If you haven’t tried bison yet, you are missing out.
Years ago, when I first tried it, I have to admit I was skeptical. I’m not what I’d call an adventurous eater. My husband and I were at a cookout at a friend’s house and there were all kinds of interesting offerings. One just happened to be bison. Well, folks, it was love at first bite. It was a cut similar to pot roast that had been perfectly seasoned and cooked low and slow and I was totally blown away by how good it was. The next time I came across it, those same friends had us over for a dinner party and grilled up high quality bison ribeye steaks that I have to say, were some of best tasting steaks my husband and I have ever eaten. We were sold.
When I found out that Allrecipes was teaming up with The Bison Council this month I knew I wanted in!
High Plains Bison shipped two flank steaks for me to work with. They came frozen and packed into a small styrofoam cooler with a couple of ice packs. I was pleasantly surprised to find they were still nicely frozen so I was able to pop them in my freezer until I was ready for them.
A few quick facts about bison:
- It can be up to 84% lower in fat than beef, depending on the cut.
- It has about half the calories of beef.
- It has no added hormones, antibiotics, or fillers.
- It has more protein and iron than beef.
- It is far lower in cholesterol than beef.
Lucky for me, I had a great recipe to work with and I’m happy to share the results. Please know that this recipe could easily be made with beef flank steak or pretty much any other cut of beef steak, but I highly recommend you try the bison. I’ll share some information on where you can get your hands on some at the end of this post.
We’ll start by toasting our bread cubes for the panzanella salad. Aahhh, panzanella salad. What could be more perfect than a salad that contains bread? Slice and then tear about 1/2 a loaf of sweet french bread into bite sized pieces. Place it on a rimmed baking sheet and then toss it with a couple of tablespoons olive oil. LIghtly season the bread with salt and bake in a pre-heated 450 degree oven for about 5 minutes. Watch it closely and pull it out when it is nicely golden brown. We want it toasty, but not crouton toasty.
As the bread cools a bit combine the veggies and mozzarella in a big mixing bowl. I used both red and yellow cherry tomatoes for nice color, sliced red onion, chopped English cucumber, fresh basil, and chopped fresh mozzarella. English cucumbers, also known as hothouse cucumbers, are those long skinny ones that often times will come wrapped in plastic. They have far less seeds and less moisture and work perfectly in a salad like this.
Mix up the super simple balsamic dressing to coat the veggies. See the recipe below for all the exact measurements. We’re talking balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Simple.
Pour that lovely mixture of dressed veggies right over the toasted bread cubes and mix it all together. The bread will still be a bit warm and that’s perfect. We’ll let it sit and get happy while we grill the steak.
It’s getting happy.
Season both sides of the bison with some Montreal Steak Seasoning and garlic salt and then drizzle it with a bit of olive oil. Pop it on a medium grill and grill it for about 5 or 6 minutes and then flip it.
Bison is far leaner than beef which means it’s going to cook faster. It’s best cooked to a nice medium-rare or medium so use a thermometer, if necessary, and pull it off the grill when it reaches an internal temperature of 120 to 140 degrees. The total cooking time will probably be about 10 to 15 minutes. I was going for medium and it took just about 15 minutes.
Just like beef steak, bison likes to rest for 5 or 10 minutes after cooking to help it retain all those lovely juices.
Slice it across the grain.
Serve it over the top of that beautiful panzanella salad.
We enjoyed this with a nice glass of wine and it made us feel as if we were sitting outdoors in a beautiful Tuscan village enjoying an amazing meal. It didn’t matter that we were actually sitting on our couch watching an episode of X Factor we had on the DVR; it felt like Tuscany.
To find out where you can find bison check out the product locater on The Bison Council’s site HERE. If there are no local sources in your area, there are many online retailers who will pack and ship it straight to your door. The last several times that I’ve visited my local Costco I noticed they are now carrying ground bison which is wonderful news.
I hope you give it a try!
For the Salad
- 1/2 loaf sweet french bread, thickly sliced and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, chopped
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes (red and yellow), halved
- 1 cup chopped English (hothouse) cucumber
- 1 cup thinly sliced red onion
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
For the Dressing
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Grilled Bison Flank Steak
- 1 pound bison flank steak
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon McCormick Monterey Steak Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place bread pieces in a shallow baking pan. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons oil and season lightly with salt. Toss gently to coat. Bake for 5 minutes or until toasted, stirring once or twice. Remove from oven and set aside.
- Combine mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, basil, and garlic in a large bowl. Set aside.
- For dressing, whisk together balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and fresh ground pepper, to taste, in a small bowl. Pour dressing over the tomato mixture and toss to coat. Spoon the tomato mixture over the slightly cooled bread and stir to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes to allow the flavors to blend. Serve with grilled bison flank steak.
- For the Grilled Bison Flank Steak: Drizzle bison flank steak olive oil and sprinkle with Montreal Steak Seasoning and garlic pepper on both sides Grill over medium heat for 10 to 15 minutes or until desired doneness. Cover bison flank steak with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Thinly slice steak across the grain.
Adapted from Allrecipes
All nutritional facts in this post provided by The Bison Council. Click HERE for more information.