Bison meat is relatively new to the consumer meat market, competing predominantly with the most popular meat in the United States, beef. Even though beef is less expensive and more accessible, bison is gaining ground as consumers become more health conscious and value quality over cost. As with any novel food product, individuals are hesitant to sample bison for the first time. Once they've tried it, the majority of people enjoy it and return for more, particularly as they begin to feel better.
Despite the fact that bison and beef share many physical characteristics, they are very distinct. Bison are significantly larger than domesticated cows, often being twice as massive. Cattle and bison do not share the same morphological characteristics based on the sexes of the animals. Bison consume a diet enriched in dense grasses and are adapted to rocky terrain, whereas cattle prefer grasslands to mountainous terrain.
However, the larger size of a bison does not correlate with a greater quantity of meat. The average take-home weight of a bison carcass weighing 800 pounds is approximately 250 pounds. A similarly-sized bull could yield a take-home weight of approximately 340 pounds, although beef cuts typically include more bone-in cuts than bison cuts.
It is safe to state that bison neither has the flavor of chicken nor the flavor of beef. Bison are typically grass-fed and derive some of their flavor from the prairie grasses they favor. This infuses the meat with a lighter, more delicate flavor that is grassy without being gamey. Bison is consistently tender, but beef's tenderness can vary widely based on the animal's upbringing.
As with cattle, the quality of the bison is of equal importance. A well-raised, grass-fed beef will have a delectable red meat flavor, whereas a similarly raised bison may have a milder flavor with a hint of sweetness. Bison's flavor makes it an ideal protein for barbecuing and searing.
In comparison to other meats, bison is one of the healthiest alternatives. It is a great source of protein, as well as being low in saturated fat and calories. Thus, it is an excellent option for those following a heart-healthy diet or a more primal way of eating. Bison meat also contains numerous essential minerals, including iron, zinc, and selenium according to Healthline. One 5-ounce serving provides 15% of the daily iron, 40% of the daily selenium, and 35% of the daily zinc requirements.