Thursday, March 29, 2007

Eat more buffalo

My vegetarian friends, feel free to skip this post. As for us meat eaters, we need to eat more buffalo. I'll tell you why.

Soil erosion is a serious environmental issue. I know it's not sexy to talk about. You start talking about soil erosion in a bar and that person makes up an excuse to go home. You animal lovers out there can probably explain this better than I could, but buffalo have a type of hoof that is great for the soil, encouraging native grass growth that helps prevent soil erosion.

Not only that, corn-fed cattle requires pesticides and fertilizer. Buffalo don't. Buffalo are wild, and will help cut down on the crap that goes into our rivers considerably.

Buffalo is also much better for you. I love beef, don't get me wrong, but the Zombieslayer family only eats beef once a week, for we realize it's bad for you. Buffalo on the other hand is leaner than anything except fish. It's no accident that the Native American peoples who ate buffalo were some of the toughest people ever.

So why eat buffalo? As much as some people deny it, this is a capitalistic nation. Good thoughts aren't bringing the buffalo back to the plains. The dollar signs that buffalo meat bring are. Americans now consume 50,000 buffalo a year (source Time, March 27, 2007 issue). The more we eat, the more ranchers will be interested in buffalo.

So you might be wondering, how does buffalo taste? My personal opinion, better than cow. I piss off my fellow hunters when I say I think venison is just okay and cattle tastes much better. However, I'll put buffalo above cattle any day. You don't feel tired after eating a buffalo steak either.


Blogger Scott said...

It's worth a try, but I have my doubts that buffalo can come even close to beef.

3/30/2007 5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that we can even get buffalo here...

3/30/2007 5:38 AM  
Blogger lime said...

the only time i had buffalo was when i was in SD. i thought it was certainly tasty enough to eat on a regular basis if it were available. i'm no fan of beef myself and we live on venison in the house of lime since we are east coast people living in an area FULL of whitetail. I will say venison makes a really lousy hamburger so in the summer for the sake of grilling i buy beef patties. if buffalo patties were readily available i'd get them.

you make a good point about the soil erosion and promoting native prairie grasses, one i was not aware of before this. i would think another benefit of buffalo meat would be the lack of hormones or antibiotics that might be pumped into the animal of the benefits we find in venison. free range animals not fooled around with, healthier eatin'.

3/30/2007 6:17 AM  
Blogger Notta Wallflower said...

I switched to ground turkey from hamburger, and it's just not the same. But we're getting used to it. I've never had buffalo - I'll have to give it a try. Growing up, my step-dad was a hunter, so we had a lot of deer meat, which I could go without.

3/30/2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Buffalo taste okay. Interesting theory! That is definitely a creative solution to the problem.

3/30/2007 7:27 AM  
Blogger S.M. Elliott said...

OK, I'm vegan but I gotta put in my two cents here. Buffalo rocks. It's lean, it's tasty, and I don't know of any Mad Bison. I freely admit to missing buffalo stew.

3/30/2007 8:36 AM  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

You know I have had bear meat and venison but never buffalo.I dont think we can get buffalo here in WI. We eat beef more than once a week. Maybe we would benefit from trying buffalo if we could find it. I know this sounds like a stupid question but how is it labeled on the package in the store if they sell it or do you have to go some place special to get it? Thanks for the great post.

3/30/2007 11:46 AM  
Blogger yonderincarp said...

i don't know, man. you are right that buffalo is healthier and it certainly has its merits, but i have to say that when i have my steak i like it bloody and well-marbled. i haven't found bison to be as flavorful. but may not have had it prepared properly.

an interesting tidbit... if memory serves, early in American history there were forest bison in the old growth forests of new york, pennsylvania, and ohio that were even larger than the plains buffalo. unfortunately, they went the way of the buggy whip much sooner since they were closer to where we evil exploitative white men landed and wrested the red man's land from their nature loving fingers.

so when i am elected president in 2012 i will consider the possibility of returning the entire state of Nebraska to natural secondary-virgin prairie land for free-range bison, etc.

3/31/2007 1:30 AM  
Blogger tshsmom said...

I would much rather see buffalo grazing on indigenous grasses, than millions of acres of soil-depleting corn fields for ethanol!

Notta, ground turkey is GREAT for casseroles. If you want a hamburger or hamburger steak; try mixing it 50/50 with ground beef. This works great on the BBQ!

Yonderin, nobody says we can't raise beef for the occasional steak. You're right; buffalo is a bit dry, but it makes terrific casseroles, stew, stir-fry, etc.!

3/31/2007 5:58 AM  
Blogger Sadie Lou said...

Buffalo? Where do you even get it? Do I have to hunt it? Got some recipies?

3/31/2007 9:51 AM  
Blogger yonderincarp said...

TSHSMom... you're right... i suppose i can still raise an occasional cow or two for my yearly supply of fresh steak. Sold! (have some friends who did that. they raised a beautiful scottish bull with long hair and long horns. one day i showed up and it wasn't there. when i asked they said it was in the freezer.)

by the way, i remember how it spun my head when i realized that almost all of the corn on all those farms all over the midwest is field corn for cattle feed. that means that all that land use, work, etc., is going just to make food for the animals we eat. it is not even first tier industry. crazy. so if we cut down on the beef industry we have to figure out what to do with all that land and all those iowans.

3/31/2007 11:16 AM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

I agree, buffalo is good but I personally need something on it. Have had it with Saskatoonberry sauce and it was great.

Every once in a while I get beef cravings, but they are far and few between. Am a chickenvore ....I mean like chicken...

3/31/2007 12:29 PM  
Blogger Bridget Jones said...

p.s. you are so right about soil erosion. It's bad in Ontario too. Wonder how much of that has to do with bad land management practices and poor housing tract location?

3/31/2007 12:30 PM  
Blogger Michael K. Althouse said...

I'd eat buffalo. Why not? I've had buffalo jerky before and I liked it. Do they sell it at Raley's??


3/31/2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger something said...

I made the switch last year. Buffalo is friggin delicious! Whole Foods sells ground buffalo for about $5 a pound.

I have developed a pavlov tendency to start drooling at the site of buffalo.

I have been disowned by my cow farming friends, but screw them - Buffalo meat is better than friendship.

3/31/2007 5:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've never had buffalo, but I'm willing to give it a try.

If you ever get to Africa, you'll have to try the chicken or goat on a stick... I prefer the goat. Yummy!

4/01/2007 6:13 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Scott - You may be pleasantly surprised.

JD - That's a problem in too many areas. I could get it in Seattle and the San Francisco area, occasionally in SoCal, never in Texas. Not sure about the other places I've lived because I was a kid and didn't do the grocery shopping then.

Lime - The Native American group not too far from the town I'm at regularly makes money by selling buffalo burgers. They're really good.

And yes, you are right about the hormones and antibiotics. Buffalo's the closest thing to "organic" meat without having the actual "organic" label. And yes, free range animals are the best to eat out of general principle and for the environment.

Notta - I know I get a lot of fellow hunters pissed at me, but I'm not a fan of venison. I think it's okay. Turkey's good if you cover it up. My wife makes a mean meatloaf with ground turkey.

Myutopia - Yeah it is.

SME - I could cook one vegan dish and it's not that good. My wife makes a killer egglant pasta, her only vegan dish. Vegan food is more economical, and I'd like to go vegan one dinner a week, just to expand my cooking skills. Maybe that should be a resolution.

Tweety - Not at all a stupid question. There's beefalo, which is a hybrid buffalo and cattle. I've heard the offspring are infertile, but statistically, the meat is better than plain beef. The meat itself is delicious, and less gamey than buffalo.

And there's just plain buffalo. It has a slight gamey taste to it that may turn off some people. however, I love it.

If you can't find either, you may have to go to a specialty meat place to get it.

Yonder - Sounds great. You'd have my vote. I had no idea about the forest bison. It's amazing how much stuff you know.

Tshsmom - I like Yonder's idea of giving a Plains state back to the buffalo. Would be a great thing for the environment.

Sadie - Recipes are the same. Buffalo steaks should be cooked rarer than beef stakes. Medium is overcooked.

Not sure if you have a Kinders custom meats in your area. I had one in Chico and there are a bunch in the San Francisco area. That's a good place to get buffalo.

Bridget - I like chicken too. I'll have to look out for Saskatoonberry sauce. I assume it's a local thing.

Yeah, urban sprawl and bad soil management are two big causes. I'm not an expert though. There are soil majors in the college I went to, and they're the ones I'd ask.

Mike - Some Raley's have it, some don't. See if there's a Kinders custom meats around you.

Joe - Whole Foods sells buffalo meat? I had no idea. I need to start shopping there more often. The only problem with the Whole Foods by my house (the one in Walnut Creek) is always crowded and it's so popular, it's hard to get parking sometimes.

Bo - Goat is good. Goat brains, not good.

4/01/2007 9:24 PM  
Blogger yonderincarp said...

zomb... did a little insta-research on the wood bison. there is a species of bison in alaska and the canadian northwest that is larger than the plains bison. there is also a lot of evidence that there was a species called the eastern woodland bison. apparantly there is no physical evidence extant that they existed, but there are many stories of folks like daniel boone hunting them all over the eastern woodlands from the NE down to kentucky. also there are a lot of place names derived from the buffalo, bull, calf, etc. in the northeast that seem to have come from local populations prior to full colonization.

the reason it came to mind, is... i remember watching the davy crockett movies, the old disney ones and being sort of surprised that these cherokee (?) and seminole (?) injuns had buffalo headdresses on. thought that was a pretty funny cultural flub on the part of the ethnocentric moviemakers. then later was reading something that talked about forest bison in PA or something... maybe those disney folk had more going for them than thought...

interestingly, the old growth in the NE was sick. they had to hack their way through crazy underbrush in most of the NE. have read some accounts that described it almost like rainforest with parakeets, etc. there were panthers, elk, and all kinds of goodies.

anyway... pardon the babbling, but thought i would salt the buffalo conversation, maybe make some pemmican.

4/01/2007 11:18 PM  
Blogger exMI said...

The problem is that when everyone starts eating buffalo they will start raising buffalo like they raise cattle. Enclosed fields, and trough feeding because that is more cost effective. Then, because they are packed in like that, there will be an increase in disease so they will start adding the antibiotics and drugs to the foods, then the hormones and pretty soon we will just have fuzzier cows.

4/02/2007 5:39 PM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Yonder - The Northwest was all rainforest too and we managed to cut down most of it. Only a small percentage is left. The sad thing is we replaced the Redwood, the most majestic tree in the world with the eucalyptus, a worthless tree other than for allergy medicine.

the other thing about the redwood vs the eucalyptus is the redwood cannot burn. they actually depend on forest fires to open up their seeds to germinate. Eucalyptus on the other hand, you can practically sneeze on them and they'll catch on fire. They're the reason for the great Oakland fire of '91.

Tree wise, the NE is making a comeback. The sad thing is the animals aren't coming back.

And I love your babbling. You always have something neat to add. Too bad you're too far from L.A. to get on the Jeopardy show. I know from experience. I've tried, and I was too far away. I think you'd do even better than I would.

Exmi - You are correct, and that's something that Time magazine pointed out. Time though did say that you can find which buffalo places are free range and shoot, rather than kill cattle style, their buffalo. You want the ones that are free range and shot.

4/02/2007 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am willing to try it, although I am not sure were one would acquire buffalo.

4/03/2007 6:56 AM  
Blogger Logophile said...

If buffalo ever got popular enough people would start screwing around with them too. The beef of two hundred years ago is not the same as what we are finding in grocery stores today.
Now alligator, I've heard they are tasty and good for you.
The other OTHER white meat.

4/03/2007 8:04 AM  
Blogger tweetey30 said...

Well lets put it this way look at the land when there was no civilization and just the Indians roaming the country. That is what your other commenter might have been getting at but its the truth. I mean there were plenty of buffalo and those people lived long healthy lives unless they got killed or scalped by another tribe or the white people as we called them back then. its the truth and we have changed so much since then. I think it would be great seeing those big beautiful animals roaming the prairies again.

4/03/2007 8:59 AM  
Blogger The Zombieslayer said...

Bsoholic - You might have to go to a meat specialty store. Sometimes a major food store will have them, but in some weird section. Ask the meat dude.

Logophile - Never ate a reptile. Heard snake tastes good. But yes, you are right, and Time magazine mentions that we cannot allow buffalo to be raised like cattle or else you'll just have an extra hairy cow 200 years from now.

Tweety - Agreed. The Plains would be gorgeous again, instead of just corn fields.

4/04/2007 11:00 PM  
Blogger Raemius said...

We've just gone through our second freezer full of buffalo, amazing lean and tender meat. I love it!

4/10/2007 1:59 PM  

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