What kind of meat is bison? Like the name implies, bison meat is a “dark meat” sourced from bison (either species B. bison or B. athabascae). Bison are a species of humpbacked, shaggy-haired wild ox that are native to North America and Europe. (2)
Bison are actually the largest indigenous animals native to North America. Like all cuts of meat, bison meat — nicknamed “the other red meat” — is a top protein food and supplier or many nutrients. Bison might also be a step above beef and poultry when it comes to sustainability, heart health and even taste.
When shopping for bison meat, you’ll notice that it can be “blended” to contain different ratios of fat, usually between 90 percent to 98 percent (which means 90 percent is lean, for example). The percentage left over once subtracted from 100 is essentially the fat content — so the higher the percent, the less fat and calories there are.
According to the USDA, four ounces of ground grass-fed bison meat has about: (3)
- 124 calories
- 17 grams protein
- 6 grams fat
- 1.7 milligrams vitamin B12 (28 percent DV)
- 3.9 milligrams zinc (26 percent)
- 17 milligrams selenium (24 percent)
- 4.5 milligrams niacin (22 percent)
- 2.3 milligrams iron (13 percent)
Keep in mind that other cuts of bison meat that are less lean might contain four to six grams of fat and around 160–190 calories. The fattiest parts of a bison can even contain up to 13 grams of fat in a 3.5-ounce serving size. If weight loss is your goal or you’re looking to keep calories on the lower end, you want to choose a lower fat percentage.