Everything I know About Cooking Bison Ribs


Ribs are enjoyed year around, but with the grilling season in full swing, I have received a few questions recently on the preparation of them. Hopefully this will clarify some of your questions too.


The first thing to know is, 100% Grass-Fed Bison Ribs are not like corn finished bison or beef ribs. If you are following a recipe that is formulated for using pork or corn-fed ribs, but you are using Wild Idea Buffalo 100% Grass-Fed Bison Ribs, and it doesn’t turn out, this could be why. When you find a recipe for ribs that sounds good to you, I would encourage you to use the recipes seasonings, liquids or sauces, but for best results with Wild Idea's ribs, please follow one of the techniques listed below.

100% Grass-fed Bison short Ribs with BBQ Sauce and Green Onions 

Before we get to techniques, here are a few other tips or options for preparing ribs:

Removing membrane from the backside of ribs: I do this only occasionally, if I’m preparing for a fancier affair, otherwise I leave the membrane intact. It will become soft during cooking process and is easy to remove after cooking or while eating. If you choose to remove the membrane, slide a knife between membrane and meat, preferably at a corner, until you can easily grab a hold of the membrane with your fingers. Drop your knife and use one hand as resistance on ribs and the other to pull the membrane away from the meat.


Trimming: Some people choose to trim the Short Ribs of exterior fat. I do not, unless there is an excessive layer of fat on the ribs. During the cooking process the fat will become very gelatinous and buttery, which my family likes. This however is a personal preference.


Scoring ribs: I only score the ribs if I am marinating to tenderize or to get more of the marinade flavor or rub into the meat. Score buffalo ribs by making about ½ inch deep by 1 inch long slits in the meat or fat.


Marinating: In addition to mopping the ribs with a sauce at finishing time, marinating can also add flavor to the ribs. If you are using a marinade to tenderize the buffalo ribs, my recommendation is pineapple juice, or better yet pureed pineapple. The enzymes in pineapple will assist in breaking down the connective tissue. You can marinade the bison ribs in pineapple for up to 24 hours, but if you use this on other cuts, watch the marinating time, as pineapple can turn a roast or steak into mushy meat. 

5 Spiced Bison Short Ribs Cooked with Carrots and inspired by Dr. Mark Hyman


The below cooking techniques, I have found to be very successful for Wild Idea’s 100% grass-fed/grass-finished bison ribs!


For Short Ribs:

Braising Technique: Braise ribs in braising liquid of your choice, in a sealed heavy roaster, Dutch oven or Crock Pot. Braising achieves tenderness, and keeps meat moist and juicy. If braising is done in the oven, set the oven temperature to 375° and braise for 2 to 2.5 hours, for fall of the bone tender ribs. Use less time if you want buffalo ribs to be a little chewy. Lower temperatures can also be used, but you will need to increase the time. This works well for Crock Pots or lower your oven settings of around 190°.  Adjust your time and temperature based on the poundage of product. Also, if using a slow cooker, know how yours works and heats, as each brand preforms a little differently. The bison ribs are ready when you can easily pull the meat apart with two forks, or when the meat starts to fall off the bone. Continue braising until this is achieved. Additional liquids may need to be added. After braising is complete, you can finish the bison ribs on the grill and baste with a sauce. For grill finishing, place foil over the grill grates, tucking the foil around the edges to secure, and make random slits in the foil. Preheat the grill to medium high heat. Place the braised ribs on top of the foil, and mop with a sauce of your choice. Keep the grill lid closed while finishing, turning the ribs every couple of minutes, mopping the ribs with the sauce as you go. Grill for about 6 minutes total, or until desired charred-stickiness is accomplished. For oven broil finishing, pre-heat the oven to broil, with the oven rack positioned on the second rung from the top. Cover a baking sheet with foil and place the ribs on the foil covered pan. Mop the ribs with a sauce of your choice and place under the broiler, leaving the door cracked open. Turn every couple of minutes mopping as you go until you have achieved your desired charred-stickiness.  


Foil Wrap Steaming Over Indirect Grilling: Place the bison ribs on top of 2 sheets of heavy foil. Add 1 cup of liquid, and seal the edges of the foil tightly. Place foil wrapped ribs in 500° preheated grill, close the grill lid and cook for 15 minutes. Shut off half of your grill and reduce other burners down to medium high heat, around 350°. Leave the grill open for a few minutes to allow some of the heat to escape, and move the foil wrapped ribs to the indirect heat area of the grill. Continue to cook ribs for about 3 to 4 hours, checking every hour or so and adding a bit more braising liquid if needed. Continue to steam the bison ribs until they are to your desired tenderness. Remove the foil pack of ribs from grill and drain juices from foil. Reserve the pan juices to add to your sauce or to use as a mop. Increase the grill heat to 450°. Keep the ribs on the foil and flatten the foil out. Place the ribs over the direct heat of the grill and mop with the au jus from the foil pan or sauce of your choice. Close the grill lid during cooking time, turning the buffalo ribs every couple of minutes or until desired charred stickiness is accomplished.


For Buffalo Back Ribs:

Braising or Foil Steaming: For  back ribs this is optional. But, if you want fall off the bone back ribs, I recommend it. The braising or steaming time however should be reduced down to a third of the time that is recommended above. My preference is braising for about 30 minutes in the oven and finishing on the grill as mentioned above. If you choose to just grill, they will be delicious, but they will have a little chew to them, but my guys prefer their Back Ribs this way.

Grilling Ribs: Prep your Bison Back Ribs with a little olive oil and seasonings of your choice. Allow them to rest at room temperature for a couple of hours before grilling. Preheat your grill to a medium to medium high heat, about 350°. Place the ribs on the grill and close the lid while they are grilling. Turn every 1.5 minutes. At the six minute mark, mop with a liquid or sauce of your choice and close the grill lid. Turn the ribs and repeat with the mop every minute, until the charred – stickiness you are looking for is achieved, about 4 minutes.  

Grass-Fed and Grass-Finish Cooked Bison Back Ribs and Buffalo Short Ribs


Short Ribs & Back Ribs:

Smoking Ribs: The idea and the aroma of smoked ribs can be intoxicating, but with 100% grass-fed bison ribs I do not recommend smoking solely, unless you are a skilled professional. With that said, you can get your smoke on for a similar outcome. Here’s how: Prepare your grill or smoker with wood, wood chips, or coals, and allow them to get hot and charred. Spread the wood or coal around to create a level bed, and try to achieve a temperature of around 200° to 250°. Place your grill grate a few inches above the wood or coal bed. Place your seasoned ribs directly onto the grill grates and close the lid. If the heat is too hot, extinguish by lightly spraying the coals with a bit of water. Smoke for about 30 minutes, turning the ribs one to four times during the smoking process. After the initial smoking, continue with one of the techniques above.  

There are so many other ways to prepare ribs, click for here for more Bison Rib recipes.  

I hope you find these tips and recipes helpful. If you have a technique or recipe that you have found to be successful, I would love to hear from you.  Cheers! Jill

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