As you all know, I’ve been having some beef problems lately. Shopping at the food co-op sometimes does this weird ethical conscious/healthy eater thing to me and has turned me off of big-farm, corn-fed beef, but I just can’t learn to like the grassy stuff.
Oh, and don’t worry, I’m still planning to shell out for that $30 grass-fed filet mignon, as you all ordered. Just waiting for the right occasion.
In the meantime, I decided to branch out and try the whole buffalo craze that everyone is talking about. Before we begin, a few facts about buffalo that I gathered in my research.
1- Bison/Buffalo: Same thing – well, for our purposes anyway. Bison is the correct name, and they’re not the same thing that makes buffalo milk mozzarella. But any meat you see in stores here – usually called buffalo, but sometimes bison – is just plain old North American buffalo, like from the movies.
2- On the Grass: There are no bison mega-factory-farms, so all these guys are raised on pastures, eating the green stuff (although many are “finished” on corn at feedlots, shortly before they make it to your plate).
3- This tip is from me: It’s good but it’s not cow. So don’t expect it to be. Think of it more as trying a totally new type of meat, not as a replacement for steak, because that’s just not going to work.
Full details of my dancing with the buffaloes after the jump.
So sometimes when I read mags like Gourmet they totally trick me into thinking anything upscale can sound tasty. Case-in-point: this coffee-marinated bison short ribs recipe. Yum, I figured. I love coffee, and it apparently goes well with buffalo, so why not try a spin on this rib marinade for my buffalo steak.
So I mixed together the marinade ingredients: water, coffee, salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, rosemary and Worcestershire sauce. I know, what was I thinking? It was disgusting. Just tasting it made me gag. I threw it immediately down the drain.
So at this point, I decided I really wanted to know what bison tastes like, so I wasn’t gonna invent some fancy sauce to hide the flavor. So I just salt and peppered the steak, put a hunk of butter in the pan (gotta get the fat back in that animal, somehow), and cooked it as directed, on medium-low, for about seven minutes each side. In general, everyone says to cook bison for less time than you would a cow steak.
I actually really liked it. Again, not steak-steak, but for something different, it’s got a cool texture, although not a whole lot of taste – but most importantly, none of that gamey, chewy thing going on with the grass-fed beef.
For my veggie topping, I invented up a crazy hash thing – sauteed up a russet potato, zucchini and yellow pepper, then added a few tablespoons of kimchi in there. The whole thing was fun, but I thought the buffalo needed just a little more taste, so I drizzled some balsamic on top, which actually went really well, lending just the right amount of flavor.
I’ll definitely try buffalo again – recipes, anyone?