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Bison burgers or traditional beef - Consumer Reports test

July 3, 2013 2:56:33 PM PDT
Looking for a healthy burger choice, but veggie and turkey burgers aren't cutting it? Consumer Reports says you may want to try a bison burger. Sales of bison meat topped 240-million dollars last year as more people discovered this tasty alternative.

Big, beefy burgers are still king, but this restaurant 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," Angelo DiFeo from Westchester Burger Company said.

Be aware bison can be expensive -- sometimes twice as much as beef. But nutritionally, it's 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.

Maxine Siegel found that bison meat did well in Consumer Reports' taste tests.

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

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're not only going to get a moister burger, but you're going to make the meat go further and reduce the cost," said Siegel.

So this summer, bison burgers can offer a tasty, healthy option you might just flip for.

ShopSmart says another tasty way to keep your bison burger moist is to add in some sauerkraut - well drained that is -- along with a mustard herb rub. In fact, almost any flavorful steak rub works well with bison.