Bison meat can be some of the most tender and rich meat you can sink your teeth into. Please keep in mind though, it DOES NOT cook like beef. Can you marinate and season the same? Sure! But when it comes to grilling, smoking, slow-cooking, pressure cooking, or baking, bison meat can easily be over cooked. If you like your meat cooked medium well to well done, I would caution you before doing so. Bison is recommended to be cooked rare, medium rare, or medium. Anything over that can cause it to become chewy, tough, and/or flavorless.
Below is the “How To Cook Bison” page from the National Bison Association’s website.
There is no reason to be buffaloed when cooking with bison. As many chefs will attest, bison is a delicious and healthy substitute in any recipe that calls for beef.
Individual cuts of bison are identical to beef. Bison can appear to be a deeper red due to the fact that bison has lower fat content, thus less marbling than beef. Because bison is lean, it will cook more quickly so it is important not to overcook bison. Overcooked bison is tough bison. Cooking bison correctly is delicious and tender bison.
Use these general guidelines when cooking bison.
135 to 142 = Rare
142 to 148 = Medium Rare
148 to 155 = Medium
Roasts and steaks should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145° F (medium rare) or 160°F (medium). The oven should be set at around 275°F.
- Oven broiling: move your broiler rack away from the heat about a notch lower than where you normally broil beef steaks. Expect a bison steak to cook one-third faster than a beef steak. Bison steaks are best when cooked rare to medium to maintain the moisture and flavor of the meat. It is not recommended to cook buffalo meat past medium. If you prefer your steak to this degree of doneness, be aware that your bison steak may lose some of its desirable attributes.
- Baking: turn your oven temperature to around 275°F for bison. Plan on the roast being done in about the same amount of time as with a comparable size beef roast. We recommend using a meat thermometer indicating the internal temperature of 145° for medium rare.
- Ground bison is also leaner in general. Check the package if purchasing bison retail. You can ask your meat processor for the fat percentage you prefer if you purchase bison in bulk. Medium-rare to medium is best for a juicy burger.
Below are some tips from the Oklahoma Bison Association:
There is no such thing as tough bison meat, only improperly instructed cooks. Although bison meat is similar to beef, it needs to be prepared and cooked slightly differently. You will find that you can interchange bison meat with your favorite beef recipes if you follow a few basic instructions. The key to cooking bison properly is LOW & SLOW! You may cook to the same doneness as you prefer beef, though we recommend rare to medium. Overcooked bison will bring the same results as any other meat, that is overcooked! Choose any of your favorite recipes and substitute the meat with bison. You will be serving a meat high in protein and iron, yet low in fat, cholesterol, & calories.
Thickness Rare Medium 1 inch 6-8 minutes 8-10 minutes 1 1/2 inch 8-10 minutes 10-12 minutes 2 inch 10-12 minutes 14-18 minutes