The Bison Myth You Can Stop Believing

Dining field-to-table certainly isn't a new concept, but it is one that has been gaining momentum. Rarely hunted, The Chicago Sun-Times explains that game meat refers to any wild animals and birds raised on ranches, left to roam freely, and graze in spacious areas before they are butchered and sold to restaurants and markets. Whether it's duck, rabbit, boar, or venison, game meats are slowly yet steadily, appearing on menus across the country. Despite the fact that there are a lot of preconceived notions about these meats, there's one myth surrounding bison in particular that you need to stop believing.

Deemed more sustainable and even healthy, Healthline states bison is a good source of lean protein that's abundant in zinc, iron, selenium, and B vitamins. Game meat has even become trendy. In fact, Eater reports that our fascination with wild fare can be attributed to our desire for new and unique flavors, especially exotic meats. However, with this newfound carnivorous curiosity comes a bit of uncertainty as to just what they may taste like.

Wild meats tend to be an excellent expression of terroir. Impacted by their environment (along with diet, age, and processing), this specialty meat tastes starkly different from the chicken and beef available at the grocery store. However, Hunter Angler Gardener Cook reminds us that even some farm-raised animals, like mutton or guinea hen, can be a bit pungent. So, where on the spectrum of flavor does that leave bison?

Bison actually isn't gamey

Often when we hear the words "wild game," we automatically assume that these meats will taste, well, wild. While many boast some pungent nuances, this isn't always the case. If you've been holding back on trying bison for fear that it might be too earthier for your palate, fear not. When it comes to bison, the meat is anything but gamey.

More approachable than meat like venison, which may require marinades and sauces to mask muskiness, bison is best left untouched. Contrary to what many believe about bison and its intensity, Serious Eats explains that modern bison is only delicately gamey, making it fairly reminiscent of beef. With notes of subtle earthiness, the specialty meat is sweeter and even less greasy in comparison to beef, notes The Washington Post.

Available typically at your local butcher (call ahead to double-check) or via meat subscription services, bison is available as steaks, chuck roasts, ground, or sometimes already processed into sausages. Given that it can be substituted in any recipe that involves beef, bison can be great in burgers, stews, meaty pasta sauces, shepherd's pie, and chili — give it a try tonight!