One popular question among people who are a little nervous about trying bison meat for the first time is: “Is Bison Gamey?”. And it’s a fair question, as one of the big selling points about bison meat is that they are ranch raised / grazed and grass-fed for most of their lives.
But I’m here to tell you, that unlike wild game meat, high quality bison meat should not have a gamey flavor or taste.
The nature of a bison uniquely positions it to provide high quality meat with lower fat and a tender, flavorful taste.
The fact that bison are raised on grass and that their bodies are designed to withstand harsh climates due to thousands of years roaming the prairies, bison are lean, strong animals. Their enormous heads, necessary for pushing away snowdrifts, causes the rest of their body to be very strong to support it. This is what contributes to the leanness.
However, as with any grass-fed meats, the grass can have an effect on the taste of the final meat, due to things like the type of grass the bison is eating and the time of year. Ranchers who are familiar with this and are concerned with the quality of meat they are producing will take these factors into account. Additionally, most bison produced for meat are given a ration of free choice grain for a short period of time prior to slaughter. Unlike the grain you will find in cattle feedlots where beef cattle can spend their whole lives, this free choice grain ration is not for the purpose of fattening up bison – they have plenty of meat the way it is. Instead, this is simply for quality and consistency of the taste of the final product.
Turns out that with the rising popularity of bison meat, there seems to be a rising number of questions out there about bison. Doing a standard Google search for bison meat, I started to see lots of questions pop up in recommended searches and results.
So, we’re starting this series to hopefully help answer as many questions as we can about bison meat. If you still have questions that aren’t answered, you have lots of options: