Pan-Seared Bison Tenderloin with Herb Butter

A simple compound butter elevates this succulent steak into a fancy weeknight dinner.

  • Serves


  • Cook

    40 minutes


By SAVEUR Editors

Updated on December 21, 2023

For your next steak dinner, skip the beef and try this pan-seared bison tenderloin recipe with herb butter. Bison tends to be slightly sweeter and less greasy than beef, not to mention higher in protein. This recipe is adapted from one served at the Morrison, Colorado restaurant The Fort, which specializes in wild game meat and steak. Look for bison meat at a specialty butcher shop, or online from a company like The Honest Bison, which offers a wide variety of cuts. Look for citric acid at your local grocer, typically in the canning or spice section (where it is sometimes labeled as sour salt).

This recipe originally ran in our March 1999 print issue.

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For the herb butter:

  • 6 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped tarragon
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped thyme
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the tenderloin:

  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • ½ tsp. citric acid powder
  • Pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • Four 8-oz. bison filets (about 1½-in. thick)
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil


Step 1

Make the herb butter: To a medium bowl, add the butter, parsley, tarragon, thyme, and garlic and season with salt and black pepper. Cover and chill in the fridge for 15 minutes. 

Step 2

Make the tenderloin: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F. In a small bowl, whisk together the salt, citric acid, and black pepper. Sprinkle the salt mixture evenly over all sides of the filets. To a large ovenproof skillet set over high heat, add the oil. When it is hot but not smoking, add the filets and sear until lightly browned, about 2 minutes; flip and sear the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook to desired doneness, about 6 minutes for rare and 8 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer the filets to serving plates, dollop each with the herb butter, and serve.

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