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Jan 11, 2008 04:20 PM

Bison meat available in Tucson?

Does anyone know of sources for bison meat in Tucson? I'm heading to the 17th Street Market on Saturday to pick up some other things, and will check there, but don't recall them having it earlier. Any other likely sources? AJ's? Not looking for much of anything fancy, just a reasonable sources for steaks and/or ground bison. Any help would be appreciated!

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  1. First, desertsun, I'm in Phoenix (although a loyal Wildcat!) so I don't have local suggestions for you and I apologize for that. Up here, I used to get great frozen steaks -- strips and rib eye, strips were better -- from AJ's. Lately , though, they don't have them; I fear low demand is the cause -- I may have been the only one buying them. I've asked the guys behind the counter about bison, and they seemed unsure other than to suggest that they could order it for me. They still seem to carry frozen ground bison -- so does Trader Joe's. I've bought fresh bison steaks from a little store we have here at 32nd and Camelback -- top sirloin, lean but very tasty when handled right. I've also seen similar bison steak at my local Wild Oats at 40th and Camelback -- it looks good -- maybe I'll buy some tomorrow! I've also seen fresh bison steaks at Whole Foods (who now owns and will probably close my Wild Oats!). All in all, I believe as a general rule that a good local butcher can get bison for you but you may have to order a minimum amount -- 5-10 pounds? -- don't know. The frozen ground stuff is much easier to find -- TJ's, any of the markets mentioned above. I'm not wild about TJ's ground bison -- but check out their frozen grass-fed Australian beef rib eyes! The best cuts of buffalo are proving to be harder rather than easier to find recently. For years Basha's (who owns AJ's) had an annual tradition of selling delicious fresh bison -- steaks, ground -- for a week or so around early November. I didn't see it this year. I don't shop there regularly, so I might have missed it. I only wish demand for this wonderful, delicious, lean and healthy meat would catch on! Unfortunately, it's not happening -- ostrich and elk, too.

    1 Reply
    1. re: misohungrychewlow

      I think my Dad got bison at Basha's in Nov. He said they have it twice per year. He made a great pot roast out of it.

    2. You might call Jonathan's Cork Restaurant in Tucson and ask them where they get their bison meat. While it is probably a commercial vendor, they may be kind enough to order some for you if you ask.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Calumet

        Thanks to all of your for the quick replies, and while I'd prefer Tucson, I'm certainly happy to have the Phoenix tips as a good backup.

        I suppose what I was hoping for, given that a fair number of restaurants here (Jonathan's + Lodge on the Desert at least) have bison and other game meats on their menu, was that there was a good local source. That's a good idea, to just call Jonathan's direct.

        I've said for years that if I could only get good quality bison, elk and deer, that'd I've no reason to eat the inferior cow and now that I'm pursuing it, it turns out to be more difficult than I thought. Bison is such an excellent meat and even though production has stepped up significantly in the Northern Plains, it's still not widely distributed. It was rather sad, when I lived in western South Dakota, to know that while I could get frozen bison burger from a producer about 100 miles east, at the local Albertson's, that I could get Alaskan halibut for about half the cost.

        Thanks again for the tips, and if I get any further information while running around this weekend, I'll post it.

      2. I have seen them at Sunflower market, frozen, I believe, over on the NW corner of Speedway and Swan. Happy shopping.

        2 Replies
        1. re: hekelly

          Apologies for being so long getting back; an ugly little cold virus waylaid me and I've not yet gotten down to 17th Street Market yet.

          I did get to Trader Joe's and Sunflower today, and this is what I found. Both of them carry frozen bison burger patties, and Sunflower (the one at Bdwy x Pantano) also has frozen bulk burger Trader Joe's is under their own label, and you get 4 patties (total of 20 oz.) for $5.49. Got a package, but havn't tried them yet.

          At Sunflower, I got the bulk burger ($5.99/lb) and just had it for supper, in a bit of cobbled-together stroganoff. Good stuff! I like bison, and this one didn't disappoint. Very dense, doesn't cook down much and has a good depth of flavor. Both the bulk and the patties (2 lb. for $12.99, either 1/3 or 1/4 lb. patties, depending on the packaging) at Sunflower are "Tender Bison" brand, from the North Dakota Bison Cooperative ( Nutritional information and recipes are available at that website, though I didn't see any obvious link to online ordering. This is a good quality product and I'll definitely buy it again.

          Also, this month's Sunset magazine has an article on bison, and through a website in the article ( I found a supplier up in Buckeye (west side of Phoenix) that I'll look in to the next time I'm up there.

          Thanks again for the help, and as I find more sources, I'll report back.

          1. re: desertsun

            How cool! I just got home, got this week's Sunflower ad ( and guess what? Bison, bison and more bison! Check out the back page of their ad "The Great Bison Sale Is Here!" They have a wide variety of "Tenderbison" products, which I'd expect to be good, as the burger I got this week was excellent. Boneless Chuck Roast for $5.99/lb; lean ground, $4.99 ($1 cheaper than I paid for the frozen bulk); boneless london broil, $5.99; sirloin tip $6.99 and top sirloin for $8.99. Wish I had more room in the freezer right now, as I'm ready to stock up! This ad will be good Jan. 23 through Jan. 30.

        2. Stopped in at Sprouts today and they have bison on sale this week if anyone is looking for it lately. we picked some up ground and are throwing burgers on the grill later today. $4.99/lb for the ground. The also had steaks and chuck roasts.

          5 Replies
          1. re: ziggylu

            I picked up the ground bison and a chuck roast today from Sprouts. I can't wait to try this out - especially the roast!

            1. re: scorpioscuba

              No Sprouts on this side of town, but they just remodeled the Safeway nearest my home, and are now stocking fresh ground bison. Didn't check the price since I still have the stock from Sunflower, but it's nice to know it's available nearby. Is the bison Sprouts carrying the same brand that Sunflower had? The clerks at Sunflower said this was a periodic special sale, but that if it sold well, that they might be stocking it full time.

              1. re: desertsun

                The sprouts stuff is Tenderbison. Our burgers were quite good Saturday so i ran over this morning and got a couple more pounds of ground to put in the freezer. was going to get a chuck roast but they didn't have any. Still had steaks though. The sale goes through Wed.

                1. re: ziggylu

                  We made Burgers with the Bison as well and they were delicious! I'm going back to get more as well but I think I missed the sale. Shucks!

                  1. re: scorpioscuba

                    Good news scorpioscuba! As mentioned below it's on sale this week at Bashas..same price for the ground $4.99/lb. I haven't been over to have a look but assume it's comparable to what Sprouts had. My mom was jealous of our burgers so I think I'll pick some up and make burgers for our regular Sunday dinner with everyone...

          2. Basha's weekly flyer lists bison this week