Native American Indians exhibited great skill and ingenuity in turning one of their greatest natural resources—bison— into tools and materials to help them survive.
Bison were crucial to the life of many tribes, especially the tribes of the plains. For the plains tribes, their lives centered around the bison hunt.
A bison bull weighing around 2,000 pounds could provide 800 pounds of meat. This was a major food source. The indians used different methods of cooking and preserving bison meat. Cooking over a fire, on hot rocks and drying on racks using smoke, essentially making jerky. The stomach was used for cooking and would be filled with water, bison meat, herbs and wild onions. Then, hot rocks were placed into the stomach to bring it to a boil. Soon, they were eating bison stew. Today it is much easier to prepare and enjoy bison—America’s Original Red Meat.
Jim Matheson of the National Bison Association: “It's a very lean red meat. It's because the bison meat does not marble like beef does. The animal has evolved in the plains for thousands of years and has always been moving. So as such, the meat does not marble like it does on other red meat. So for that reason it is very, very lean, low on cholesterol, is very high in protein and minerals like iron and vitamin B12. Things like that. And it's leaner than skinless chicken.