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Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo by Stanley A. Fishman
By Stanley A. Fishman
Link to Tender Grassfed Meat at Amazon
By Stanley A. Fishman



I am an attorney and an author, not a doctor. This website is intended to provide information about grassfed meat, what it is, its benefits, and how to cook it. I will also describe my own experiences from time to time. The information on this website is being provided for educational purposes. Any statements about the possible health benefits provided by any foods or diet have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

I do receive some compensation each time a copy of my book is purchased. I receive a very small amount of compensation each time somebody purchases a book from Amazon through the links on this site, as I am a member of the Amazon affiliate program.

—Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat


Grassfed Bison Ranchers Win Sustainability Award

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Grassfed bison in the snow at Northstar Bison

Bison in their natural winter habitat, a snow covered grass pasture.

I recently posted a detailed description of the ranching methods at Northstar Bison, where Lee and Mary Graese raise superb grassfed bison. Or rather, they pretty much let the bison raise themselves. Most of what the Graeses do is rotate the bison from one fenced pasture to another. This high-intensity rotational grazing actually renews the soil, instead of depleting it like modern commodity agriculture.

The bison select their food, all year round, digging right through the winter snows to reach the grass underneath. Their thick coats keep them warm in winter. The bison cluster together in a tight herd to defend against predators. They deliver their own healthy young, without human interference. They are healthy, hardy animals, who do not need or benefit from human doctors. And they let the ranchers know when it is time to move to a new pasture, by clustering around the gate when it is time for them to move to another pasture.

The meat from these bison has a wonderful, slightly sweet, unique taste that is nothing like commodity beef. It has all the nutritional benefits of wild game, because the bison are eating their natural diet and are pretty much taking care of themselves. This fine meat does not have the gamy taste associated with wild game, because the bison are killed instantly, by surprise, and do not suffer.

This wonderful ranching accomplishment has received some well deserved recognition. Kimberly Hartke of the Hartke is Online blog has given Lee and Mary Graese her “Heroes of Sustainable Agriculture” award. Here is a link to the guest blog post I did, where the award is announced.

Grassfed Ranchers Restore the Bison and Renew the Soil

Here is a link to a guest recipe post I did on the same blog, which details a simple and delicious way to cook bison steak.

Bison Steak and Blueberry Marinade Recipe

Grassfed Ranchers Renew the Land by Raising Wild Bison

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

Creative Commons License photo credit: brooklyn Bison at Yellowstone

If you have eaten bison recently, you probably think it tastes just like conventional beef. That is because 95% of the bison sold in the U.S. has been fed the same horrid corn-soy diet that is given to factory beef. But real bison, grassfed bison, tastes nothing like that.

Real bison has a mild, distinct, slightly sweet taste of its own. A primal flavor, that is unique and wonderful. A fresh, compelling taste that tells your body to keep eating, something incredibly nourishing and satisfying is happening. Eating real bison makes me very happy, on many levels. And the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment I experience when I have eaten enough real bison is something special. There is something in real bison that refreshes, renews, revitalizes, and satisfies. I do not know what it is, but it is definitely there, but only in real bison eating its natural diet of grass and meadow plants.

One of the very few places you can get bison of this quality is Northstar Bison, a ranch where they raise wild bison with no artificial feed. How do they raise something that is wild? Well, the bison mostly raise themselves.

The ranchers only manage the grazing, using techniques that renew and enrich the land, following the patterns established by the bison themselves.

How the Great Plains Became Great Soil

Nature has developed its own way of creating great soil. A prime example is the Great Plains of the United States of America, which were some of the richest land on Earth.

Once, the Great Plains were roamed by huge herds of bison. The number of bison has been estimated at over sixty million. These bison roamed the plains in immense herds. Witnesses to these herds in the nineteenth century wrote that it took days for these herds to pass a particular spot. These herds would literally break up the land they grazed on with their hooves, eating the older growth, trampling the seeds deep into the earth, and enriching the soil with their manure. This enabled microorganisms in the soil to thrive, to fill the earth with life. Because the bison herds were so concentrated, they literally changed the land they grazed on. This was nature’s way of harvesting, plowing, fertilizing, and planting the earth.

The bison would then move on, allowing the land to rest for months before they returned. The land would use this time to grow rich new grass, in soil that was even more fertile than it had been. The roots set down by the grasses would hold moisture in the soil, helping the growth of the microorganisms that filled the soil with life and nutrients. Then the bison would return, to thrive on the rich new grass and start the whole cycle over again.

Northstar Bison Renews the Soil

Northstar Bison was founded by Lee and Mary Graese, on the site of an old dairy farm. Lee Graese had been fascinated by bison since he was a small boy, and always wanted to have some. The ranch is a fulfillment of his dream. The Graeses are devoted to raising real bison, in the most natural way possible. They have studied natural grazing practices, and put them into effect on their ranch. The method used is called intensive grazing and rest, and follows nature’s ways. The bison are concentrated in a particular pasture, and then moved to a new pasture when the time is right. Just like their ancestors, they enrich the land they graze on. Once the bison have left the pasture, the land is allowed to rest, renewing itself with the resources contributed by the bison. The new grass is allowed to grow. When the bison return, the grass is richer than ever.

This method of ranching enriches and restores the soil, rather than depleting it.

How the Bison Raise Themselves

The bison eat grass and meadow plants, selecting their own feed from what grows in the pasture. They can do this even in winter. The bison are able to smell grass under two feet of snow, and they actually dig through the snow to reach the grass. There is only one time when the bison are given supplementary feed, which consists of sun-dried hay from the ranch. When there is a thaw in the winter, the snow can melt. When the weather gets down to freezing again, ice forms that can make it difficult for the bison to reach the grass. The sun-dried hay is made available to the bison at these times.

The ranch is home to various predators, including bears, coyotes, and wolves. The bison are so good at protecting themselves and their young that the Graeses have never lost a calf to a predator.

The bison are healthy, robust animals that rarely, if ever get ill. Sometimes they do get injured when they fight among themselves. When they are sick or injured, they have a way of hiding their weakness so a predator will not target them.

The bison deliver their own young without aid. These healthy, unmodified animals do not need human help to reproduce or give birth.

In fact, the main way the Graeses manage their herd is to move them to new pastures. For bison, the grass is truly greener on the other side of the fence. The bison know when it is time to move to new pasture, and it is routine for them to gather at the gate when they want the Graeses to open it.

The Field Kill Method Is Merciful and Results in Sweet, Flavorful Meat

The Graeses use the field kill method. Every hunter knows that the meat of an animal which is killed by surprise will taste much better than the meat of an animal which is chased. This is because adrenalin and other hormones are released into the bloodstream when an animal gets scared or angry. These hormones give a very gamy, bitter taste to the meat. Since the dawn of time, hunters have always tried to kill the animal instantly, by surprise, to avoid the meat being ruined by these stress hormones. Another benefit is that an animal killed this way does not suffer.

The field kill method consists of shooting the animal from behind, without warning. A steel-jacketed bullet is shot into the bison’s head just behind the ear, which results in immediate death, without suffering. Because there is no suffering, none of the stress hormones are released into the meat, which remains sweet and is not even slightly gamy.

Since a steel-jacketed bullet is used, there are no lead fragments in the animal from the shooting.

The Blessings of Wild Bison

The meat sold by Northstar Bison is as real and natural as meat can get. No added hormones. No antibiotics. No feedlots. No species-inappropriate feed. No chemicals.

What you get is meat that is the equivalent of wild game, with all the natural nutrients. This meat is particularly rich in nutrients because the animals graze on grass growing in rich soil, soil which is full of minerals and other nutrients. Bison is naturally lean, but the fat is full of omega-3 fatty acids, CLA, and other beneficial nutrients.

There is also what I call the “y factor.” There is something in grassfed bison that makes me feel better and satisfied. I do not know what it is, but nothing else has it. My hunger is also satisfied with a smaller amount of bison meat. It is so dense with nutrients that my body is satisfied with less. When you are satisfied, the desire to eat is over.

Grassfed bison must be cooked properly, or it will be tough and not taste good. Tender Grassfed Meat has many bison recipes that result in delicious bison.

Buying Great Bison

I am very grateful that the Graeses have made their terrific meat available over the Internet. I have been a happy customer for many years.

Northstar Bison also owns the facility where their meat is processed. This means that they can easily custom cut your meat. It is important that you know what you want and describe it in detail, but they can get it for you. I have taken full advantage of this flexibility to order cuts that are not on their regular price list. This is a great way to get really thick steaks and bone-in roasts. The regular selection of cuts at their online store is huge, but you can ask them to custom cut additional selections. One of my favorite custom orders is bison suet, which you can order separately, and is actually a very popular item.

Wild bison meat, from animals that have been fed only grass and hay, is one of the tastiest and best meats you can eat. My thanks to the Graeses for making this healthy and delicious meat available.

This post is part of Monday Mania, Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday blog carnivals.

Let the Buffalo Roam

By Stanley A. Fishman, author of Tender Grassfed Meat

more grazing
Creative Commons License photo credit: brooklyn

Bison are huge, magnificent creatures designed to roam the vast plains of North America and to graze on the native grasses. The meat of these noble animals has a wonderful flavor of its own, with a sweet, clean taste found in no other meat. I have found that bison meat is one of the most energizing and rejuvenating foods I have ever eaten. Recently, I was horrified to learn that feedlots have been introduced for these magnificent animals who were never meant to be confined. But there is something we can do about this. We can decide not to eat any bison meat that is not 100% grassfed and grass finished.

Bison Thrive on Pasture

Once, more than 60 million bison roamed the Great Plains of the United States and Canada. These herds were so vast that it would take them days to pass a single spot. The bison ate the native plants and grasses, growing strong, healthy, and numerous. A number of Native American nations lived off the bison, getting almost all of their food from these healthy animals. The meat and fat of the bison provided high-quality food; the bones provided nourishing broth, and were often made into tools; the furry pelts were made into robes that kept the people warm during the winter, and provided blankets and clothing; the sinews were made into glue that was used to make bows and other tools; and the hides provided tough shields and footware, as well as clothing.

The Native Americans who lived off the bison were noted for their strength, endurance, physical beauty, intelligence, and robust good health. The bison thrived on the native grasses, and the people thrived off the bison. But this happy balance was doomed.

Industry Almost Exterminated the Bison

In the nineteenth century, the clothing industry discovered that bison hides were perfect for making warm clothing, coats, hats, and other apparel. They paid buffalo hunters to use specially designed buffalo rifles to slaughter the bison for their hides. This was made economically viable by the railroads, which could cheaply transport huge numbers of bison hides to the factories. The bison were slaughtered by the millions. The professional buffalo hunters would take only the hides and leave the rest of the bison to rot. This mass slaughter of the bison was encouraged by American industry and government, as a way to remove the main food source of the Native Americans living on the Great Plains, and as a way to clear the land of bison so it could be used for farming. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were less than 600 bison left alive in the United States. Over 60 million had been slaughtered for their hides.

The Bison Return

Fortunately, efforts were made to finally protect the bison. The numbers increased, and bison were once again used for food. Some creative ranchers learned how to raise bison and increase their numbers—and soon there was a substantial increase in the number of bison. These early ranchers raised and finished the bison on grass. They found that bison eating their native grasses were sturdy, healthy, hardy animals, who provided wonderful meat. However, raising bison naturally required a great deal of knowledge and effort on the part of the ranchers, and it took a while to raise a bison for meat. Some bison ranchers began to feed grains to their bison. These grain fed bison grew and matured faster. However, bison were never intended to eat grain, and the very composition of their meat and fat changed.

How to Make Bison Taste Like Beef

A bison industry was formed. The industry decided that they would sell more bison if they could make bison taste like beef. This led to the bizarre “beefalo” experiment where bison were interbred with cattle to provide hybrid animals who were turned into meat. Consumers had no interest in this product, and it was dropped. The industry then developed ways of feeding unnatural diets to bison that were designed to make them grow faster, and have their meat taste like beef. The industry succeeded completely. Grain finished bison tastes just like grain finished beef. The sweet, clean taste of grassfed bison was lost.

Comes the Feedlot

Feeding grain to bison was bad enough. Not only did it destroy the wonderful, natural taste of the bison, making the bison taste just like grain finished beef, but it changed the nutritional qualities of the meat. The situation became much worse when feedlots were introduced for bison. A protocol of 100 days of eating nothing but grains in a feedlot was introduced. For example, a recent study showed that grassfed bison had an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4 to 1. Putting the bison on a grain diet in a feedlot resulted in an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 21 to 1. This huge imbalance of the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio does not occur in nature, and is not what our bodies were designed to eat.

Recently, the USDA Food Inspection Service announced that approximately 66,000 pounds of bison were recalled because of possible E. coli contamination.

Bison were meant to roam the prairie, eating the native grasses, not to be confined in a feedlot, eating food that is unnatural to them.

The Grassfed Solution

Fortunately, there are some bison ranchers who keep their animals on the pasture, and do not feed them grains, or send them to feedlots. These animals are healthy, and are free to roam the prairies as they were designed to do. Their meat is sweet, and nourishing, with the wonderful clean taste that is equaled by no other meat. This is the only kind of bison meat that I will eat. I encourage everybody to vote with their pocketbooks and buy only grassfed and grass finished bison. Let the buffalo roam.

My Sources Page has links to two wonderful bison ranches that sell only grassfed and grass finished bison.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday Blog Carnival at Kelly the Kitchen Kop.