How to Grill Bison

Written by Heather Vecchioni

Bison is lean, healthy and becoming a popular tasty alternative to beef. Boasting only 2.42 grams of fat per 100 gram serving to beef’s 10.15 grams of fat, bison is one of the healthiest red meats available. Bison meat and steak is similar in taste to beef and is available in many of the same cuts of meat - steak, burgers, ribs, jerky and sausage. Grilling is one of the best methods to prepare bison, as it adds flavor without adding extra fat.

Bison is a healthy protein source, as it has 30 percent more protein than beef and is 70- to 90 percent lower in fat. In addition, bison is lower in cholesterol than chicken, beef and fish, with about half the cholesterol of beef. More protein and lower fat means a smaller waistline, which is perfect for the summer grilling season when bathing suits, swimming and parties are in order.

Bison is as easy to grill as steak. Grilling imparts a sweeter, richer flavor to bison. Preparation of bison for grilling is similar to preparation of beef. Bison tastes great grilled without any additional flavoring or marinades, but tastes even better after marinating for a few hours. Try rubbing a combination of garlic salt, cooking oil, such as olive, canola or vegetable oil, and lemon pepper on the bison. Let it soak for at least one hour, or overnight. Experiment with other flavor combinations – the marinades that you prefer for beef steak also work well with bison.

Place bison steaks about four-to-six inches above coals for a heat of about 325-degrees Fahrenheit. Bison cooking time depends upon how thick your steak is and your preferred level of doneness. Steaks one inch in thickness reach rare in about six to eight minutes and medium in eight to ten. If you have steaks that are an inch-and-one-half thick, cook eight to ten minutes for rare and ten to twelve minutes for medium. Steaks two inches thick reach a rare doneness in ten to twelve minutes and medium in fourteen to eighteen minutes. 

Bison burgers are also a cinch to cook on the grill. Add salt, pepper and any other seasonings, spices and herbs you like on beef burgers, to the ground bison. Using about one pound of ground bison, shape the meat into four ½-inch-thick patties and place them on the grill, about four to six inches above the coals. Cover the grill, opening once to turn the patties while cooking. For the last couple minutes, place the buns on the grill for a toasted effect. Cook bison burgers just until the pink has disappeared. Because bison is much leaner than beef, it typically has a faster cooking time. Use the same condiments as you would with a beef burger and enjoy. 

The next time you want to treat your friends, serve up a healthy meal featuring bison. Not only will you impress them with your cooking skills, but you will introduce them to a healthy alternative to the everyday beef burger or steak.