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Steer + Buffalo=Beefalo

Steer + Buffalo=Beefalo

American Bison also known as Buffalo.

Chef Clyde Serda | Chef's Blade

To the Native Americans of yesterday, the Buffalo (American Bison) was so much more than just food. They were a way of life. No animal has ever had such an impact on the lives of so many than that of the American Bison (Buffalo). To the Lakota, Cheyenne, Sioux, Cherokee and many other Indian Nations of our Great Plains Region, and to the north, every part of the Buffalo was used. The meat was used as food, the hides for clothing and shelter, the stomach and bladders for carrying and storing water, the guts and sinew for sewing and the bones were used for tools and weapons. The teeth and toenails were used to make jewelry and rattles for ceremonial dances; even the dried chips were used to build fires where there was no wood. Can you imagine riding bareback on a horse, or running alongside a Buffalo? Trying to spear or shoot two thousands pounds of fur with a bow and arrow? Caught in a herd of five hundred to ten thousand other Bison, charging at thirty miles an hour, with no fear of any living thing? It is no wonder, that to celebrate their kill, the hunter would cut open the Bison, remove the liver and eat it raw, steaming, and bloody.

The Buffalo hides were removed and staked out, then scraped to remove any tissue or fat. They were then dried in the sun. The part of the hide that covered the hump on the Buffalos back was used to make the bottom of moccasins, since it was so thick that thorns and sharp rocks couldn’t penetrate it. The meat was used in several ways. The best cuts of meat were laid out or hung to dry for future use. The lesser cuts of meats and organs were eaten fresh by roasting over open coals or stewing in clay or rawhide pots, which contained hot stones that cooked the meat. Eating and living with the Buffalo was a part of life, until they were nearly wiped out by the westward migration and settling of the New World.

When the Spanish and Portuguese explorers and European settlers came to the New World, and migrated northward and eastward, they brought with them beast of burden. Such as, the horse, cattle, pigs and sheep. Since then, the beef industry has grown to become the largest source of protein in the American diet. “Could it be our love for a great steak or juicy hamburger?”

However, in the last fifty years, the Buffalo has made a small comeback as a game food, served only in restaurants that were bold enough to do so. But, alas just a few years ago, we can remember the Surgeon General stating that “foods which were high in saturated fat could raise your cholesterol level, thus may contribute to heart disease”. A dark cloud appeared over every steak and burger joint in America. So the search was on to find a replacement for beef which has 23.5 percent saturated fat (I will only quote percentages of a 3.5 ounce tenderloin cut, other cuts may have higher or lower amounts). And what do you know? Buffalo was found to be much lower in saturated fat, only 1.9 percent. Although, it does not have as much marbling, it has a much richer flavor than Beef. It also has fewer calories, 100grams; less cholesterol 55mg and is much higher in protein at 21 percent, compared to beef with 17.7 percent protein, 23.5 percent saturated fat, 288gr of calories and 71mg of cholesterol.

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