Cuts of Bison Meat: The Lowdown
When the bison is butchered, it is first divided into eight primal cuts. These primal cuts are then further divided into sub primal cuts, which may or may not be ground. The delicious flavors and wide variety of methods of preparation are just one of the many benefits of eating bison meat. Cuts of bison are generally leaner and lower calorie than their beef counterparts.
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At Beck & Bulow we provide a wide, top-shelf quality variety of cuts of meat. Our butchers are masters of their craft and all of our cuts are always consistent and beautiful. We think you’ll be extremely pleased with how our bison meat looks, tastes, and most importantly the way it makes you feel. Getting to know the different cuts of meat can help you to understand the best way to prepare your meals, as well as how to get the most bang for your buck. Each primal cut has its own great qualities, it’s simply a matter of knowing the necessary preparations to make every piece of meat reach its fullest potential.
CHUCK -- Due to the bison’s characteristic shape with large, rounded shoulders the chuck is always the most abundant primal cut. This arm/shoulder section of the animal is less tender on the outer portions with a medium tender area in the center. The chuck is lean all over and delicious when slow cooked, like for a pot roast.
BRISKET -- The bison brisket is another primal cut that starts out less tender, but when slow cooked it turns into tender, mouthwatering meat for BBQ sandwiches or Reuben. Best to cook it low and slow for juicy, excellent results. It pairs well with sauces and tastes great when smoked.
RIB -- The rib primal is tender and flavorful, home of bison rib-eye steaks, prime rib, and standing rib roasts. They’re delicious cuts to grill or roast in the oven. Because of the natural lower fat content, it’s tastiest cooked to medium-rare.
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SHORT PLATE -- The short plate is an extremely flavorful, but tough area of the bison and the trick to cooking it is to bring out the flavor while lessening the toughness. Short ribs are a well-loved sub primal cut from the short plate. Slow cook them to experience their incredible flavor and fall off the bone tenderness. Skirt steak also comes from this primal and is great when marinated for 24 hours to make your end result tender and delicious.
SHORT LOIN -- The short loin primal is home to the sought-after filet mignon (tenderloin) and New York strip cuts. These subprimals can be left whole and slow roasted, or cut into steaks. These steaks are the most tender cuts of the entire bison. Simply season with salt and pepper and toss them on the grill for an incredible meal.
FLANK -- The flank is a less tender primal, comparable to the skirt steak. It’s delicious when sliced into fajita or taco meat. Give them 24 hours to marinate so that they’re juicy, tender and flavorful when cooked. Finish by slicing against the grain of the meat. Bison flank takes less time to grill than beef, and is a healthier choice with less fat and cholesterol.
SIRLOIN -- The sirloin is a tender, flavorful primal that is the best of both worlds with a lower price point than the short loin. Sirloin is a great everyday steak that is super versatile. Grilled, sliced into chunks and cooked in a stir fry, roasted, there are tons of delicious options. We love sirloin steaks seared for a minute each side over high heat and then finished in the oven.
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ROUND -- Also known as hip steak, the round is the next largest primal area after the chuck. It’s cut into subprimals of top round, bottom round, eye of round and sirloin tip. This is a less tender primal and naturally quite lean. Searing it over high heat helps to seal in all the juices, and then it can be slowly finished with moist heat to bring out the tenderness. This primal is perfect for making into ground bison meat or bison jerky.
Cooking meat can become really exciting when you realize all the options that are available. Having a variety of cuts to choose from keeps dinnertime from getting boring and encourages some real fun in the kitchen. We really enjoy each and every part of the bison and love finding new ways to prepare each cut. Be sure to check out our recipe page for ideas. We’ve compiled many of our favorites and the collection continues to grow.