Try It, You’ll Like It

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Buffalo…they’re the stuff of Wild West legends, owners of the open plains, and occasionally the inspiration for interior decorators (see lamps, above, because it is not every day you see buffalo on a light fixture. Or maybe they’re cattle. Either way, they’re pretty unique…)

Publix–our main source of food here in Florida–has been carrying buffalo meat along with the hormone-free beef, pork, and chicken. Some of you might toss around the idea of going organic someday. My advice on hormone-free food is…if you can eat the hormones, then eat the hormones. You do not want to pay these prices. Publix didn’t even carry this stuff in some locations until very recently, and it’s around $3.50 a pound for ground beef, which seems high for something that is supposed to give me endless cheap dinner options.

My friend told me about the magic of buffalo meat. It costs about the same as the ground beef, except that it has like 50% less fat. She told me she made a meatloaf for her husband and he never knew the difference. Intrigued, I did give it a shot last week–and since I saw several shoppers poking at the stuff in curiosity, I thought I’d better post a quick review.

I recommend it, but with a few disclaimers. This would be perfect for a meatloaf. The texture of buffalo meat seems to be almost identical, but there really is very little fat, which works out great for pasta dishes or tacos and things of that nature. The ground buffalo is the same price and probably a great deal for most of your ground-meat needs. (Buffalo is also available in cube-steak format.) Just be aware that this meat would NOT work out as well for stews and burgers, in my opinion, just because it is so drastically low-fat that you would probably notice a difference in taste. A little fat is necessary for flavor, and the Maverick Ranch beef usually has just enough to keep burgers juicy without sending anyone into cardiac arrest. But if you’re looking to keep your kitchen strictly fat-free and non-greasy? Advantage: buffalo.

Everyone wants to know, “How does the stuff taste?” I tasted the corner of a plain cube steak just to see what it’s really like. Compared to beef, it has a very slight smoky taste to it, a little tang my friend described as “gamey.” Now, don’t get scared. You would never notice this in any dish where you’re using heavy seasoning–or any seasoning, really, because the taste is so remote that you could easily kill it if you’re looking for a low-fat beef imitation. Just don’t plop plain buffalo meat in front of someone and expect them not to notice the difference.

So the next time you’re drifting through Publix, looking for dinner options, I can safely say the buffalo is worth a shot. You will also look gutsy shoving other shoppers aside and tossing a package into your cart, especially since three people will ask you, “What is that stuff? Is it any good…?”

1 Comment so far

  1. Terry Howard (unregistered) on August 24th, 2006 @ 11:58 pm

    The wife is from Rapid City, South Dakota and every time I go up to visit the in laws I have to have a buffalo burger at The Firehouse restaurant downtown. I like the stuff and if she wasn’t sick of it already we’d eat it more often down here probably.



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