Bison vs. Beef: What’s the Difference

What’s the difference between bison and cattle?

Bison are wild animals native to North America. They have a long history of being used for food and fiber in various cultures throughout time. Their meat is leaner than other meats, but they do contain some fat. Bison are very large animals with horns that grow up to 3 feet (1 m) in length, making them very intimidating creatures when fighting each other or hunting prey. Bison are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world.

Cattle are domesticated animals that were first brought to North America around 10,000 years ago. Cows have been raised for their milk and meat since ancient times. The cows of today have become larger over time due to selective breeding, so they tend to weigh more than their ancestors did at one point in time.

The two main types of cattle are Holsteins and Jersey cows. Holstein cows are crossbreeds between domestic breeds such as Angus, Hereford, and Devon. Jersey cows are crosses between European breeds like Holsteins and American breeds like Charolais. Both types of cattle produce the same amount of milk; however, there is a significant difference in how much protein they contain.

Jersey cows provide less than half the calories per pound compared to Holsteins. Holsteins contain a lot of protein, as much as 25%, making them the preferred choice for high-protein dairy products.

What’s the difference between bison meat and beef?

Bison are very lean animals. A hundred years ago, bison were raised on ranches in large quantities because of the amount of meat they could produce. Most bison meat available today comes from private farms or government-run preserves. One problem with raising bison is that they are prone to brucellosis, a disease that can be transferred to cattle upon contact. The cattle industry has spent a lot of money eradicating brucellosis from bison because it can cause miscarriages in cows that may be carrying unborn calves.

Beef comes from domesticated farm animals that have been selectively bred to achieve larger frames over time. Most beef cattle in the U.S. are Holsteins or Jerseys, which produce large amounts of milk. Cows are often overweight due to the large amount of food they eat and their sedentary lifestyle.

What’s the difference between bison meat and other meats?

Most meats differ from each other in terms of nutrition. There are very few similarities between meats despite them being different types of animals. Bison meat is a source of lean red meats, making it more nutritious than regular red meats. As a result, bison meat contains less fat than most other red meats.

Bison are large animals, weighing up to 2,000 pounds. This is due to a high growth hormone content in their bodies. This means that the amount of energy required to produce muscle mass is lower. Bison meat is on par with venison (deer meat) in terms of nutritional value.

What are the health benefits of bison meat?

Bison meat is a great source of lean protein and other essential nutrients. It’s also a good source of the following:

Niacin: Bison is high in niacin, also known as vitamin B3. Just 3 ounces (85 grams) of meat provides over half of your recommended daily allowance (RDA). Niacin is used in a chemical reaction in your body to release energy from food.

Fiber: Bison meat contains small amounts of fiber, which help promote healthy digestion. Just a half-cup (85 grams) of cooked meat provides over 10% of your daily recommended value.

Iron: Bison is a good source of iron. A 3-ounce (85 grams) serving provides nearly 20% of your daily recommended value. Iron is essential to the transportation of oxygen around your body, making it a vital component of red blood cells.

How to select and store

Just like other meats, the color of the meat is a good indication of its freshness. Fresh meat is typically a reddish color throughout. Meat that is starting to spoil will develop a yellowish hue. Packaged bison meat is often kept cold in the store, so look for packages that contain solid slabs of red meat with little to no yellowing.

Sources & references used in this article:

Evaluating willingness‐to‐pay for bison attributes: An experimental auction approach by JE Hobbs, K Sanderson… – Canadian Journal of …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

Identification of bison consumer characteristic dimensions and restaurant marketing strategies by SJ Torok, K Tatsch, E Bradley… – Agribusiness: An …, 1998 – Wiley Online Library

Non-Amenable Meat Consumption, Sale, and Regulation: Bison, Beef and Bambi, Oh My! All Meats Are Not Created Equal by ES Byrd, NJO Widmar, JG Lee – Drake J. Agric. L., 2015 – HeinOnline