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Easy Buffalo Chuck Roast Recipe
Growing up in the city I only ate meat purchased at the local market. Now I'm married to a hunter who has brought home both deer and elk. Wild game meats are different than the commercially raised beef found in supermarkets. The flavor is slightly different than beef. Commercial beef is typically fed a corn diet since it causes them to gain weight faster. I understand, it's a business and obviously they can increase their profits if each cow weighs more. I wonder if that same beef causes people to weigh more too. Hmmm.....
Wild game meats differ from commercially raised, grain fed, beef not only in taste, but also in fat content. Elk, deer, and bison are much leaner than beef raised on corn. In the figures below you'll see grass fed cows are even leaner than grain fed cows. Cooking wild game meats can be tricky at first. Since they have less fat they are easier to overcook and dry out.
Buffalo not only has less fat and fewer calories it also contains more iron and vitamin B-12 than beef, pork, or chicken. When it comes to taste some say the buffalo is slightly sweeter. In comparison to beef I'd say it's less gamey than beef. It's a shame that during the 1800's bison were hunted to near extinction for essentially everything but their meat.1 The roast I made was tender and absolutely delicious. I can't imagine letting good buffalo go to waste.
After thawing the roast in the refrigerator for a few days I removed it from the package and decided to leave the string on throughout the cooking process. Working on a time constraint I decided to rub the roast with McCormick Grill Mates® Cowboy Rub. If you are unable to find the rub in your local market here are the ingredients:
SPICES (INCLUDING ROASTED CHILI PEPPER, CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES, CRACKED BLACK PEPPER, BROWN MUSTARD, AND CLOVES), COARSE FLAKE SALT, GARLIC, COFFEE, ONION, UNREFINED SUGAR, COCOA POWDER (PROCESSED WITH ALKALI), EXTRACTIVES OF TAMARIND, EXTRACTIVES OF PAPRIKA, AND NATURAL HICKORY SMOKE FLAVOR.
Since I knew the majority of my braising liquid would be water I added a little extra salt and pepper to the mix. Over medium high heat I browned each side in a little olive oil in the tall stock pot I would cook it in. This roast could also be cooked in a crock-pot, but I would still recommend browning the sides on the stove first. The carmelization of the roast will give the gravy a heartier flavor.
When all sides were browned I added a partial box of chicken stock from the refrigerator and covered the rest of meat with water. The chicken stock was added so it wouldn't go bad in the refrigerator. This roast could have been braised in water alone. I covered the pot, turned the burner to medium-low, and let it simmer for 5 hours. The benefit to braising meat is that it is virtually impossible to overcook or dry out. If this roast were left in a crock-pot on low for the length of a workday it would still turn out delicious.
A fork inserted into the roast let me know it was tender and ready to be removed from the pot. On a cutting board I removed the string and allowed the roast to rest for 10 minutes before cutting it. Meat should always rest before it is cut to prevent the juices from running out. If meat is cut too soon it will end up dry.
While the meat was resting I turned the heat up to boil and added some sliced carrots. In another pot I added some potatoes to salted boiling water. When the carrots were almost done I combined some of the cooking liquid with 1/4 cup or more of flour to make a slurry. The flour slurry was added back to the pot to thicken the gravy. Adjust the amount of flour for the thickness of gravy you desire. For thicker gravy add more flour, for thinner add less. Remember, the liquid has to boil before the degree of thickness can be determined.
I sliced the roast and put it back in the pot with the carrots to keep it warm. It was the perfect easy dinner for a cold winter day.
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