Learn the ins and outs of cooking a bison ribeye steak. We will show you what we think the best way to cook the steak.
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Give me a home, where the buffalo roam.
Technically that would be in another country as what people call buffalo in America are actually bison. Still the word is often used interchangeably, including in the grocery store from time to time. I have trained myself as a kid to say bison after learning about this at Yellowstone National Park.
What I didn't know as a kid is that steaks come bison are delicious. And the steaks have the same name as the cow steaks, such as the Ribeye, the subject of today's post.
🥊 Bison Ribeyes vs Beef Ribeyes
If you didn't take a closer look, you would think that they are both the same. They look very similar. It might not be easy to tell if I didn't tell you that the steak above is a bison ribeye not a beef one. But there are some differences.
Start first with the fat. Bison is leaner than ribeye. Yes, you do still see plenty of fat in that bison steak but there isn't a ton of intramuscular fat or marbling. This is something you look for when picking out the most tasty steak.
Does this mean bison is not tasty? This comes to our next difference. Bison meat tends to have a sweeter flavor than beef. It's not gamey at all.
I am not nutritional expert in the least but I hear a lot of rumblings about bison meat having better nutritional value than beef. I would check with an expert in the field to learn more.
🛒 Shopping for Bison Ribeye
As I am writing this post I am out in South Dakota, where bison is plentiful. Not cheap but easy to find. Lots of butcher shops and markets carry it. Often time it comes frozen and I am totally ok with that. As long as you don't let it defrost excessively between the store and your freezer you are good to go. You could also put it right in the fridge and eat it immediately once it has defrosted.
How much should you expect to pay? $25-$30 a pound is probably the range you are looking for. You might be able to find a cheaper deal and there are definitely ones you order online that can be more. Bison ribeye tends to run up to twice as much as beef ribeye. See your post - What is a Good Price for Ribeye Steak.
Many chain stores like Kroger and all the stores it owns, carry bison steaks. They are usually vacuum sealed and often sold by each, not by the pound. You may be able to find bison steaks at certain Whole Foods Market stores.
🙋 Do You Need to Marinade?
Well you could marinade your steak, however I don't feel it's necessary. If you cook it right it will be tender enough, plus I want the flavor of the meat to shine through without anything covering it up. It's why I always recommend using just salt, pepper, and maybe a little Worcestershire sauce and if you must steak sauce, but not much.
⏲️ How Long to Cook
Bison doesn't take any longer to cook any beef. I prefer to cook my steaks by temperature that either I monitor with an instant-read thermometer (my favorite is The Thermapen® ONE from ThermoWorks) or I cook sous vide. But if you have neither at your disposable right now, then 3-4 minutes per side depending on the thickness of your steak. If it's around 2 inches thick you definitely want to go longer.
The key thing with cooking bison is that because it's leaner you don't want to overcook it or it will be dry. Medium rare is ideal. Medium doneness if you must have it cooked more. If you want it more than medium, I would suggest sticking with beef.
🧈 Butter Basted
Finishing your Bison ribeye with a pat of butter is a real delicious way to finish seasoning your meat. Use the best butter that you can find, I think that is grass fed Irish butter.
What also good is making a compound butter. You just mix herbs, salt, and/or garlic with softened butter in a food processor. Then roll into a log and store in the freezer until using.
If cooking in a pan, do it in the last minutes of cooking, just so it melts and runs all over the meat. If you are grilling, just add it once you pull it from the grill. You don't want melting butter to cause your grill to flare up.
If you are finishing your steak in the oven you can add it when you put it in the oven.
Learn more about my favorite butter - Kerrygold Irish Butter.
🛁 Sous Vide Instructions
By far my favorite way to cook a steak is via sous vide. This water bath method allows you to cook the bison to the temperature you want it at. You don't have to worry about overcooking it.
Start by seasoning with kosher salt and black pepper (freshly ground, please!) Garlic powder can be used as well.
If you got a vacuum sealer, it's the easiest way to prepare steak for sous vide. I own a Vesta brand vacuum sealer.
Set your temperature to your desired doneness. Cook for at least 1 hour, but 2 hours would be good as well. You don't need to bring the steak to room temperature before adding to the water bath.
When time is up the steak is technically done, however I am not one that leaves a chance to add more flavor on the table, so....
Sear both sides of the steak for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side in a really hot cast skillet. Get that pan as hot as you can get before adding the steak. You just want to brown it super fast.
Make sure before you sear that you add a little bit of an oil with a high smoke point to each side of the steak to promote browning. Don't use the fancy extra virgin olive oil, I like oils like grapeseed, avocado, or sunflower. Ghee would also work, since it's a solid at room temperature I would add it directly to the cast iron.
💡 Tip - You can also finish your steak on a charcoal grill. Get your grill hot and for extra flavor throw a sprig of rosemary or two onto the grill and then sear your steak. you could do this with a gas grill as well.
I love cutting into a perfectly cooked sous vide Ribeye steak.
🥔 Serving Suggestions
What to serve with the steak? Potatoes are always a good option. Crispy potatoes that you make in the oven and or air fryer are nice. For something really fun get yourself some purple potatoes and bake them in the oven. They are so beautiful.
If you are a mushroom fan, then before you sear your steak in the cast iron, cook up your favorite mushrooms in the pan. Served the cooked mushroom and a pat of butter over the steak.
I also like to save the liquid from the sous vide bag. You can use it as an au jus for dipping.
👀 You Might Be Interested In
- How to Cook a Bison Chuck Roast
- Bison Meat at Costco
- How to Seal Sous Vide Burgers
- What is a Good Price for a Ribeye Steak
- Ribeye Steak vs Tomahawk Steak
- Instant Pot Sous Vide Steak
Sous Vide Bison Ribeye Steak
- Set your sous vide water bath to 135-138 degrees - the temperature for medium rare.
- Liberally add salt and fresh pepper to both sides of the steak to your tastes.
- Seal the steak with a vacuum sealer or the water displacement method.
- Add to water bath.
- Cook for 1-2 hours.
- Remove the steak from the water bath. I use tongs so not to touch hot water.
- Put a cast iron skillet over high heat. Once the skillet is super hot, add 2 tablespoons of your favorite cooking oil. Cook the steak for 30 seconds to 1 minute per side to brown each side.
- Slice the steak against the grain when serving.
- Find that your steak is floating? Clip it to the side of the water bath or use a heavy object like a pot to weigh it down. Make sure to not pass the max fill line for your machine.
When your steak is done, you can drain the liquid (au jus) inside the bag into a small bowl for dipping. It's optional.