Cooking Tips and Advice
Although there are many similarities between bison and beef, cooking is not one of them. Most recipes for other kinds of red meat can be adapted to bison, however, it is imperative that bison meat is not overcooked or left to dry out.
Bison meat should be cooked to the same degree of taste as regular beef, although "medium" is recommended. Bison cooks about 33% quicker than regular beef. Overcooked or dried out bison brings the same results as other meats when overcooked. If you prefer your meat "well done," consider a very low temperature recipe (180-200 degrees). Very slow, moist heat works especially well with the less tender cuts of bison, such as chuck. With slow cooking, there is no worry about overcooking. Rather, it just falls apart.
When cooking roasts, the best temperature is 270 degrees. Be sure to preheat your oven before cooking a roast. Because of the low saturated fat content, a bison roast cooking at this low temperature could still cook more quickly than a beef roast at a normal temperature. Be sure to check on the roast regularly to avoid overcooking. For best results, use a thermometer. Recommended cuts include: arm roasts, brisket, chuck roast, rump roast and sirloin tip roast.
Steak or Burgers
For steak or burgers, medium heat is recommended. It is important to maintain the internal moisture. for ground meat of any kind, the Food and Drug Administration has recommended that restaurants cook all meat to an internal temperature of 155 degrees. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended 160 degrees for home use, and because of the difficulty in determining the internal temperature of a burger patty without special equipment, recommended that burger patties are cooked to the point where the pink is just disappearing. These suggestions are primarily for ground meat since any external bacteria on steaks and roasts are killed in normal cooking. Internal temperatures of 155-160 degrees are in the "medium" to "medium-well done" range.
Ground bison meat may be used as a substitute for ground beef in most recipes. Since ground bison contains very little fat, moderate temperatures will help insure that the meat does not burn. Because there is very little shrinkage when cooking ground bison meat, the amount of uncooked meat will be equivalent to the amount of meat when cooked.
Prior to grilling, rub your favoritecut of bison steak with a combination of a little garlic salt, cooking oil, and lemon pepper. Depending on thickness, steaks should be grilled 4-6 inches above medium-hot coals (325 degrees) as follows:
- 1" thick: "rare" = 6-8 minutes, "medium" = 8-10 minutes
- 1 1/2" thick: "rare" = 8-10 minutes, "medium" = 10-12 minutes
- 2" thick: "rare" = 10-12 minutes, "medium" = 14-18 minutes
Steak recommended for grilling or barbecuing include: Rib Eye, T-Bone, New York Strip, Porterhouse and Filet. Lesser quality bison steaks are not recommended for grilling unless they have first been marinated. Avoid putting steaks directly into flames. Using a fork to turn steaks punctures the meat, so tongs are recommended for grilling to ensure that juices do not escape the steak. Bison steaks are best when cooked to "rare" or "medium" (still pink in the center). Cooking time is essential to avoid overcooking.
All temperatures listed are measured in Fahrenheit.