Why Bison Meat / Why Strawman?
If you've just recently been introduced to bison meat, you might have some questions. After several years of running an online bison meat store and hosting booths at events and farmers' markets, I've compiled a list of 10 things you might not know about bison meat to answer some of those questions. If you have more questions, don't hesitate to ask!
1. Bison meat is low in fat. In a 100 oz serving of cooked meat you will find just 2.42 g. of fat. (Source: National Bison Association)
2. However, in that same serving of bison, you will find 28.44 g. of protein! (Source: National Bison Association)
3. Bison can be cooked in all the same ways as beef, but the key is LOW and SLOW. Due to its incredible leanness, bison will cook much faster.
4. You shouldn't cook bison past medium doneness. Medium or medium rare is best. If you cook it to well done, your bison meat will be tough and chewy rather than tender and juicy.
5. Bison are raised responsibly–without the use of steroids, hormones or antibiotics, keeping their meat all natural. Strawman Farm goes even farther and promise humanely raised, minimally handled herds.
6. "Bison Meat" is just another way of saying "Buffalo Meat." Although, buffalo are a different species completely, American Bison are commonly referred to as "buffalo" in North America.
7. While at one point bison came to the brink of extinction, bison are now thriving in North America, numbering almost 500,000. Responsible and passionate ranchers saved the species, and with the recent growth of interest in bison meat, more ranchers than ever are helping to grow the bison herds in America. (Source: National Bison Association)
8. The American Heart Association lists bison meat (buffalo meat) among their recommended lean meats. (Source: www.heart.org.)
9. Bison meat comes in most of the same cuts you are already familiar with such as Filet Mignon, Ribeye, NY Strip, Short Ribs, Roasts, Top Sirloin, Ground, etc.
10. The best part: You can order Delicious grass fed Bison from Strawman farm a local Edmonton area Farm.
Imagine no drugs, antibiotics, nitrites, or chemicals. Many people who have problems eating other red meats can often eat bison without any problems.
Our bison spend their lives on grass, just as they should, which has been shown to increase levels of healthy omega-3 oils.
And that’s just the beginning of the health benefits…
Vitamin B12 is only available from animal sources
Vitamin B12 has been shown to keep the elderly mentally alert
Vitamin B6 is needed for protein metabolism
Sodium: Bison is LOW in Sodium
High sodium intake is associated with hypertension
Potassium: Bison is HIGH in potassium
Potassium is key to lowering blood pressure
Most foods high in potassium are also higher in calories than bison
Bison contains 1/3 more potassium than chicken
Iron: Bison is HIGH in iron
Iron is necessary for hemoglobin formation and prevention of anemia
Bison is 3 times higher In iron than pork or chicken.
Selenium: Bison is HIGH in selenium
Selenium is an antioxidant shown to help prevent cancer
Bison has 4 times more selenium than the USDA recommends as an antioxidant
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): Bison is high in CLA
CLA is an antioxidant that has been shown to help prevent cancer at all stages.
Calories: Bison is LOW in calories
½ the calories of pork and chicken
MAKE GRASS-FED YOUR FIRST CHOICE WHEN CHOOSING BISON MEAT
When properly raised and processed, 100% grass-fed bison meat has a distinctly natural flavor
It's slightly sweet, just the way nature intended.
There is no bland fatty after taste which is often associated with grain-fed bison a product that actually tastes a lot like most store bought beef.
The Omega Connection
Grass-fed and finished bison has a healthy Omega 6 to Omega 3 fatty acid ratio of 4:1 or less. For grain-fed bison that ratio can climb to a very unhealthy 20:1, or sometimes even higher. High Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios have been linked to heart disease, inflammatory diseases, obesity, diabetes, cancer, and behavioral disorders.
In hunter-gatherer times, more than 10,000 years ago, grain consumption was perhaps incidental at best. The Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio in those times was closer to 2:1 or 1:1. Our bodies haven't changed all that much in the last 10,000 years. But unfortunately our eating habits as a society, especially in the last 40 years or so, have changed dramatically, and for the worse. High Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratios can be directly linked to excessive consumption of grains and an ever expanding range of derivative products.
When compared to grain-fed bison, grass-fed bison is:
** lower in total fat, especially saturated fat
** lower in cholesterol and calories
** considerably higher in beta-carotene and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), both being practically non-existent in grain fed animals.
Beta-carotene is used in the body to make Vitamin A, a powerful anti-oxidant linked to preventing cancer and cardio-vascular disease. It can also give grass-fed bison fat a slightly yellow color; something that the grain-driven part of the bison industry will sometimes erroneously play up as a negative factor. Grain-fed bison has white fat, much like you see in most, if not all, supermarket beef; a fat whose health benefits are compromised by high Omega 6 content.
In preliminary studies CLA, a fatty acid, has been linked to reducing the risk of cancer, diabetes and obesity. But please be advised the benefits of CLA are best realized from animals finished on fresh green grass, not hay.
Other Things You Need To Know Before Purchasing Bison
Bison meat available for sale is usually harvested from animals that are approximately 2 to 4 years in age. It's the best tasting and most tender. Coming off well managed pastures, meat from grass-fed bison in this age range will have a very agreeable richness in taste that is somewhat sweet; a taste that is rarely realized in feedlot or grain finished bison. Meat from older grass-fed bison, over 4 to 5 years of age, most notably the bulls, can have a much more distinct flavor.
Besides age, meat flavor and/or tenderness can be affected by one or more of the following:
** Feeding Practices
** Intramuscular Fat
** Location of Cut
** Stress Factors
** Post-Slaughter Processing Procedures
Feeding Practices That Will Yield The Best Meat
Grass-fed bison are raised in pastures and are never exposed to management practices which include feedlots or feedlot finishing.
The ideal grass-fed bison diet is approximately 93% grass, 5% forbs (clover, wildflowers etc.), and 2% browse (leaves from woody plants). Mineral supplements can be part of their diet, especially over the winter months. Under no circumstances are grains (corn, wheat, barley, oats etc.) a staple in the grass-fed bison's diet. In addition, STRAWMAN FARMS protocol does not allow for the use of antibiotics, growth hormones, Vaccines, ANIMAL ABUSE or chemical parasite control.
Health benefits from grass-fed bison meat are best realized when these animals are allowed to graze and finish on green leafy grasses. The same benefits are not obtainable from grasses gone to seed, or hay. The sweeter these fresh grasses are, the better. That way bison being readied for market will steadily gain weight. Progressive weight gain helps ensure meat tenderness. For most of North America this means the most nutritious, best tasting and tender bison.
Intramuscular Fat and Flavor
Like other red meats, bison meat does contain intramuscular fat. With grass-fed bison this fat is usually not noticeable to the naked eye. But with grain-fed bison flecks of intramuscular fat, or marbling as it is more commonly known, are sometimes visible.
Unfortunately many consumers mistakenly believe that no 'marbling', or a lack of fat, means no flavor. But with bison, like other lean red meats, it is the moisture content (about 75% of it's raw weight) that imparts flavor to the meat, not the protein or fat content.
The best tasting bison will be finished on low protein--sugar rich lush green pasture, and not be exposed to stressful pre-slaughter practices. After slaughter, appropriate carcass handling/dry aging, and professional meat cutting will result in a quality product. Then all you need to do is follow our recipes for a great bison meal experience.
What does 'Responsibly Ranch Raised' mean?
1. At the Strawman operation we take great care in raising our bison herd in a low stress lifestyle, keeping in mind the quality of life for our animals, the impact our ranch and process has on the environment and the impact our actions have on the quality of our finished bison meat product. The following is our promise to you.
2. We NEVER use antibiotics, growth hormones, steroids or vaccines in our bison. It is so important to us that we keep our finished bison product 100% real.
3. Our bison have lots of room to roam, graze and grow. The space we give our bison herds allow them to remain wild and live on their instincts according to their own social hierarchies. Throughout the course of their lives, our bison are minimally handled, respected and humanely treated.
4. Strawman Farm (The family) care about their land, their animals and sustainability. They oversee all operations on their ranches and are hands on with the management of their herd. The meat we sell across the province is the same meat we put on their own table and share with our family and Friends.
5. With the new edition to our new 2000 square foot commercial kitchen we do everything we can to ensure that the meat we produce is with us throughout the entire cycle from ranch to plate. Our growing operation is more and more allowing us to raise our bison from birth and oversee the process all the way through production.
You can feel good about putting Strawmanfarm bison meat on your table because we feel good about the high standards we live by to produce it. You can rest easy knowing that the meat we send you is 100% real meat from a ranch that cares about its herd and the land.