Bison bonasus bonasus (Europe) Bison bison athabascae (Amérique/America)


When Christopher Columbus discovered the New World in 1492, the bison roamed throughout the North American territory from the frozen stretches of the Arctic to the torrid deserts of the south.  Its only natural enemies were wolves and the aboriginal peoples who hunted the bison on foot, with bows and arrows or spears. Smoked, dried, or ground with berries into pemmican, bison provided a good source of vitamins and minerals throughout the year. It was an essential food source, while the hides served to make teepees, clothing and utilitarian or decorative objects. Everything depended on the meat, fur, bones, hide, sinews and horns of the animal. It’s not surprising that the bison was a central figure in the cultural and religious life of the First Nations.

The male bison is the largest in the Bovidae family. This imposing ruminant can attain a weight of 1200 kg, with the female reaching 600 kg. Every spring the herds increase with the arrival of calves which, even at birth, weigh about 30 kg.

Nutritional value
Rich in nutrients, bison meat is lean and very tender. It has a fine grain and a flavor similar to that of beef and somewhat reminiscent of venison.


  Water Protein Fat Iron Cholesterol Calories
Bison 63% 35% 3% 0.43% 39 mg/kg 100 kcal/100 g
Beef 44% 24% 28% 0,.1% 69 - 106 mg/kg 375 kcal/100 g
(Source: Agricultural Experiment Station - South Dakota State University)

Bison meat is highly prized by connoisseurs. Aged for 21 days, it becomes wonderfully tender. The quality depends on the how the animal is raised and fed. The uninitiated may confuse its flavor with that of beef, since both animals graze on the same kinds of pastures. However if the bison has eaten a lot of fir bush, its flavor will be more assertive.

Bison has little fat marbling and is very rich in protein; therefore it cooks more quickly than beef. It’s best to cook it over moderately low heat, unlike beef which is seared at high heat. As for the price, expect to pay about 30% more for bison – but since it is dense meat, you can serve smaller portions. Furthermore, it doesn’t shrink as much when cooked.

Serve rare: a quick cooking on one side, then the other, is all that’s required.

Sear in a skillet on all sides, then place into a very hot oven for 7 minutes per pound (450 g). Remove from the oven and let rest, loosely covered with aluminum foil, so that the heat diffuses towards the center of the roast.


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