Ground Bison

Ground BisonYou may have noticed the new freezer in our meat department. Its purpose is to house the products that are a little bit off the beaten path. In you will find things for the more adventurous palates. There is duck, rabbit, crawfish, squab, and perhaps the most versatile option of all, ground bison.

For the meat lovers out there who are looking for a healthier alternative to beef but still want all of the flavor, bison is the perfect choice. Bison meat has a similar texture and flavor to beef but has about one third the amount of total fat as well as saturated fat. It is also higher in protein, omega-3 acids, and iron.

The methods used to raise bison are also better for the environment and more sustainable than raising beef. Most bison are raised using regenerative agriculture—which basically means they are allowed to move and exist in much the same ways they have over the centuries. Because of this, bison help sustain grassland ecosystems through grazing, fertilization, trampling, and other natural behavior.

This method also allows for the regeneration of healthy, productive soils and grasslands. And because of that, it is a major source of carbon sequestration. The impact of climate change on native grasslands means that regenerative pastures are becoming more and more important as sustainable carbon sinks. Studies show that grassland carbon capture is more dependable than forests, as grasslands suffer fewer wildfires and disease, and regenerate far quicker.

Bison can be prepared in basically the same ways as with beef however, because it is leaner, you have to watch out that it is not over cooked. Ground bison can be substituted for all of your favorite ground beef recipes like burgers, tacos, meatballs, or chili and would be a great alternative for your summer BBQ.

Bison Chili Recipe
Yields 6 to 8 servings
Adapted from Ree Drummond and The Food Network

Ground bison makes a delicious chili. This recipe has all the depth of flavor of a classic chili recipe. It is delicious served with tortilla chips (as per the recipe) or cornbread and butter on the side. Be certain to serve the chili with the lime wedges to squeeze over your bowl and brighten the flavor.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds ground bison
2 cloves garlic, chopped
One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 cup masa harina
One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

For serving
Shredded Jack or mild cheddar
Chopped onions
Tortilla chips
Chopped cilantro
Lime wedges

Brown the ground bison
Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a large pot until it shimmers Add the ground bison and chopped garlic. Cook the meat over medium heat until browned

Add the flavoring
Pour the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne into the pot with the bison. Stir until well combined, cover, and then reduce the heat to low.

Simmer the sauce
Simmer the meat and sauce for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

Thicken the sauce
After an hour, place the masa harina in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and mix the water in thoroughly with a fork. Add the masa mixture into the chili. Stir to combine, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and/or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency.

Add the beans
Add the beans and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve the chili
Serve the Chile with shredded cheese, chopped onions and cilantro, tortilla chips and lime wedges.


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