Bison Recipes from Tony Stallone

Tony's Thoughts: This Sunday is a great day to reflect on America's history and a good excuse for that final Sunday 4th of July barbecue. One of the things that made America great was the huge abundance of natural resources, and one abundance was cheap protein as Americans pushed across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains continuing the expansion West. That protein came in the form of buffalo, or I should say bison. Technically the American buffalo is a bison and closely related to domestic cattle or bovine; buffalo on the other hand belong to a separate species that include water buffalo, cape buffalo and oxen. At the time of our nation's founding there was believed to be as many as 30 to 70 million bison roaming our great land. As our country grew and we pushed westward, bison provided meat and clothing for the entire nation. Bison were so extensively hunted that they nearly became extinct by the late 1800's, hard to imagine! Fortunately due to conservation and the discovery of the health benefits of the nutritious meat, their herd numbers have rebounded to nearly half a million head.

Wow! Bison is the new health food, especially if you are interested in a low fat, low cholesterol but high protein and iron diet. My mouth is watering for some delicious bison hot off the grill! But before we start grilling, there are just a few more facts you should know. Bison is a wild animal, but is not wild tasting. It has a pleasingly sweet and rich flavor. Because bison is lower in fat it will cook more quickly. Some people say cook it low and slow, but on the grill I like to sear it first then turn the heat down. Only cook to medium-rare and no more or it will become tough and dried out. When seasoning before grilling, coat with olive oil first to help seal in the flavor and juice.

Now for the menu! We will grill some bison NY strip steaks. I will do them 2 ways, one coated with olive oil and seasoned with my bison rub, a simple blend of salt, peppercorns and fresh rosemary. The fresh rosemary pairs wells with bison. Next I'll prepare them in a special beer/mustard marinade, for this I am using a rich blackberry beer by Sam Adams. Again I like the pairing of wild-growing blackberries and the wild bison. I will also top both types of steaks with an spicy red onion marmalade that adds a little accent to the bison's rich flavor! We will also throw a couple of burgers on grill with rub and top with onions for a much healthier burger this holiday weekend.

Spicy Red Onion Marmalade

2 medium red onions, sliced

11/2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 Tablespoon garlic, minced
1C coconut curry sauce
1/2 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

  • 1. In a large sauté pan heat olive oil over med low heat.
  • 2. Add onions and garlic and sauté until reduced to a thick glaze consistency.
  • 3. Stir in coconut curry sauce and fresh chopped rosemary.
  • 4. Top steak with the Spicy Red Onion Marmalade (and seasonal vegetables) and serve.
  • Bison Seasoning Rub

    3T Rosemary fresh, chopped
    2T Peppercorns, Tri color or black crushed
    5T Kosher Salt

    Blend all ingredients well. Makes enough for 12 steaks. Coat 4 bison steaks with 1T of olive oil, then liberally sprinkle with seasoning and rub into meat.

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