· Food For Thought
Buffalo & Bison Grilling Tips
Ok, ok we know. We’re supposed to call it “Bison” not “Buffalo”. Apparently some of you folks out there have been confusing our shaggy North American critters (The Bison) with those dopey, domestic Water Buffalos from Asia. So, it’s time for a name change.
Whatever you call it, Bison is absolutely delicious. Once you’ve tried it, you’ll come back for more. Guaranteed. There are loads of health-related arguments for eating it (which, you can find at www.bisoncentre.com.) But, in our business, the only argument that matters is that it tastes fantastic.
Here are a few things to know about buffalo, care of the good folks at Canadian Bison (www.candianbison.ca):
- What we call ‘buffalo’ is properly known as ‘bison’ but, people generally get the drift when you say ‘buffalo’.
- Buffalo meat is lower in fat and higher in iron than beef.
- Buffalo meat is similar to fine beef with a slightly sweeter and richer taste. It’s also denser and dryer.
- Buffalo meat cooks faster than beef so don’t wander away from the grill until you’re familiar with the cooking times. In general, try to cook it slowly on lower temperatures than you might be used to.
- Unless someone you’re cooking for is extremely fussy (hi Grandma!) don’t cook buffalo past ‘medium’.
As with ground beef, cook ground buffalo to 160 degrees Fahrenheit internal temperature. Bison are raised naturally without the use of growth hormones, stimulants, antibiotics or animal by-products. Again: ‘virtue’.
Before Europeans came to North America there were an estimated ten million plains bison doing their wild and woolly thing on the prairies. At the start of the twentieth century there were about 300. Good work Europeans! That’s one heavy ecological footprint. Luckily, there were a few people smart enough to conserve some animals and a breeding program was established that eventually saved the species. Thanks to those smart folks we’ve got some bison left to admire and, well… eat (what did you expect? This is a barbecue website…)