If you’ve ever paused before you make the commitment to purchase ground bison, don’t worry – you’re not alone! With its delicate flavor and superior nutritional properties, bison is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after proteins out there.
But whether you’re planning to use it to make your grandma’s bison burgers or create a new dish of your own, there’s something you absolutely need to know: the right internal temperature for cooking ground bison.
It’s one of the most important questions when it comes to preparing ground bison, especially since it can turn from succulent to dry in an instant.
So without further ado, let’s dive into walking you through the essentials – from selecting the juiciest bison to cooking with confidence – in this comprehensive guide to acing internal temperature for ground bison!
The Short Answer:
The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends an internal temperature of at least 160°F when cooking ground bison. To ensure food safety, use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature of your ground bison before serving.
What Is the Right Internal Temperature For Ground Bison?
When it comes to cooking ground bison, safety is key – and with that comes the importance of reaching the proper internal temperature. It is well-known that under-cooked meat can lead to food poisoning or worse, so understanding the right internal temperature for ground bison is an important step toward serving a safe meal.
The debate as to what is the optimal internal temperature for ground bison has been going on for some time. Some purport that in order to ensure no bacteria remain while still keeping the ground bison moist, the target should be 160°F (71°C).
Others point out that bison has less fat quantity than other meats, and therefore cooks quickly relative to others. In this case, they suggest a lower temperature at 155°F (68°C).
The issue in determining the best temperature for ground bison come down not just to safety concerns but also personal taste preferences; some may prefer their burgers cooked all the way through at 160°F, while others may appreciate a more “medium” level of doneness at 155°F.
At the end of the day, it’s best for everyone involved for you to get familiar with your local regulations and USDA guidelines on proper temperatures for ground bison. As guidelines can vary by region, following these will help ensure both you and your guests are served a meal filled with deliciousness and safety!
Now let’s turn our attention to look at those specific guidelines next…
USDA Temperature Guidelines
Ensuring that ground bison is cooked to the right internal temperature is an important part of food safety, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA recommends that all ground meats, including ground bison and other ground specialty meats, be cooked to an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C) to kill harmful bacteria.
For optimal food safety, it’s best to take a temperature reading near the center of the meat and in the thickest part.1“Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart,” Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart
When cooking ground bison, it’s important to keep in mind that overcooking can lead to a dry texture in the final result. Still, for both taste and safety reasons, following the recommended guidelines from the USDA provides protection from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli.
The argument for cooking bison below 160°F is that a lower internal temperature allows for medium-rare doneness just like with steak. Supporters of this debate suggest that since bison is leaner than beef due its naturally low fat content, there isn’t as much risk factors associated with eating the meat rare or medium-rare.
While this may be true, if you’re unsure about the quality or freshness of your cut of bison, it’s better to err on the side of caution when cooking and stick with temperatures closer to 160°F or higher.
The next section will discuss how to cook ground bison using various methods to achieve proper internal temperatures while still enjoying juicy and flavorful results.
How to Cook Ground Bison
Cooking ground bison is often considered a more nutritious alternative to other ground meats, owing to its high protein content, low saturated fat and lack of additives. Ground bison has a flavorful taste and texture, making it ideal for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf and tacos.
Though the process for cooking ground bison is similar to that of beef or pork, there are some key differences.
The first step when cooking ground bison is choice of oil or fat. Using an oil while cooking can prevent sticking and help form a light crust around the burger patties.
It’s important to use an oil with a high smoking point such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil to avoid burning. Others advocate using less oil altogether or replacing it entirely with water when cooking ground bison in order to preserve nutrition while avoiding extreme heat.
Though opinion may vary on use of oil, there’s general agreement on temperature settings. Ground bison should ideally be cooked at medium-high heat (around 375°F) until well-done so that all potential contaminants from the slaughterhouse have been destroyed and any parasites like trichinosis eliminated.
At this temperature, less moisture is lost and the meat remains juicy and succulent. Undercooked ground bison can lead to illness and may not reach an internal temperature of 165°F even after an extended cook time due to its lower fat content.
Some therefore recommend preheating the pan before adding the ground bison in order to achieve an even cook throughout without over-browning exteriors.
Whether cooking on the stovetop or grilling outdoors on a hot grill, it’ important to avoid piercing the burgers while they’re cooking as this may cause juices inside to escape – resulting in dry burgers. Once finished cooking, allow ground bison burgers to rest for three minutes off-heat so that flavors can settle internally.
With these tips in mind as guidance, cooks can be sure that their ground bison burgers are safe and delicious every time! In the following section, we will discuss oven baking vs grilling for optimal results when cooking ground bison burgers.
Essential Points to Remember
Ground bison is a nutritious meat alternative to beef or pork with its high protein content, low saturated fat, and lack of additives.
When preparing ground bison burgers it is important to use an oil with a high smoking point such as avocado oil or grapeseed oil, cook at medium-high heat (around 375°F) until well-done, preheat the pan before adding the ground bison in order to prevent over-browning, and avoid piercing the burgers while cooking.
Lastly, allow three minutes off-heat for the flavors to settle internally after cooking. For optimal results when cooking ground bison burgers one should consider oven baking vs grilling.
Oven Baked or Grilled
The debate of whether ground bison should be oven baked or grilled will always be a point of contention in many households. On one hand, grilling allows for the more traditional smoky barbecue flavor, as well as the added benefit of being able to cook outdoors.
On the other hand, baking in the oven is often less expensive and allows for greater control over heating temperatures. So what is the right internal temperature for ground bison when baking or grilling?
When grilling ground bison, it’s important to take some extra precautions so that it doesn’t become dry and tough. Cook it directly over medium heat, turning frequently so all sides are cooked evenly.
The ideal internal temperature should reach 165 degrees Fahrenheit within 3-5 minutes. It’s important to refrain from overcooking it because even a few extra seconds can make it tough.
If you decide to bake your ground bison in an oven, preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit before putting it in. Place on a roasting pan with the fat side up and bake for about 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Again, be sure not to let it go too long if possible as this could result in dryness.
Once you finish cooking your delicious Bison dish, make sure you check the ground bison’s internal temperature closely before serving. The next section will explain how to know if the internal temperature has been reached correctly.
Check the Ground Bison Internal Temperature
The internal temperature of ground bison should be checked regularly to ensure it is cooked properly and thoroughly. Without checking the internal temperature, it is difficult to know whether or not the bison has been cooked correctly.
The best way to check for doneness is by using a food thermometer.
It is important to note that eating undercooked bison can present a risk of foodborne illness, as fresh and frozen bison may contain harmful bacteria. Therefore, the internal temperature needs to be checked to ensure that all harmful bacteria are destroyed.
In addition, it is suggested that ground bison should reach an internal temperature of at least 71 °C (160 °F). This prevents foodborne pathogens from entering your digestive system and keeps you safe from possible food poisoning.
Ground bison should not be eaten if its internal temperature does not meet this minimum threshold.
On the other hand, some people believe that ground bison should be cooked to higher temperatures due to its lean nature, reaching an internal temperature of 76-85 °C (170-185 °F). When heated further past this range, however, the meat will become dry and tough; therefore, it is important to remain mindful of its cooking duration and do not cook it longer than necessary.
If unsure of its internal temperature, check with a food thermometer prior to serving the dish.
To ensure safety and the proper cooking of the ground bison, it is imperative that the internal temperature is checked prior to consuming the dish. Following this section about checking the ground bison’s internal temperature is a section outlining how you can use a food thermometer in order to verify doneness.
Using a Food Thermometer
Using a food thermometer is the only way to guarantee that ground bison has reached the safe temperature of 165°F. A food thermometer should be inserted in the thickest part of the meat, usually near the center, penetrates to at least halfway through the product.
It is important to ensure that the thermometer does not touch any bones as this may cause inaccurate readings.
When handling a food thermometer, always remember to wash it thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after use. Additionally, never leave a food thermometer unattended in ground bison for more than a few minutes as it can become stuck in the product resulting in false readings.
Furthermore, when storing a food thermometer make sure it is stored in a clean area and case at room temperature to prevent contamination.
It is also important to regularly check that your food thermometer operates accurately by testing it with boiling water or ice cubes so you can be sure it.
What If Ground Bison Doesn’t Reach the Safe Temperature?
When cooking ground bison, it is imperative that the internal temperature reaches 165ºF. But what if ground bison does not reach this safe temperature?
It is important to understand the risks or dangers of consuming under-cooked beef before taking any action.
Under-cooking beef can cause foodborne illnesses and put people at risk for food poisoning. The major culprit responsible for food poisoning attributed to beef, as well as other meats, is a bacteria called E. coli 0157:H7, which only dies when meat is cooked to temperatures above 160°F.
The bacteria walk not only be present due to contamination but could also be present in ground bison even when sourced from a trusted vendor. If beef isn’t cooked thoroughly, the bacteria will survive and in turn, cause sickness.
Severe illness can result in extreme dehydration, bloody diarrhea and fever. In some cases, hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) can occur— a serious complication of an E. coli infection where red blood cells are destroyed and impair kidney function.
Cases such as these could even require dialysis or even lead to other life threatening conditions.
On the flip side, some argue that there isn’t an increased danger presented by consuming undercooked meat, particularly if it was sourced from a reputable source and handled correctly during preparation.
They suggest that the risks come from eating meat that hasn’t been prepared cleanly rather than undercooked meat itself.
Now that we have discussed the risks associated with undercooking ground bison, let’s move on to the next section about “Re-Heat and Re-Check” – in which we will discuss how to re-heat and re-check internal temperatures when preparing ground bison at home.
Re-Heat and Re-Check
Whenever meat is re-heated, there is always an element of risk involved; not only in terms of cross-contamination but also in terms of food poisoning. It’s essential that ground bison is heated to a safe internal temperature before serving.
Whether you are reheating ground bison for use in a dish such as chili or as a side item (e.g. patties), it must be cooked again to the same recommended internal temperature. The general consensus is that cooked leftovers should be brought to an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C minimum – although this may vary depending on the cut and how originally cooked it was.
Experts recommend the use of a thermometer when re-heating bison, as this reduces the risk and increases accuracy.
Before re-serving and eating ground bison, it’s important to ensure that the correct internal temperature has been reached – this way bacteria has been destroyed and little chance of getting food poisoning exists.
When finished, it’s best practice to discard any leftovers for food safety reasons. Leftovers should not be refrigerated if they have been reheated; instead, consume them immediately and enjoy maximum flavor and texture.
Once reheated safely, the following section looks into handling and storing raw ground bison for optimal safety and quality.
- The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service recommends that cooked bison should reach an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71.1°C).
- A study conducted in 1992 found that even if meat is cooked to an internal temperature of only 140°F (60°C), harmful bacteria can still be present.
- According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, consuming undercooked meat can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Handling and Storing Raw Ground Bison
When handling ground bison, it is important to be cautious and take precautions to ensure food safety. There are several steps that you should take when dealing with raw ground bison in order to prevent the spread of bacteria, such as E. coli, which can cause food poisoning.
First, there should always be a designated cutting board for handling raw ground bison, and this cutting board should be cleaned prior to its use. Furthermore, it is recommended to keep other foods away from the cutting board while you are using it to prepare the bison.
Hands should also be washed before and after contact with the meat product.
Raw ground bison should also be stored separately from other foods in the refrigerator or freezer. If storing the meat in the refrigerator, keep it in an air-tight container for up to two days; for long-term storage, freezing is best practice.
Any cooked leftovers should similarly be refrigerated or frozen within two hours of cooking them. The USDA recommends freezing for up to three months if done correctly.
Although experts recommend refrigerating or freezing raw ground bison soon after purchase and keeping it separate from other foods while handling, there is some debate regarding this topic. Some believe that bacteria on fresh cuts of meat will die off quickly once sealed and refrigerated; others argue that there is too much risk of contamination and suggest freezing right away as better practice.
In the end, the decision comes down to personal preference; however, caution should still be taken while handling raw ground bison in order to eliminate any risk of foodborne illness or contamination.2“Foods That Can Cause Food Poisoning” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foods-linked-illness.html#:~:text=Chicken%2C%20Beef%2C%20Pork%2C%20and%20Turkey,-Thoroughly%20cooking%20chicken&text=It%20also%20may%20contain%20Salmonella,may%20call%20for%20this%20step.
Answers to Commonly Asked Questions
How should ground bison be cooked to ensure safety?
The most important thing when cooking ground bison is to ensure that it reaches an internal temperature of at least 160°F (71°C). That will help kill any harmful bacteria that may be present in the meat, making it safe to consume.
Once cooked to this temperature, the bison should be left on the heat for a additional minute or two before being taken off.
This will help guarantee that all parts of the meat have reached an appropriate temperature for safety. Additionally, it’s best to use a food thermometer when cooking the bison so you can make sure its reaching an appropriate level of doneness.
What are the benefits of reaching the correct internal temperature for ground bison?
Reaching the correct internal temperature when cooking ground bison is extremely important for many reasons. Firstly, it ensures that the meat is cooked properly and that any potential bacteria, like E. coli, are eliminated.
Not only does this make ground bison safer to consume, but it also prevents food-borne illnesses from occurring. Secondly, achieving the proper internal temperature during cooking also helps to preserve the flavor, texture, and nutrients in the ground bison.
Properly cooked ground bison has a much richer flavor as well as a tender texture that makes it more enjoyable to eat. Lastly, reaching the right internal temperature helps to preserve key nutrients in the meat, meaning that there is greater nutritional value when consuming ground bison that has been cooked correctly.
What are the consequences of not reaching the correct internal temperature for ground bison?
Not reaching the correct internal temperature for ground bison can have serious consequences. First, an incorrect internal temperature can make the bison unsafe to consume and cause food poisoning.
Ground bison must reach a minimum internal temperature of 160°F in order to kill off harmful bacteria. If this minimum is not reached, people who eat the bison could suffer from serious illnesses caused by these bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella.
Secondly, the taste and texture of the bison can be vastly diminished if not cooked properly. The heat breaks down connective tissue and fat in the meat, tenderizing it and adding flavor and juiciness.
Without proper cooking, your ground bison may be dry, tough, and flavorless.
Finally, an incorrect internal temperature could also lead to spoilage due to harmful microbial growth in the meat. This will result in you having to discard the meat and create avoidable waste.
Properly cooking ground bison to the right internal temperature is essential for providing safe and enjoyable dishes.
- 1“Safe Minimum Internal Temperature Chart,” Food Safety and Inspection Service, United States Department of Agriculture, https://www.fsis.usda.gov/food-safety/safe-food-handling-and-preparation/food-safety-basics/safe-temperature-chart
- 2“Foods That Can Cause Food Poisoning” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, https://www.cdc.gov/foodsafety/foods-linked-illness.html#:~:text=Chicken%2C%20Beef%2C%20Pork%2C%20and%20Turkey,-Thoroughly%20cooking%20chicken&text=It%20also%20may%20contain%20Salmonella,may%20call%20for%20this%20step.