What Does Bison Taste Like?

When picking what’s for dinner tonight, the options rarely consists of bison. A typical family is choosing between pork, chicken, beef, or sometimes fish. American eaters think of bison as a wild animal from the plains, and in some ways they are right.

But how does bison taste? Is there anything stopping people from eating bison more often? We are going to find out.

Bison has a distinct flavor compared to many of the animal meals we consume more often. Consider bison to be a lot like beef, with a different texture and taste.

What does bison taste like?

When comparison bison to another meat, the closest relative is beef. Beef’s taste is very well known in the United States, and generally has a bit of an earthy taste depending on how the cow or calf was raised.

Bison is a bit different. Bison has almost a sweet flavor compared to beef. We are not talking as sweet as sugar, but the difference in flavors might be a little unexpected, and pleasant, for many eaters.

Why is bison sweeter? In many cases, bison are raised on farms or hunted, and they prefer to eat sweeter native grasses. Bison can be raised on more “bitter” grasses which in turn makes their meat less sweet. This is truly a case of “you are what you eat.”

Bison does taste earthy, in part because it does contain good amounts of minerals.

Is bison gamey?

Most people who have tasted a variety of wild and farm raised animals would not describe bison as gamey at all. “Gamey” more adequately describes animals that tend to eat nuts, acorns, and other non grasses. Bison’s tendency to favor grass consistently gives them a non-gamey flavor that is very distinct from the potential gameyness of hunted deer.

What is the texture of bison like?

Bison is a bit more coarse than beef. Beef can be more smooth by comparison. This is not to say that bison tastes rough in your mouth, but you’ll notice a difference from the first bite. Some might like the difference!

Is Bison healthy for you?

Here’s one of the biggest benefits of eating wild or farm raised animals like bison: They tend to have fewer calories and offer a more lean cut. A less fatty piece of meat provides more healthy energy and is less likely to store as fat in your belly. 

Nutrition Research also performed a long term study on eating bison versus eating beef and concluded that eating bison lowers your chances of having artery blocking cholesterol issues – it’s heart healthy too!

Bison also has plenty of minerals and vitamins since they have been eating grass most of their life. 

Bison overall offers a great balance of having a smaller serving size provide more vitamins and minerals than beef, while not including too much fat. In other words, you’ll need less bison to feel full, and the energy can last longer.

Is bison expensive

You should expect to pay more for bison meat. 

Why? Bison need a longer time being raised on farms than cattle for the same purpose. We are talking at least 6 to 9 months longer.

Bison production is also smaller scale and offers leaner meat. As you can tell from walking through the grocery store aisle, 90% lean ground beef costs more than 80% lean meat – this is because the diet for leaner meat is also more expensive.

So honestly yes, expect to pay potentially double or more the price for bison over beef, with one big sidenote: you are going to need less bison for your meal than you would need beef. 

How can I serve bison?

Bison has very similar serving capabilities to beef. In fact, it makes a great replacement for red meat – like in steaks and burgers, for people who are more health conscious or want a different taste.

Bison makes for great ground beef, or just grilled or baked as a steak. 

Kids might not even notice the difference in texture or flavor, and could like the slightly sweeter flavor from grass fed bison burgers.

We have a couple of suggestions: Especially for grass fed or farm raised bison, use some herbs and spices to bring out more natural flavor in your bison. If you are a fan of natural flavors beyond that of “just meat” bison certainly provides the right ingredients and minerals to have rosemary, thyme, or anything else you like in your spice cabinet a good run.

Bison is also a bit different from beef in that adding a “snap” to your bison is easy. Bison pairs well with mustard or horseradish to also counter the slightly sweeter taste. It’s good!

Where can I find bison?

Besides literally in a pasture, there are many farms online that sell bison meat. Many of these have a national or regional presence and can ship bison to you in cold containers.

Otherwise, locally, you are most likely to find bison at a butcher shop or “higher end” grocery stores. 

Can I eat bison every day?

You could. There aren’t any particular health drawbacks to eating bison, as it’s not especially fatty. 

The biggest issues most American meat eaters will have with bison is the price and availabillity. Bison take longer to raise, so supplies can be lower. The good news is that when you do find bison, you won’t need as much – and you’ll probably learn that when you get full faster than you normall would from eating the same amount of beef.

Final thoughts

Bison is a great option for eaters seeking a lean cut of meat that has some surprisingly flavor and some natural sweetness. Bison can be found at most local butcher shops and farms, where it’s often raised as grass fed, in part because bison like natural sweet grass.

Go and try some – you might be pleasantly surprised by the lean taste and the energy it gives.