Restaurant Menus Help Resurgence of American Bison

Restaurant Menus Help Resurgence of American Bison

Heaven on Earth Bison Farm - Marshall, Minnesota

Heaven on Earth Bison Farm – Marshall, Minnesota

The American bison has made a huge come back from near extinction.  Not only are bison being raised by numerous farmers across the United States, but bison also has become a trendy restaurant selection on many “cool” restaurant menus.

Franco at the Heaven on Earth Bison Farm, Marshall, Minnesota

Franco at the Heaven on Earth Bison Farm, Marshall, Minnesota

Yes, bison is extremely expensive!  It was once an endangered species, so even with its come back the numbers for consumption production are minuscule in comparison to that of the beef industry.  This is why many restaurants shy away from bison, the profit margin is very low and the demand for it is low as well, in comparison to all the more traditional cuts of beef. But this is beginning to change as more people have discovered how delectable and nutritious bison really is.

Yes, bison is delicious and tastes better than the best cut of beef you ever had!

The meat is tender, succulent and highly nutritious packed with a very high iron content.  It is a great alternative to those are bored with red meat and looking for a delicious substitute.

Also, bison is a deeper red color before cooking because there is no marbling (white flecks of fat within the meat muscle). Bison is said to have a sweeter, richer flavor than beef and has less fat and fewer calories than beef.

Bison nutrition facts:

According to USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS),100 grams of raw bison  contains 109 calories and 1.8 grams fat. The same amount of raw beef  contains 291 calories, and 24 grams fat.  So, for the calorie conscious this may be an interesting comparison.

 

Readington River Buffalo Co.

Two weeks ago, I made a visit to the Readington River Buffalo Farm in Flemington N.J. This farm is slightly over an hours drive from New York City.  It was truly amazing to have found a farm, totally dedicated to the raising of American Bison and ultimately the sale and consumption, located in the State of New Jersey.

As a chef, I thought this was an amazing find and for many this bison farm would be an interesting thing to see.

For more on the Readington River Buffalo Farm, facts and cooking tips on bison , click here->Bison Farm, NJ

One interesting fact:  Bison and buffalo are not one in the same. Even though the words are  often used interchangeably.  It would be very much like saying dog and canine are the same.  They are not.  Dogs and all canines are related but definitely not the same.  The same holds true for bison and buffalo.

Real buffalo come from Asia and Africa.  Those Buffalo that eventually made their way up and over the Bering Straight into the North American continent evolved over time to the American bison and became a staple of life for the plains Indians of America.

American Indian-Bison hunt

Bison were virtually extinct by 1900.  Mostly because of the  abusive over-hunting  by the white settlers  that headed west across America.  The settlers lack of care as to what this over-hunting would eventually do to the species and inadvertently the indigenous plains Indians that relied on the bison  as a way of life, is a story in and of itself.

This is a great site for more on the near extinction of the American bison and the great impact it had on the Native American  population, click -> Buffalo Tales 

Today, thanks to the many local bison farmers across the United States, bison have made a dramatic come back and have become a welcomed menu item for a beef substitute.  Yes, marketing and consumption of bison believe it or not is a way to keep the species alive.  Just like in the beef industry.

The reason why bison is so expensive is because obviously it was an endangered species with still only about 200,000 in the U.S today.

And, secondly, demand.  People just don’t know enough about bison or think of it as a delicious and alternate meat source.  If more people bought bison the way beef is bought, bison farms would be BOOMING! And the price of bison meat would be much more economical.

If restaurants across America  would begin to offer more menu bison options to its customers, it would be doing a huge  part in helping bison farmers stay in business along with helping  to place a great American animal and once endangered species the “American Bison” back on top as the most majestic animal  in American,  where it rightfully belongs!

American Bison - North Quarter Farm, Riverhead, New York

American Bison – North Quarter Farm, Riverhead, New York

  • http://blog.mckendricks.com Chef Thomas Minchella

    I am from the area of Flemington,N.J. and did not know they were raising Bison. I will be stopping by the farm on my next visit! Good luck Chef!

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Chef Thomas,

    Glad to see a local chef from the Flemington, N.J. area pop up. Yes, this bison farm is a real hidden gem in that area. It is family and the meat products they sell for consumption are from their own bison that they have raised on the farm.

    The meat we bought was absolutely delicious! Definitely check it out when you can. Next time I head out there I’ll reach out to you. Possibly we can meet there.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Franco

  • jerome buthello

    hi chef,
    wonderful to pair a bovine with chocolate and vanilla, has all the ingd of sweet, sour ,smokey and bitterness. i love the boldness of it.

  • Franco Lania

    Hello Jerome,

    Many game dishes pair nicely with chocolate. Especially chocolate and vanilla. This recipe works so wonderfully well with bison that I highly suggest to you and anyone that likes bison to try it. It is seriously delicious!

    Happy Holidays,

    Franco