Bison Roast on the Grill

I know, sounds scary, right? I was a little nervous, too. My approach to any bison cut (beyond ground) is to do them low and slow – in the slow cooker, even – to make sure they don’t dry out. They’re so much leaner than beef, but so flavourful – the low and slow method is pretty foolproof. And you can’t beat a good bison bourguignon.

But. It’s not exactly braising (oven on for three hours) season – it’s barbecue season. And the reality is that an actual bison is 10% premium steaks, 40-45% roast type cuts – the remainder of the meat is trim (ground), which goes toward burgers and sausage, which practically sell themselves. Roasts are the hardest thing for producers to market because most people don’t know how to cook them, or don’t want to spend the time. Who makes pot roasts anymore?

Next to ground, roasts are the most economical cut of bison and also the leanest. Bison has 1/4 the fat of beef or pork – it’s even leaner than skinless chicken or turkey. And it’s wonderful, flavourful meat – every time we have bison (which is more often than beef these days) Mike shakes his head and declares it far better. It isn’t that far off, really – most people wouldn’t know the difference. And yet even though it looks like beef and tastes like beef – the cuts are even named the same way – you can’t treat it exactly like beef in the kitchen. You’ll be fine with ground bison and sausage, but steaks and roasts need about a third less cooking time. And keep in mind the shape, rather than the weight – a long, thin roast the same weight as a round one will cook more quickly.

This beautiful little bundle of roast beast came from Peter and Judy Haase at Buffalo Horn Ranch – wonderful people and advocates of environmentally responsible and sustainable agriculture. Check out their website for more nutritional info, cooking tips and to order their well-raised bison – they make free deliveries in Calgary if you order $100 or more – a great way to stock up for summer.


Bison Roast on the Grill

Recipe link


June 14, 2010


1 3-4 lb. roast (I used eye of round)

canola oil

salt and pepper


1Pat the roast dry, then drizzle it with oil and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the barbecue to high, and when it’s good and hot (the dial will register around 600 degrees) throw it on, sear it on all sides, then turn off one side – the side the meat is on – and leave the other one on. Throw some soaked wood chips in if you like, and close the lid. Cook for about an hour, until a meat thermometer registers 130ºF. Place on a cutting board, wrap loosely with foil and let rest for 20 minutes before slicing thin - it will go up five degrees or so as it rests. Slice thinly to serve.


In other news, if there was a Hoarders – Kitchen Edition I could be a candidate. Remember how I said I was going to start using up the food I already have? The roast came from the freezer, and I gutted one cupboard and consolidated several dozen little bags of beans, grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and bits of things – turning all unidentifiable flours into a big bag of pancake mix and taking an inventory of everything else, divvying some of it into jars. It was one of those little jobs I got right into for the first half of (taking everything out and going -aha! I have mung beans/unflavoured gelatin/sundried tomatoes/dried-out marshmallows/too many figs!) and then completely lost interest in when about a third had been neatly reorganized back in the cupboard. I’m now avoiding the kitchen altogether and starting to cook in the dining room, where there’s actually some horizontal space.

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12 comments on “Bison Roast on the Grill

  1. Sarah G
    June 14, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    It always feels so good to use up all the food in the house and to start over again. It is amazing how much food we can amass. I must have a carry-over fear from my childhood.

  2. Laurie from Burnaby
    June 14, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Hey, Julie, what about ‘The Bean Book’ ?

  3. Cheryl Arkison
    June 15, 2010 at 9:27 am

    Someone buys in bulk! Hope you get sorted out soon. Now I’m craving red meat and it isn’t even 10 am!

  4. Monica I.
    June 15, 2010 at 9:40 am

    Bison is wonderful, but so is Elk! I’ve recently discovered vendors for it at both farmer’s markets in Edmonton after eating almost 100% bison for the past 10 years.

  5. Erica B.
    June 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I have a shelf in the pantry that resembles your table. :) I’ve been looking for small stackable containers to get it all sorted and vertical so I can keep track of whats in there.

    Bison is on our table more often than beef these days – I see from their site Buffalo Horn Ranch delivers Oct-May. I’ll have to get in touch and see if they’re selling anywhere in Red Deer/Sylvan – I still remember the shoulder roast from the Forage dinner. MMMmmmm bison – ok now I’m cravin’ too. Time to plan dinner heh

  6. Manon from Ontario
    June 15, 2010 at 10:26 am

    OMG! Julie I made your two-minute banana bread this morning…how can you just eat one slice???
    I dusted some slice almonds and oatmeal over mine…WOW…very delish and simple.

    Thanks again for sharing, you are a great gal :)


  7. Jan (Family Bites)
    June 15, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I’ve only had bison once and it was yummy. It was a bison burger and holy juicy deliciousness!

  8. Tina
    June 15, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I have to agree with the bison roast. I did a bison sirloin with a dried blueberry, juniper, black pepper crust on the BBQ rotisserie – best roast ever!!

  9. Barb
    June 17, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Oh Yum!

  10. Peter
    June 20, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    Hi julie,

    Glad to see that you enjoyed your bison roast. The recipe and photo are great and it makes me want to put one on the grill tonight, but at 6:12 it’s too late to thaw for tonight, but then there is always tomorrow.

  11. Dean McAdams
    June 3, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe. It worked great, came out a little dry, only because I wrongly doubted you and left the roast in just a little too long. You are so correct, lean bison cooks much faster than beef.

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