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Cooking Up a Mess O' Buffalo

 I bought a half of a Buffalo and would like a cookbook or some recipes to cook all the different cuts. Do you have any recipes or suggestions on where to find a cookbook for buffalo meat?

 A.D. Livingston, author of books on venison, trout, bass, wild turkey, shellfish, saltwater fish, duck & goose, sausage, steaks, cast-iron cooking, grilling, smoking, whole grains, making fishing lures, and playing poker, says, "The American buffalo might well make the best T-bone steak I’ve ever eaten. The animal provides a rich, red meat with a slightly sweet taste."

But beyond that, he has little to say. In fact, we have looked through the indexes of nearly a dozen comprehensive game cookbooks (including Livingstone’s definitive Complete Fish & Game Cookbook) that have recipes for beaver, bear, turtle, prairie dog, raccoon, squirrel, elk, goat, muskrat, and buffalo fish, but few or no recipes for buffalo.

Unfortunately, most buffalo cookbooks seem to have died out, even as their subject is gaining in popularity. You may be able to find used copies of the following books online: The Buffalo Cookbook, Taste of Buffalo Cookbook, and Buffalo is Heart Healthy: The Cookbook of the National Buffalo Association (wicked catchy title, that!).

But thank heavens for the Internet. The Healthy Buffalo site has this to say: "Although buffalo meat is similar to beef, it needs to be prepared and cooked differently. You will find that you can interchange bison meat most of your favorite beef recipes if you follow a few basic instructions. Individual cuts of buffalo meat appear identical to beef, except in color. Prior to cooking, bison meat is dark red — almost red brown. This coloring is due to the fact that buffalo meat does not marble (produce fatty white streaks through the meat) like beef. Remember, slow and low is the key to cooking lean meat. You may cook buffalo to the same doneness that you like in beef. We recommend rare to medium. Trim your bison meat of all perimeter fat. If there is any visible fat, cut it off; do not cook the fat."

Finally, the Minnesota Buffalo Association has produced a cookbook that you can purchase for $5, and provides some sample recipes on its site.

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