Bison, or any grass-raised animal is vastly different in flavor, nutrient content, and health benefits. When I see or hear how red meat is unhealthy I always say… “yeah, if you’re buying the stuff they call meat in the stores!” The same is true with organic meats, the label does NOT mean that the animal lived its life roaming pastures in the sunshine, it only means it may have done so briefly when it was a very young animal, from there the animal is brought to a feedlot where it is fed a diet of organic corn and soy beans… an extremely un-natural diet for any grazing animal!
Unfortunately, 95% of the bison raised in the US goes to the feedlot for the last 120-180 days of their life during which time they are given corn and soybeans to make them fat. This makes the wrong kind of fat. The desirable Omega 3s are converted to Omega 6s that congest human circulatory and lymph systems.
Grass-raised bison are raised pretty much exactly like bison should be raised! They are free to roam and are rotationally grazed so they move just like a wild bison herd.
Grass-raised bison get a variety of grasses to graze on freely. Native prairies have 50-60 different species of grasses. Of the newer grasses include brome, perennial rye, orchard, fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and even crab grass. Bison ranchers usually make sure there are at least 10 percent legumes in their herds diets; which are clovers, alfalfa, lespedeza, birdsfoot trefoil, little bluestem, buffalo grass, and others. There are medicinal effects of certain “weeds” which can act as a wormer or even an antibiotic or stomach tonic. This translates into animals that are ingesting foods that their systems were designed to digest and utilize. Unlike corn and soy diets.
Bison meat is high in iron (having more iron per serving than beef, chicken, or pork). Women require more iron than males and are susceptible to the iron deficiency condition: anemia. Having low iron levels can also make you feel tired, affect your concentration and increase your risk of infection. Increased levels of iron in your diet is especially important during pregnancy. When you choose Bison meat, you are not only getting a meat high in iron, but it is low in fat, calories and cholesterol – a perfect combination for any woman! Plus, it tastes delicious.
Bison may be one of the healthiest proteins you can consume for a couple of reasons. First of all, bison meat has fewer calories and less cholesterol than chicken, fish, or ostrich. Additionally, because bison meat is so rich in protein (40% more than beef) you can eat less bison meat and come away from the table feeling full and satisfied.
Where the Buffalo Roam
Even though referenced in popular folklore and campfire songs, the buffalo did not, in fact, roam in America. The animal commonly referred to as a buffalo, is in fact, the American Bison. Officially, there are two species of buffalo, the African Buffalo and the Asian Buffalo, but these animals are completely unrelated to the American Bison and they don’t even look like Bison. So technically, the Buffalo has never been native to North America.
There was a time when bison had nearly died out in the country’s Bison Belt. Their meat was valued for being rich in nutrients and high in protein, however the real value in bison during the westward movement was the animals’ large and plush hides. A select few small herds survived the near extinction by hiding in isolated areas such as Utah’s Antelope Island or Pelican Valley near Yellowstone National Park. In the early 1900’s, a few ranchers tried to revive the bison by gathering small herds together in order to create a sustainable population. Because of the diligent work of these ranchers to reestablish the bison as a mainstay in North America, the North American Bison is no longer an endangered species.
For the last couple of decades, ranchers and bison enthusiasts alike have worked hard to reintroduce bison as a consumable meat, a delicious alternative to beef.
Cooking Bison and Grass-fed Beef
Unlike meats you purchase in the store grass-fed bison and beef require that you cook them more slowly for a longer period of time to maintain their delightful flavor and nutrients. Over cooking or cooking at too high a temperature can make your meat tough and dry.
Generally speaking, you do not want to use a temperature over 325 degrees F.
Purchase your Bison from a farmer you know and trust to get the best quality, we like to buy from US Wellness Meats.
Bison Tips in Merlot Recipe
3 cups cubed Bison Sirloin Tips or meat of choice, approx. 2 lbs.
1 cup sliced mushrooms, fresh
1 cup chopped green onions or white onions
2 Tbsp. beef base
2 tsp. garlic
1 tsp. thyme
1 tsp. rosemary
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 c. gravy flour
1 c. Merlot wine
Put all ingredients in 1 gallon Ziploc bag, and freeze.
4 cups egg noodles or 1 1/2 cups rice, boil in water until done.
Put meat contents into crock pot. Cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4 hours.
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