Tens of millions of American Bison (which we usually refer to as buffalo) were awaiting the European settlers who traveled across America's Great Plains in the early 1800s. But among these settlers were trappers and traders, who thrived from the uncontrolled selling of meat and hides. And they were not the only ones killing off the American Bison. Train companies made a business out of providing tourists the chance to shoot buffalo from the windows of their coaches. These shooters slaughtered innumerable bison, only pausing to reload upon running out of ammunition. The corpses of these animals were just left out on the plain. They even had buffalo shooting contests. It is said that one person set a record by killing 120 bison in only 40 minutes. (Do the math – that's 3 per minute!) "Buffalo" Bill Cody is reported to have killed more than 4,000 buffalo in just two years. What a great contrast this is with how the Native Americans had preserved, for centuries, this great resource by hunting only for food and making use of the entire animal.
However, there is good news. Through the responsible efforts of many Americans, the American Buffalo is coming back. When I was a boy visiting my Grandparents in South Dakota, I enjoyed driving through the plains and seeing hundreds of these majestic animals. I also remember my parents eating a buffalo dinner at the restaurant at Mount Rushmore. (I had chicken or something – the idea of eating buffalo seemed too strange to me!)
What could possibly be more American than an American buffalo? Maybe an American buffalo burger! Ground buffalo meat is appearing more and more in grocery stores. Mixing butter in with the meat may seem a bit odd, but it adds a little fat, helping to bring the flavor out, and it keeps the burger from becoming too dry, as buffalo meat is very lean. (By the way, its leanness makes buffalo meat a great choice for a healthy meal!)
1 lb. ground buffalo meat
3 tbsp. butter
1 egg, beaten
1 clove minced garlic
2 tbsp. finely chopped jalapeno pepper (with most of seeds and membrane removed)
2 tbsp. finely chopped green onion
1 tbsp. dried parsley flakes
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. Lawry's® seasoned pepper (or just ground black pepper)
4 tsp. ketchup
2 tsp. horseradish
1 tsp. yellow mustard
In a small saucepan, heat the butter just enough to melt it. In a large mixing bowl, blend well all ingredients, including the melted butter, and make into four or five patties. Cover the burgers and refrigerate for about an hour. Fire up the grill, spray grill with some PAM® (or rub some vegetable oil on it) and grill the burgers on both sides just like you would grill hamburgers – that's it – all the seasonings are already in the burgers! If you do not wish to grill, just oil a pan and fry.
Copyright © 2007 Lee Griffith. All rights reserved.