Grilling season is fast approaching and I’m going to suggest a different, and much healthier, meat to grill this year. Bison.
No longer just for cowboys and Indians, sales of bison meat have more than doubled since 2002, and it is fast becoming the red meat of choice for many top chefs around the nation. Why? It’s not only tender (as opposed to wild meats that tend toward gamey) but it has a richer, sweeter flavor than beef. Perfect for marinading and grilling.
Eating healthier? A single serving of bison also provides much of your daily protein, iron and zinc requirements, plus most of the antioxidant selenium. Best yet, it’s extremely low in fat, containing about 1/3-less fat than beef. A single 3.5 oz serving of bison contains only 2.4 grams of fat. The same size serving of beef has almost 9.3 grams. Pork weighs in at 9.7 grams, and that healthy, skinless chicken you’ve been choking down has 7.4 grams.
And for the really health conscious, bison is all natural without any growth hormones, steroids, or drugs. (Which is more than we can say for certain MLB stars.)
You can find bison meat at almost all natural food stores, and in a growing number of traditional supermarkets and butchers. Or order online (and get more info) at bisoncentral.com.
Below are some great bison recipes to get you started, and keep in mind, since it has such a low fat content, bison meat cooks very quickly. Cook it slowly at a lower temperature than you would beef, and serve it rare to medium rare.
And if you’re around Rapid City, South Dakota July 24-28, head over to the International Bison Conference presented by Silver Oak Cellars. I’m sure you can pick up some more great recipes. www.ibc2007.com for more info.
• 1 pound Bison sirloin
• 2 medium zucchini or yellow squash
• 1 large red bell pepper
• 1 large onion, quartered
• 8 mushrooms
• 8 cherry tomatoes
• 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce
• 1/2 cup vegetable oil
• 1 cup dry white wine
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
Cut Bison sirloin into 1 1/2 inch cubes and place in a glass bowl. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over cubed Bison. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate refrigerated for 8-24 hours.
Cut squash and red bell pepper into 1/2 inch slices. Alternate meat, squash, pepper, onion and mushrooms on each of 8 skewers, ending each skewer with a cherry tomato. Grill, covered, 4-6 inches above medium hot coals for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally and brushing with the remaining marinade mixture. Serve on a bed of rice.
Makes four servings.
Teriyaki Bison Steak
• 1 1/2 lbs. Bison Steak (round or sirloin)
• 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
• 1 tsp. ground ginger
• 2 tbsp. brown sugar
• 2 tbsp. lemon juice
• 2 tbsp. salad oil
• 1 tbsp. instant minced onion
• 1/4 tsp. pepper
Combine soy sauce, garlic, brown sugar, lemon juice, oil, onion and pepper. Pour over steak, cover and refrigerate for 6 hours, or overnight. Lift steak from marinade and drain briefly (save the marinade). Place on barbecue and cook for 6 minutes, turning once and basting with reserve marinade.
• 2 each 8-10 oz. Bison strip steak
• Salt and pepper to taste
Spicy Red Onion Marmalade
• 5 red onions, medium
• 1 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 Tablespoon red curry paste
• 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk
• 1 Tablespoon garlic, minced
• 1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
Season bison strip steak with salt and black pepper generously on both sides. Place on heated grill. Cook each side for about 5 minutes to get it medium rare, or to about an internal temperature of 130 degrees. Place steak on plate and top with Spicy Red Onion Marmalade.
Spicy Red Onion Marmalade
In a sauce pot add olive oil. Add and sauté onions and garlic till translucent. Add sugar, coconut milk and curry paste. (If you don’t like spicy food then don’t add curry paste, or cut by half.) Whisk until paste is dissolved. Reduce until you have a thick glaze consistency. Fold in fresh chopped rosemary.