Cooking Bison


Cooking with bison is easy! This delicious red meat can be substituted in any recipe used for beef, with just a few adjustments. For one thing it cooks faster, and gets you out of the kitchen sooner.

MoBA Cookbook

COOKING WITH AMERICAN BUFFALO is the Missouri Bison Association cookbook and resource with over 300 bison recipes, cooking tips, information on nutrition, and much more. Available from the Missouri Bison Association for $6.95 plus $3.00 USPS shipping.

Bison meat is a sweet, dark, dense yet tender, very lean red meat. The dark color is due to the iron content and the lack of marbling with fat. With a few modifications, bison meat can be substituted for beef in any recipe for a delightful new taste and a healthier diet. Here are a few hints to make cooking with bison successful.

The first thing to keep in mind when cooking bison, is that it cooks much faster than other meats. This will also make meal preparation faster, and that's great. The lack of fat as an insulator is the reason bison meat cooks roughly thirty percent faster than beef.

The best tool that you can have when cooking bison is a meat thermometer. Meat can overcook in just a minute, so watch temperatures closely, and do not cook past 155 degrees internal temperature. Remember that internal temperatures will rise while meat is "resting", so it is better not to rush meat to the table. Instead, let the meat rest, covered and in a warm place, for 4 to 6 minutes to let the juices redistribute. Use tongs to turn meat, never a fork, or precious juices will be lost. For the same reason, don't press burgers with your spatula.

Because of the low fat content of bison, coating with olive oil or other light oil will help prevent drying and sticking, enhance the flavor and help brown the meat. Marinating lean cuts like sirloin and strip steaks is recommended. Choose a marinade that has a light flavor to enhance moisture content and meat flavor. If you do not have the time for a marinade, your favorite rub will help break down connective tissues, and should be pounded a few times into the meat.

Bring your meat to room temperature before cooking if possible, and always preheat your oven, grill or pan. If you normally roast meat at 325 degrees, for bison meat turn oven temperatures down to 275 degrees and roast the same time as beef. If broiling, move the rack a little further from the heat. Sear meat quickly to seal in juices, then grill over a low flame, being careful not to over cook. Remember that meat thermometer! If you are grilling a piece of meat that takes longer to cook (or you prefer your meat very well done), the temperature should stay very low, and the meat should be basted with liquid frequently to keep it juicy. Stove top cooking is great for steaks, as you have better control on temperature. You can also use butter in the final minutes to carry seasonings through the meat the way your favorite chef would do.

Slow cooking in a crock pot produces excellent results. Many bison producers say they put frozen roasts directly into the crockpot with great results. With this slow moist cooking, you cannot over cook the meat. Cook it all day, and come home to a fine dinner. Browning the roast will help to seal in juices, so is recommended when time permits.

Try substituting bison in one of your favorite recipes, and see if your family doesn't love it! We hope you will try the wonderful variety of recipes we put together for you in this cookbook. We're sure that you'll agree, eating healthy never tasted so good.


Although my personal favorite recipe is just salt and pepper (and maybe some garlic) on a bison burger or steak, here are a few favorite recipes for you to try!


Cranberry Meatloaf


  • 1 lb bison meat, ground
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 c. cooked rice
  • 1 egg, beaten slightly
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 cup cranberry sauce (I prefer whole berry sauce for this recipe)
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 T. lemon juice

DIRECTIONS: Stir together cranberry sauce, brown sugar, tomato sauce, and lemon juice in a saucepan and heat through. In a bowl, mix together 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture, meat, garlic salt, parsley, onion, rice and egg. Shape into 4 small loaves. Place into a lightly oiled baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Place loaves on a platter and pour remaining sauce over meat before serving. If you are cooking for two people like I am, try saving two of the meatloaves and the sauce separately. Save the sauce for much later. Make a different topping for the leftover meatloaves using a pineapple sweet and sour sauce, or mushrooms and onions in sour cream, or just go wild with your own creativity for your own masterpiece

Smoky Hill Bison White Chili (NBA award winning recipe)

Bison Chilli
  • 2 lbs. Ground Bison
  • 1 onion-chopped
  • 2 stalks celery-chopped
  • 2 large cloves garlic-minced
  • 1- 4.5 oz. can green chopped chilies
  • 1/2 c. butter
  • 2- 16 oz. cans of cooked Great Northern or Butter beans (I like to puree in a can of butter beans and add a can of the Great Northern beans in whole)
  • 1/3 c. flour
  • 2 c. milk
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1-2 t. chili powder (or more if you prefer it hotter)
  • 1/2 t. ground cumin
  • 1/2 t. ground pepper
  • 2 T. white vinegar
  • 2 T. fresh lime juice
  • Tabasco Sauce to taste (optional)
  • 1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS: Brown burger in a large Dutch oven or soup kettle. Add onion, celery, garlic, chilies, and butter, and cook until vegetables are translucent. In blender, puree 1 can of the beans, flour, and 1 cup of the milk. Add this mixture and the rest of the ingredients but the cheese to the pot and simmer for 1/2 hour to blend the flavors. Add cheese and blend in to melt it before serving. Garnish with a dollop of sour cream, a sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese, and a dash of paprika or fresh cilantro. Makes six to eight servings.


Bison tenderloin


  • 4 Bison tenderloin, 5 ounces each
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 Tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Rosemary, fresh, rough chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 Quart Hickory Wood Chips for grilling

DIRECTIONS: Marinate bison steaks overnight in the refrigerator with oil, garlic, rosemary and black pepper.

Remove the steaks from the refrigerator, and remove the large pieces of rosemary. Then season with salt and pepper on all sides of bison. Allow the steaks to sit at room temperature for twenty minutes to allow the salt to dilute and penetrate the meat. For grilling of the steaks, you will need to soak the wood chips in warm water for 30 minutes prior to grilling. The wood chips should be added to your charcoal five minutes prior to grilling to allow them to burn and produce the necessary smoke you will need for the flavor in the steaks.

Grill steaks on each side for approximately five-eight minutes for a medium rare steak, depending on thickness of the pieces. Grill longer for more more doneness. Remove from grill and allow to rest for five minutes prior to serving.


Asian Bites


  • 1 pound bison stew meat (Stew meat is generally cut from less tender roasts such as chuck, shank and short rib)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup teriyaki sauce or marinade
  • peanut oil for browning
  • 1/2 t ground ginger
  • 1/4 t garlic powder
  • 1/4 t fresh ground pepper
  • 3 scallions, chopped

DIRECTIONS: Season meat with pepper, ginger and garlic powder. Use peanut oil to brown the stew meat on high heat in a cast iron skillet in small batches. By browning too many pieces at once, moisture is exuded faster than it can be evaporated. Instead of searing, the meat simmers and steams.

Combine the water and teriyaki sauce to use as a braising liquid. Option 1: If you have a pressure cooker add the browned meat and the liquid to the pressure cooker, follow the cooker's instruction. Cook for 15 minutes.

Option 2: Once all pieces are browned add the meat back to the skillet and add the liquid. Bring to a low simmer, cover and let cook for about 2 hours, checking tenderness at 1 1/2 hours. When done, discard the liquid and plate the meat. Garnish with chopped scallions and serve as an appetizer. To make a simple meal, cook rice, udon or ramen noodles, combine with bison and some of the liquid and serve.

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to have additional meals in the freezer.

Saskatchewan Bison Stew (By Roger Provencher

Bison Stew


  • 1 kg boneless Bison cut into cubes. I use Shanks or will marbled cut
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and cut into 12 wedges
  • 2 tablespoons white all-purpose flour
  • 440 ml Black cat Stout from Saskatoon or Guinness
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) beef broth
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) diced prunes
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) chopped flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS: With the rack in the middle position, preheat the oven to 210 °C (325 °F).
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, brown the meat in the butter and oil. Season with salt and pepper. Keep the meat aside on a plate.

In the same pan, brown the onion. Add oil, if needed. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine. Deglaze with the beer and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Return the meat to the pan. Add the broth, turnips, and carrots and bring to boil. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and bake for 1 hours. Add the potatoes and prunes and stir to combine.

Cover and cook for about 1 hour or until the potatoes are cooked and the meat is fork-tender. Add the parsley and adjust the seasoning. If desired, serve with sour cream.

MoBA Cookbook

COOKING WITH AMERICAN BUFFALO is the Missouri Bison Association cookbook and resource with over 300 bison recipes, cooking tips, information on nutrition, and much more. Available from the Missouri Bison Association for $6.95 plus $3.00 USPS shipping.