Tatanka: The American Bison


A history of a forgotten beast, the appreciation of a beautiful bovine, the reintroduction of an inherent native. The primitive appearance of the American Bison has long been wiped from the majority of our populations memories. My earliest recollection of the animal is largely constructed of scenes from the movie “Dances With Wolves.”
Currently living in a society in which hunting as a sport is almost a religion, I am happy to see that many of the hunters that are annually stalking prey, create a large percentage of the population that is fighting for conservation of the locally native bovine. Due to a early nineteenth century commercial slaughter which led the Bison population to near extinction , most (if not all) of the Bison seen in the Midwest are now raised on farms or kennels. It just so happens that such a place is located within a couple of miles from my stomping grounds.
Here, in Wisconsin, Bison is a local perk. The quality of flavor that is apparent in one bite of a steak, is said to come from the “sweet Wisconsin grasses” that largely makeup the cattle’s diet. The flesh has a distinct earthiness to it, masked only by the evident flavor of rich game. Each cut of meat is deep crimson in color, there is little to no fat riddled in with the flesh, yet a healthy fat cap covering each piece. I get excited in finding every cut I could have imagined from tenderloin and short rib, to ribeye and the ground product. I grab a handful of bison peices and set to work.
I had found a large bone in Roast. I decide to braise the roast and pair it with a German influenced potato dumpling for a fun play on Chipped Beef.
The Ground Bison is very learn, the crimson flesh is merely spackled with an insignificant amount of Ivory fat.
Characteristically similar to the other cuts, the New York Strip is scarlet and covered in a quarter inch fat cap.
I decide to focus my energy on the preparations of this cut and make it my Bison Focal Point. I love the natural flavor of the bison and when thinking up a dish it is important that I don’t alter the taste or coax the outcome with the addition of overpowering ingredients.
The dish that I came away with was: Pan-Roasted Bison Strip, Savory Scented Potato Pave, Oyster Mushrooms, Baby Carrots, Zucchini, Pearl Onions, Natural Reduction.
Bison has become a protein that I wish to introduce into my habitual diet.


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