More About Bison

Bison - sometimes referred to as buffalo - are the second largest bovine species in the world. Weighing up to 2000 lbs, they are a hardy species which has dominated the woods and prairies in North America for millions of years.

Bison meat is rich in protein, and almost completely lacks carbohydrates and fibre. It is a highly desired red meat to work with, with great versatility and flavour.


Bison have a rich history in North America. For the Blackfoot Nation who travelled regularly through the plains and mountains, they were the single most important source of food, medicine, regalia, and clothing. Other plains nations - like the Îyârhe Nakoda - also depended on bison to help feed, clothe, and heal their people. One way of hunting bison was the use of Buffalo Jumps, where skilled hunters corralled select individuals out of a herd, and forced them off a cliff. Other hunters waiting below killed any bison not already dead from the fall, and made swift work of butchering and preparing the whole animal. It is well-known that they did so in such a way as to use every single part of the animal - nothing was ever wasted.

After colonization, settlers took to killing the bison in unsustainable numbers. While first done for sport, it was later condoned by the federal government as a means of controlling the Indigenous population who, without buffalo, no longer had food security and could be more easily coerced into assimilative tactics.

Now, as part of reconciliation for that cruel history, the nearly-extinct species have been reintroduced in select parts of Alberta in Banff and Waterton National Parks. These populations so far are thriving, and helping to restore the ecology of their territories.

Ways To Cook

Bison used for culinary applications in Alberta is all farmed. It is tender, lighter, and sweeter in flavour than most red meats, and has numerous applications. Steaks can be seared or barbecued, and the ground meat is excellent for making juicy richly-flavoured burgers. Being higher in protein, it also makes a great jerky. It can be slightly easier to overcook, so extra care needs to be taken during preparation and cooking.

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