Why It Pays To Swap Lean Beef With Bison When Making Burgers

Bison doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves. An American animal icon roaming the plains, the majestic giant tends to get lumped into the "gamey" category when it comes to its meat. Bison and buffalo are often used interchangeably, but the meat we see on the shelves is the American bison. Buffalo are native to South Asia and Africa and have large horns and no hump or bear while bison can be found in North America and Europe and have shorter horns and a hump, per Britannica. What comes to mind when you conjure up an image of a buffalo is most likely a bison.

Another commonly unknown fact about bison is that media mogul Ted Turner has 14 ranches and 45,000 bison, making him the owner of the largest commercial herd on the planet. In 2002, he opened Ted's Montana Grill, introducing the bison burger on his menu (via Turner Enterprises, Inc.).

So, why should you consider switching things up and swapping in bison for beef in your next burger? There are a few reasons.

Flavor, fat, and quality factor in

Bison is inherently healthier than beef. It has a lower saturated fat content and a more desirable fatty acid composition, being rich in omega-3 fatty acids. It has fewer calories and more protein than beef, and is higher in vitamin B12, zinc, iron, and selenium in comparison to its cow counterpart (via WebMD).

Bison meat is also of higher quality than conventional cow meat. It's next to impossible to come across a package of ground bison meat that is not labeled "grass-fed," rendering the animals free from hormones and antibiotics commonly used on farmed cattle, per WebMD. While this may be the reason it gets tossed in the "gamey" funnel, higher quality lends to a delicate, slightly sweet flavor that can be described as "earthy" and isn't overwhelming at all, per Omaha Steaks.

A bison burger requires no special skills or secrets. It's no different from ground beef when it comes to preparation and plating. Less fat, better quality, and a unique flavor, make bison a fun switch-up — and arguably an upgrade — for your next burger barbecue.