Bison burgers provide a healthy alternative to beef

FRESNO, Calif.

Sales of bison meat topped $240 million last year. Big, beefy burgers are still king, but Westchester Burger Co. began offering bison burgers three years ago, and they now sell around 300 a week.

"I didn't think it would become that popular. I thought it'd be a slow process. But it seemed to take off very quickly," said Angelo Difeo, with Westchester Burger Co.

Be aware bison can be expensive, sometimes twice as much as beef. But nutritionally, it is a solid choice.

According to the USDA, a grass fed, three-ounce bison patty has 152 calories and seven grams of fat. That's less than a broiled, 90 percent lean beef burger, which averages 184 calories and 10 grams of fat. And it's even less than a broiled, 93 percent lean turkey burger, which averages 176 calories and 10 grams of fat.

"Our tasters found the bison very similar to lean beef. In fact they thought it was lean beef, until they tasted them side-by-side, and then they found some slight differences in flavor," said Maxine Siegel with Consumer Reports.

Most ground bison is at least 90 percent lean, which is great if fat is a concern. But for some people that can make it a little too dry.

To get a juicier bison burger, Consumer Reports' Shopsmart Magazine Suggests adding some onions, roasted peppers, or even sautéed mushrooms. Figure about a half-cup of add-ins for each pound of ground meat.

"By mixing in the veggies, you are not only going to get a moister burger, but you are going to make the meat go further and reduce the cost," Siegel said.

Bison burgers can offer a tasty, healthy option you might just flip for.

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