Bison, or Buffalo, meat is becoming more popular and easily accessible where in years past you had to get it from specialty stores. If you haven’t yet tried bison meat give it a try. Bison has a wonderful deep beefy flavor even more than grass fed beef. Bison is lower in fat than beef and lower in cholesterol than chicken. Bison also is more likely to be organic than beef because bison are typically wild and free roaming as opposed to beef on factory farms.
The first time I had bison was years ago when I was traveling from Pennsylvania to Vermont for a training seminar for work. There was four of us in the car and we were getting hungry and since it was already getting late we wanted to stop somewhere other than a fast food joint we got off the highway to look for a nice restaurant. Now this was years before smartphones, actually I think the first flip phones just came out, so we couldn’t just open an app and find some place to eat. I was not driving so I don’t know where we end up getting off the highway. All I remember about the restaurant is that it was in a converted Victorian house with a nice wrap around porch that was enclosed with large windows to make the porch a dining room. But I digress, on the menu was a Buffalo Burger. I asked the server about it and they highly recommended it. I decided to go for it and was blown away by the rich beef flavor. Since then I was always on the lookout for bison whenever I could get it and couple of years ago one of the local grocery stores started carrying both bison sirloin and ground bison.
Now because of the lower fat content it is very easy to over cook the meat into shoe leather, so therefor you really don’t want to go past medium-rare. I give you my word that most anyone who likes their beef well-done will enjoy their bison medium-rare. So you don’t over cook the bison you will definitely need to use your thermometer.
I have read recipes that call for leaving the bison meat in a brine for up to 12 hours. I don’t feel that is necessary as long as you don’t over cook it. I also add a little extra fat before putting it in the smoker or on the grill in the form of vegetable oil.
So let’s get into the process of these steaks. Just like with any other meat take the bison out of the fridge and let them come up to room temp, about 20-30 minutes. While the meat is coming up to temp it is time to get your smoker up to temp (refer to Smoking Methods for different ways to smoke) the sweet spot for this is between 220-225
Once the bison reaches room temp and your smoking vessel reaches target temp it is time to prep the steaks. You can season these anyway you want just like beef, I believe simpler is better. I start by giving them a drizzle of vegetable oil then add salt and pepper to both sides, seriously that’s all I do. Once seasoned I insert my thermometer and set them in the smoker.
Close up your smoker,remember lookin’ aint cookin’, and wait for the internal temp to reach 120-130. Remember the trick with bbq and grilling you need to cook to a temperature not a time.
Now time to prep the glaze. Take 10 oz jar of Blackberry Preserves, 1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce and 1/2 tablespoon light brown sugar and add to a medium pot over medium heat. Whisk together and bring to a boil.
Once everything blended and boiling reduce heat to low and let the sauce reduce.
Once the bison hits 120-130 pull it out of the smoker and right into a hot pan on the stove or over direct heat on your grill for just a hot second on all sides to get a super quick sear.
After the sear remove the steaks and let them rest for about 5 minutes. YES YOU HAVE TO LET THEM REST!!! I know I say this with all meats but it is especially true with bison. It need time to redistribute the juices throughout the steaks or else you might as well chew on your shoe.
After letting the steaks rest plate them up and drizzle the Blackberry glaze over top.
Blackberry Balsamic Glaze
- 10oz Seedless Blackberry Preserves
- 1/2 cup Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 cup Worcesthershire Sauce
- 1/2 Tablespoon Light Brown Sugar
- add all ingredients to a medium pot over medium heat
- Whisk together and bring to a boil
- reduce heat to medium and let sauce reduce