GOOD FOR YOU: Mclennan’s Bison Sausage


3.7 stars


Like many health conscious foodies, I gave up eating red meat years ago. I never regretted my decision—I didn’t really miss meat’s presence in my diet—I was quite content to accent my meals with other sources of quality protein; namely free-range chicken and wild fish.

Notice I said, “was”. About three months ago, something rather strange happened. I began to crave red meat—I mean seriously crave it. The long forgotten “meat-centric” meals of my childhood began to resurface in my thoughts. I hankered after the Sunday pork roasts, legs of lamb, and bangers and mash that were the mainstays of my British mother’s culinary repertoire. At first, I resisted the cravings, dismissing them as part of some inexplicable phase I was going through. However, as they persisted, I acknowledged that the body has its own innate wisdom, and if MY body was craving meat, my body must need it. In addition, as a nutritionist, I was pacified by new research indicating moderate amounts of red meat can indeed be part of a healthy diet.

To make my carnivorous re-acquaintance successful I knew I had to make a savvy choice. I wanted something tasty but nutritious, low in saturated fat, uncontaminated by hormones and antibiotics and my meat HAD to be sourced from an ethically raised animal. A tall order I know—but it was one easily filled by the folks at McLennan’s Island Meat and Seafood.  Owner Lloyd Mclennan is committed to providing his customers with a quality product—locally sourced, unmedicated, meats from pastured, ethically raised animals. When I wandered into his  Cook Street Village shop, I was tempted by an array of appealing choices, but my curiosity—and palate—were particularly piqued by  Mclennan’s house-made line of gluten free sausages. The entire line—consisting of succulent links of pork, turkey, beef, bison and lamb sausage (they plan to add elk and rabbit to the roster!)—is free of the usual starchy fillers, binders, additives and preservatives one usually finds in sausage. These tasty offerings consist of nothing but pure naturally pastured meat and aromatic herbs and spices, making them a safe and healthy choice for celiacs and those allergic to wheat, like your intrepid reviewer!

Cognizant of bison’s reputation as one of the healthiest meats on the market, I selected two plump bison links and looked forward to a delicious meal. I wasn’t disappointed—Mclennan’s bison sausage was not only juicy and tender—it had a robust flavour that wasn’t really comparable to anything I’d eaten before. For those of you who are bison “virgins”—bison’s flavour is similar to beef, but there’s a richness to it that beef doesn’t impart.  It’s not at all “gamey”, but there’s something bolder,  less “subtle” in the taste of bison.  My first meal of bison sausage was relatively simple.I fried up the links and served them with roasted baby potatoes, chard, and butternut squash topped with liberal lashings of maple syrup and butter!  With my cravings silenced and my body feeling well nourished, I avowed this would not be the last dish I prepared with bison sausage.

After all, in addition to boasting a delectable taste, bison is truly nutritious. It contains much less saturated fat than most meats, including skinless poultry!  A 3.5 ounce serving of bison yields, on average, 2.5 grams of fat. An equivalent serving of skinless chicken contains 7 grams of fat. The good news doesn’t end there—bison is also richer than most meats in protein, iron and surprisingly, heart-healthy essential fatty acids like mono-unsaturated fat and the omega-3 fatty acids normally associated with fish. It is also lower in cholesterol and calories than other meats.

Clearly, I DID make a savvy choice for my first foray back into the world of red meat. As a nutritionist and lover of  natural, unprocessed food that satisfies both body and palate, I can heartily recommend Lloyd Mclennan’s bison sausage with no reservations.


Mclennan’s Island Meat and Seafood

307 Cook Street

250) 382-3331

Victoria, BC

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