Bison Council

Cooking With Bison

Bison Basics

While bison is similar to beef in flavor, it has far less fat, so it needs different preparation to achieve the best results. Specific techniques vary by cut, but here are some general guidelines.

Bison steaks on the grill Grilled Bison steaks, plated with tomatoes, onion, jalapenos, slaw and green onions

1/3 Less Time

In general, bison steaks require about 1/3 less cook time than beef steaks. We recommend cooking each side for about 6 minutes per 1 inch of thickness on high heat to maintain its moist and tender texture.

Don't Overcook

Like beef, bison is best enjoyed rare to medium-rare. Because bison is such a dense protein, even those who normally order beef well done will enjoy a medium-rare bison steak.

Let It Rest

Cutting into your bison too soon will allow the juices to run out. Letting it rest for double the time as beef will allow the flavorful juices to spread throughout the steak.

Check the Temp

For the best taste, most bison steaks and roasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 120–140° F when taken off grill or out of oven. Trust your meat thermometer, not your eyes!

Bison tips from Chef Michael Kornick

Learn the secrets to perfect preparation as Michael Kornick cooks up special bison dishes at the Jackson Fork Ranch in Wyoming.

Tips for Success

Select your favorite cut below to view cooking tips and featured recipes.

The perfect bison steak

Season steaks well with olive oil, salt, and fresh cracked pepper before cooking. This creates a delicious "flavor crust" on the surface of the steak while helping to ensure the inside remains juicy and tender.

Bison Ribeye Steak With Pan-Seared Tomato and Corn Salsa

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Build a better burger

  1. Preformed bison patties can be cooked from a frozen or thawed state.
  2. When forming patties from ground bison, handle the meat minimally. Be gentle with bison!

Grilled Bison Burgers

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Bison for special occasions

When you roast bison, the meat tightens as it cooks, driving the juices to the surface. If you immediately cut into cooked meat, all the juicy goodness and flavor end up on your plate, not in your mouth. Instead, cover and let rest for 5 - 15 minutes in a warm place. You'll be amazed how the juices redistribute throughout the meat for flavorful juiciness in every bite.

Honey-Orange Bison Back Ribs

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Bun-ready bison

High Plains Bison sausages, brats and bison dogs are best when cooked low and slow. Remember, 1/3 less time, 1/3 less heat of beef or pork.

Scrambled Eggs With Bison Hickory Smoke Sausage

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Cutology From Ranch to Table

Bison contain many cuts similar to those of beef. Because of its diet, bison retains a richer supply of nutrients and offers a range of familiar cuts that contain less fat and fewer calories than its counterparts.

Always look for bison that is 100% USDA certified. Many cuts are also American Heart Association certified. It’s that good for you.


Bison cutology: illustration of a bison with diagrammed cuts. Click to learn about each cut.

Explore Bison Cuts

  • Chuck


    This cut is lean over all, making the Chuck perfect for pot roasts and other slow- roasted dishes.

  • Rib


    This portion holds the most flavorful and tender cuts of the bison, like the Ribeye and Ribs. Because Bison meat naturally marbles less than beef, cook to medium-rare for the tastiest result.

  • Short Loin

    Short Loin

    Home of the Filet Mignon and New York Strip, this is the most tender bison cut. Steaks from this area need only a touch of salt and pepper to grill up perfectly.

  • Sirloin


    Taken between the ribs and hip, the Sirloin is a very tender cut. Sear bison Sirloin on high heat for a minute on each side, then cook slowly in the oven to keep flavorful and juicy.

  • Round


    Also referred to as 'Hip Steak', the Round holds top and bottom hip steaks. A naturally lean cut, it’s best cooked by quickly searing to seal in juices, and then finished slowly in moist heat.

  • Brisket


    The brisket is a barbecue favorite. Cooked slowly, the meat stays tender and juicy. Bison brisket pairs perfectly with sauces, and cooks beautifully when smoked slowly.

  • Short Plate

    Short Plate

    The Short Plate holds the skirt steak as well as the hanger steak- nicknamed 'butcher’s steak' since butchers are said to keep that cut for themselves.

  • Flank


    A long, lean cut, Flank Steak goes great on the grill and comes to life when marinated. Bison flank steak will grill much faster than its beef counterpart, and contains less fat and cholesterol than beef.

Thawing Bison

It’s best to thaw bison the same way you cook it — slowly.

In the Fridge

Place vacuum-sealed package on a plate in the fridge. Meat will thaw completely in one to two days.

In the Sink

Place vacuum-sealed package in a bowl in the sink. Run cold water over it until completely thawed. Do not use warm or hot water, this will start cooking the meat prematurely and might affect its texture.