What Is a Bison Burrito?

B. Chisholm

A bison burrito is a savory dish made up of bison meat wrapped in a soft tortilla, which is a traditional Mexican flat bread. Various accompaniments may be added to the bison burrito, including rice, beans, shredded lettuce, tomato, chili, guacamole and sour cream. Recipes differ from cook to cook, from the added ingredients to the cooking of the bison meat, according to personal preference.

A bowl of sour cream, which is often used in bison burritos.
A bowl of sour cream, which is often used in bison burritos.

The bison, or American Buffalo, is considered to be the biggest land animal on the continent and, while they used to roam only as wild animals, they are now bred in many parts of the US for their meat and hides. Bison meat is considered to be healthier than its beef counterpart as it is leaner and lower in cholesterol. Roast bison can be shredded or ground to fill a bison burrito. Slow cooking of the meat when roasting tends to give a more tender result and is therefore recommended.

Tortillas, one of the ingredients in bison burritos.
Tortillas, one of the ingredients in bison burritos.

A tortilla is a Mexican flat bread made of flour, water and salt. They are best served warm and, when making a bison burrito, are wrapped around the bison and other ingredients and tucked in at one end, to allow for easy handling and eating. The name burrito is thought to be derived from the Spanish word for "little donkey" because, when folded, the burrito looks a bit like a donkey's ear.

Bison meat.
Bison meat.

Bison burritos are easy to make at home. Pre-made tortillas are readily available at most supermarkets and can be quickly heated over a pan or in the oven. If using ground bison, it should be cooked in a pan, with onion, garlic and chili. Again, recipes may differ and some cooks add refried beans, another well-known Mexican dish, and rice to the ground bison. Once the mixture is fully cooked through and any residual juices have been cooked off, a small amount can be placed in the middle of the tortilla.

Guacamole can be served with a bison burrito.
Guacamole can be served with a bison burrito.

Depending on taste, lettuce, tomato, cheese, salsa or avocado guacamole are added and the tortilla is rolled up, with one end tucked in. Bison burrito provides a healthy and slightly more gamey, or wild, option than a beef burrito. If a roast is used, this is chopped up finely, or shredded and then the same process is followed. The burrito is usually eaten using the hands but this may be too messy if the filling is very saucy.

Bison burritos consist of folded flour tortillas filled with bison meat, beans, rice, cheese and other ingredients.
Bison burritos consist of folded flour tortillas filled with bison meat, beans, rice, cheese and other ingredients.
Robust tomato salsa is a traditional accompaniment to a bison burrito.
Robust tomato salsa is a traditional accompaniment to a bison burrito.
While many American bison roam as wild animals, they are also bred for their meat and hides.
While many American bison roam as wild animals, they are also bred for their meat and hides.

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