 69% more iron to your diet than does the same serving of beef.  (Marchello, et al – “Nutrient Composition of Raw and Cooked Bison”, from the book “Buffalo Producer’s Guide to Management & Marketing”)



            With bison you are not paying for a lot of fat that has to be trimmed or cooked out.  Bison meat does not cook down or shrink; ounce for ounce you will have more edible meat if you choose bison. Today people are concerned with eating healthy and the recipes are calling for extra lean meat.  Ground bison is the perfect choice.


(per 100 grams of cooked lean meat with visible fat removed)





Cholesterol (mgs.)













Chicken, skinless




From the USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory –