Bison or Elk Cooking Tips

Bison or Elk meat is similar to beef and is cooked in much the same way. The taste is often indistinguishable from beef, although bison tends to have a fuller, richer (sweeter) flavor. It is not “gamey” or wild tasting. Bison and Elk is very low in fat, and cholesterol, and is high in protein, vitamins and minerals. Fresh cut Bison and Elk meat tends to be darker red and richer in color than many of the other red meats.

The lack of fat insures that Bison and Elk meat will cook faster. Fat acts as an insulator – heat must first penetrate this insulation before the cooking process begins. Marbling (fat within the muscle) aids in slowing down the cooking process. Since Bison and Elk meat lacks marbling, the meat has a tendency to cook more rapidly. Caution must be taken to insure that you DO NOT OVER COOK Bison or Elk.

Bison and Elk may be used with any of your favorite beef recipes if you remember a few basic tips:

  • When oven broiling, move your broiler rack away from the heat about a notch lower from where you normally broil your beef steaks. Expect your Buffalo or Elk steaks to cook 1/3 faster than normal. Bison or Elk steaks are best when cooked rare to medium rare. It is not recommended to cook Bison or Elk meat past medium.
  • If you normally cook your roast beef at 325 F, turn your temperature down to around 275 F for Bison or Elk. Plan on the roast being done in about the same amount of time as with a comparable size beef roast. To insure the temperature you prefer, we recommend using a meat thermometer indicating the internal temperature. Again, rare to medium rare is recommended.
  • Ground Bison or Elk is also leaner (ranging from 90-95% lean). It will also cook faster so precautions must be taken to not dry out the meat by over cooking it. There is very little shrinkage with Bison or Elk burger – what you put in the pan raw will be very close to the same amount after you cook it. Pre-formed patties tend to dry out just a little faster when grilling. (Hint: the thicker the patty, the juicier the burger). Medium-rare to medium is best. Although ground Bison and Elk is leaner, there is no need to add fat to keep it from sticking to the pan or falling apart.

All Bison and Elk meat, no matter the leanness, has enough available fat in it to allow it to cook properly. The great thing about ground Bison and Elk is that you don’t need to drain off any grease from the pan, the burgers don’t shrink, it’s healthy and tastes great!

1 lime, juiced
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons finely chopped canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
adobo sauce from canned chipotle peppers to taste
salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, mix the lime juice, garlic, oregano, and cumin. Stir in chipotle peppers, and season to taste with adobo sauce. Pierce the meat on both sides with a sharp knife, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place in a glass dish. Pour lime and chipotle sauce over meat, and turn to coat. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours. Preheat grill for high heat. Lightly brush grill grate with oil. Place steaks on the grill, and discard marinade. Grill steaks for 6 minutes per side, or to desired doneness.

~ Recipe created by Tracie Commins

  • 2 lb ground Buffalo or Elk
  • 1 tbsp oil or oil spray the sauté pan
  • 1 small sweet onion, diced
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 15-19oz dry kidney beans
  • 1 12oz can of plum diced tomatoes
  • 1 12oz can of tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 4 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 4 Tblsp chile powder
  • 1 Tblsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp red chile flakes (optional)
  • 12 ozs of water or one beer of choice

In a sauté pan with spray or oil, sauté diced onion & bell pepper with garlic and ground meat until medium well or cooked throughout. Add the cooked meat mixture to the kidney beans add water or beer, tomato paste, diced tomatoes, all herbs and spices, stir well, cover and simmer for 2-3 hours (add more beer or water if needed). Serve immediately or cool and cover to cook at a later date. (Chile can be frozen).

~ Recipe created by Suzanne Marino
Chef/owner of Cadillac Grille in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Quick and easy marinade and very tasty!

  • 1 (8 pound) Buffalo prime rib roast
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Place the roast in a roasting pan with the fatty side up. In a small bowl, mix together the garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and thyme. Spread the mixture over the fatty layer of the roast, and let the roast sit out until it is at room temperature, no longer than 1 hour. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C). Bake the roast for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), and continue roasting for an additional 60 to 75 minutes. The internal temperature of the roast should be at 145 degrees F (53 degrees C) for medium rare. Allow the roast to rest for 10 or 15 minutes before carving so the meat can retain its juices.
~ Recipe created by Chef Mike

  • 4 8-ounce buffalo filets or New York Strip Steaks
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Sprinkle steaks with salt and fresh ground pepper. Brush with olive oil. Grill or sauté to desired temperature, serve with salsas.
  • ~Roasted Tomato and Watercress Salsa~
  • 4 large vine-ripe tomatoes
  • 2 bunches fresh watercress, stems removed
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 4 ounces extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lemons, squeezed, seeds removed
  • ~Roasted Corn Salsa~
  • 6 ears fresh corn
  • 2 shallots, finely diced
  • 2 limes – juiced
  • 1 poblano pepper, finely diced, seeds removed
  • 1 large vine-ripe tomato, finely diced
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed & chopped
  • Salt & fresh ground pepper to taste

Roast fresh corn – husk on – over open fire on the grill, turning constantly. Allow to cool. Remove husk, cut corn kernels from cob. Add remaining ingredients and toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes until ready to use. Cut tomatoes in half. Brush with 1 ounce of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on an open fire on the grill or in a 400-degree oven for 8-10 minutes. Allow to cool. Squeeze out seeds. Cut into large dice. Mix remaining ingredients and toss. Refrigerate 30 minutes until ready to use.

~ Recipe created by Richard Lemon
Chef/owner of Splendid Blendeds on East Atlantic Avenue in Del Ray Beach, Fl