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The Other Red Meat

  • Apr 10, 2009
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With summer time beginning to peak its head out, there are more than likely two certainties; one, you will most likely be outside using your grill more and two, you probably have a stronger desire to stay in better shape.  Please allow me to share an idea to kill two likelihoods, with one meat..  Buffalo!!

I was first introduced to buffalo meat (bison) about a year and a half ago by a well-known nutritionist, Sari Mellman (bison, by the way, is used synonymously with buffalo and is basically thought of as an "American buffalo", the only buffalo I have experienced). I don't believe I had even tried bison prior to that introduction. Now, it has become my meat of choice whenever I am cooking and I have ordered it every time at a restaurant whenever I have happily found it on a menu.

First off, let me assure you that bison is wonderful tasting meat in case you had the same preconception I had that it may be too gamey.  It is not! If you didn't know what you were eating, there are very good odds that you're take away may have been that you just had the most flavorful steak or burger you've ever had.  Bison is most commonly described as having a similar taste to good beef, though with a slightly sweeter and richer flavor. In fact, according to kcbuffalo.com, "Most people interviewed feel bison is the most flavorful and tender meat they have ever eaten!"

If that doesn't motivate you to try or incorporate buffalo into your diet, try this on for size.  Buffalo has less calories, fat and cholesterol than found in beef, turkey, chicken and fish! Yes, you read that correctly! Buffalo is known to be some of, if not, the healthiest meat. The USDA requires buffalo to only feed on wild grass, unlike regular beef they do not use antibiotics, steroids or hormones per the FDA and are 100% ranch raised, never on a factory farm like its beef counterpart.  The result - buffalo contains 30% more protein and 69% more iron than beef, has roughly 1/2 of the calories and 70 to 90% less fat! If you are anything like myself and have to monitor your cholesterol intake closely, you will be elated to know it has on average 50% less cholesterol than beef and get this, buffalo even has less cholesterol than chicken without the skin!

As far as preparing the bison, cook it the same way you would cook your beef, just with a closer eye. At least the first time around anyway until you get used to it, it is recommended to be cooked at a lower temperature.  Due to its lower fat content, you will find it will cook faster than beef (its deep red color is a result of its lesser fat content). The fat works as an insulator and slows down the cooking time, the less the fat, the faster the meat will cook. Other than that, do your normal thing, grill it, broil it, roast it, pan-fry it.. Because of its similar muscle groups, buffalo has the same cuts as beef. You will find rib eye steaks, prime rib, sirloin, t-bone, porterhouse, NY strip, filet, brisket, flank, roasts, filets, burgers, franks and the rest of the usual beef cuts.

Ted Turner has a chain of restaurants that features a wide selection of bison, there is nice review on here, Ted's Montana Grill by @drifter51, I am hopeful it makes it to the west coast.. As far as finding a buffalo steak at a restaurant in the greater Los Angeles area, it is slim pickings, see @jrjohnson's comment below to this review.  JR through an incredibly diligent search only found it served at Josie (where we had incredible filets for my ideal birthday dinner course), and the famous game-style restaurant, Saddle Peak Lodge.   Josie, appears to only offer the filet as a special, but looks to now have on their regular menu, Buffalo Burger and Truffle Fries (ground buffalo sirloin stuffed with Gruy√®re, caramelized onions and mushrooms).  Finding the standard buffalo burger around town is a bit more plentiful.

As far as getting it in the store, you have a lot more options, you will find it at most specialty meat markets.  They carry a decent selection at Whole Foods, which is where I get it.  To give you an idea, the buffalo NY strip there is $19.99 a pound compared to $17.99 for the beef NY strip.  For a roughly 10% premium in price, you decide whether that is not one of the better bang for the buck scenarios out there..  Hope you enjoy it!
Buffalo Sirloin Buffalo Filet Buffalo Rib-eye Buffalo Burger

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April 14, 2009
dude, I don't even eat meat but this makes me want to throw a bbq and chow down on buffalo steak. awesome review!
April 15, 2009
why thank you shinjiblue, a good bbq'd bison will bring even the most fanatical vegetarian to its knees...;-)
April 10, 2009
yes, @marlenegray please keep me posted,,, as far as whole foods goes, i have had my best luck with the rib-eye and ny strip and less so with the tougher, cheaper cut, but that was probably more due to my lack of preparation and braising (is that even a proper word, ha?)... only one time, over last xmas, the local whole foods carried filet, that was great!! The filet is expensive and does not do enough selling volume for them to carry it regularly, too much loss exposure on the unsold meat in case you were interested :)
April 10, 2009
I thought your article was very interesting. Because my husband has heart trouble, his cardiologist turned us on to buffalo about 20 years ago. (Back then I never heard it referred to as bison) It was also very difficult to find. It is becoming more and more popular at restaurants and we have never found bison gamey when eating out. I have, however, bought a couple of cuts from Whole Foods that were definitely gamey. Most of the time, however, I've had good luck, especially with ground bison burgers. It is very important, like you said, to cook it slowly so it doesn't dry out. I haven't braised bison, but you've piqued my curiosity. I think I will go Whole Foods and see what they have to offer in tougher, cheaper cuts. I'll keep you posted.
April 10, 2009
Never had buffalo meat before Ted's came to town a couple of years ago. It is terrific. We have never tried cooking it as I have not seen in markets here in Rhode Island. Oddly enough I was just reading that it was only recently that Ted's opened it's first restaurant in Montana.
April 10, 2009
This is an excellent, excellent review. While it will help you climb the ranks, don't think you can outlunch me boy. Don't even try it.
April 10, 2009
That would be sooo you to probably give me no thumbs up on the review in effort of keeping my ranking down!!! =-)
April 10, 2009
I rate with my heart. I found this review to be unhelpful. What can I say?
April 10, 2009
LOL!!! That is tooo funny!! I wanted to incorporate that into the review, but was worried that it may have gotten too long.. But yes, I have shared my excitement and appreciation for that awesome Josie's experience!!! May have to use the edit button!! Also, the round of buffalo filets we had at Nick and Toni's in the Hamptons was extremely memorable for your most aggressive wine purchase to date!!!
April 10, 2009
Nice review man... i thought you would have thrown down some props for Josie's for carrying it for your birthday last year. To refresh your memory... that was the ONLY place in town that had buffalo... and i called everyone. The manager at the Buffalo Club (Patrick i think) was kind enough to go out of his way and call Josie's because he thought they might have it. They did. The only other option would have been driving up the Saddle Peak Lodge. Wow... i've unearthed a couple more reviews here that should be written.
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Quick Tip by . October 18, 2010
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Kenny Sorosky ()
Ranked #162
I'm all about waving when a car lets me in and not giving door dings. Funny, I don't recall ever giving a door ding, yet I've received tons over the years, hmmm, who are the ones that have … more
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Bison are now raised for meat and hides. Over 250,000 of the 350,000 remaining bison are being raised for human consumption. Bison meat is lower in fat and cholesterol than beef, a fact which has led to the development of beefalo, a fertile cross-breed of bison and domestic cattle. In 2005, about 35,000 bison were processed for meat in the U.S., with the National Bison Association and USDA providing a "Certified American Buffalo" program with birth-to-consumer tracking of bison via RFID ear tags. There is even a market for kosher bison meat; these bison are slaughtered at one of the few kosher mammal slaughterhouses in the U.S., and the meat is then distributed nationwide.

Bison meat is another name for buffalo meat. While bison is technically correct, the two names are used interchangeably to denote a large, four-legged, horned animal, usually brown in color, and similar to an ox or a cow. Bison meat is very lean and has become popular in supermarkets. It contains far less calories and cholesterol than either beef or chicken.

3 oz.
           Cal      Fat       Chol
Bison          93     1.8g       43mg
Turkey       125     3.0g     59mg
Beef            183     8.7g    ...
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"The Other Red Meat"
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