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Buffalo: Main Image

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Preparation, Uses, & Tips

Buffalo does not contain internal streaks of fat and thus cooks about one-third faster than beef. If overcooked, it dries out quickly. The secret to successful buffalo cookery is do not overcook. When adapting beef recipes, cook buffalo at a lower temperature, to medium or medium rare internal temperatures.

For best results, use a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the buffalo meat, making sure the thermometer is not touching a bone. Internal temperatures should be as follows when the buffalo is done:

  • Ground buffalo: 160°F (71°C)
  • Roasts, steaks: Medium rare 145°F (62.8° C); Medium 160°F (71°C); Well done 170°F (77°C)


This dry-heat method works well on tender cuts, such as tenderloin, loin, and sirloin roasts. Wipe roast with a clean, damp kitchen towel and place on a rack above a shallow roasting pan with fat side up. Insert meat thermometer deep into the meat. Roast at 275°F (140°C) until desired internal temperature is reached.


Heat a heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Place steak or burgers in the skillet. Sear until brown on each side. Turn the meat frequently until the center has just lost its pink color.


Wash buffalo, cut into thin strips and pat dry. Use tender cuts or tough cuts sliced across the grain. Heat a wok or heavy skillet until hot. Add oil, then the slices of buffalo in small batches. Stir until done, about two to four minutes depending on quantity.


Wet-heat cooking works well for tougher cuts of meat, such as pot roast or brisket. Wipe roast with a clean, damp kitchen towel and heat a heavy skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat until very hot. Add oil or butter, add the roast, and brown it on all sides. When meat is all browned, add cooking liquid and cover tightly with a lid. Cook in the oven at 275°F (140°C), or on the stovetop over low heat until buffalo is tender.


Wash, pat dry, and cut tougher cuts such as chuck, shank, plate, and heel of round into cubes. Brown in oil if desired. Then put in a Dutch oven and cover with liquid and herbs, spices, and vegetables. Cook in the oven at 275°F (140°C), or on the stovetop over low heat until buffalo is tender.


For roast, place meat on roasting rack over dish, fat side down. Cook on high for four to five minutes then on medium for four to ten minutes per pound (450g). Rotate dish halfway through cooking period. Let stand 15 minutes. For burgers, arrange on a greased baking dish, and cook on high for seven minutes per pound (450g). Turn burgers over halfway through.


Rub bison steaks with salt, pepper, garlic, and oil. Place steaks or burgers on prepared grill with rack 4 to 5 inches (10 to 12.5cm) from heat source. Grill, turning over once; use tongs or a spatula, not a fork (which may pierce meat and cause juices to run out). Cook steaks 8 to 18 minutes, depending on size of steak and degree of doneness desired. Cook burgers just until pink color in the center has disappeared.

To test the temperature, place your palms above the coals or heat source, at cooking level. If you have to remove your hands after two seconds, the temperature is hot; after three seconds, medium hot; and after four seconds, medium. More than four seconds indicates the grill has not reached cooking temperature.

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The information presented in the Food Guide is for informational purposes only and was created by a team of US–registered dietitians and food experts. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements, making dietary changes, or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2024.