With grill season upon us, burgers, steaks and sausages loom large. But there’s another healthy, local option for spring cookouts: bison, from Backyard Bison in Coopersburg, just south of Allentown.

Farm owner Rod Wieder has been raising the bovines since 1999, distributing mainly through farmers’  markets, currently in Phoenixville, Oakmont, and Emmaus. Bison raised for meat are never given growth hormones (unlike cattle) and are usually antibiotics-free as well. Their meat is leaner than that of cattle, but that doesn’t translate to less flavor.

“People are surprised that it’s sweeter than beef, and is neither wild nor gamy,” Wieder says. “And it’s more tender. Bison have shorter muscle fibers, so they don’t need to be fattened up.”Wieder sells all the familiar cuts, including grilling favorites like rib eye, New York strip and filet mignon, as well as burgers, three kinds of hot dog and 11 varieties of sausage.Keep in mind that because of its leanness, bison cooks more quickly than beef and can get tough when overdone.

Originally published in Edible Philly (PDF)