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Elk, Buffalo & Beer

Elk and Buffalo are my two favorite meats. You donít necessarily have to be a hunter to enjoy those meats, as they are available from firms that raise and harvest the animals at their government inspected and approved facilities. The meats are high in protein and vitamins and have less fat and contain fewer calories than regular beef. Now I know why the Indians were so healthy until we came along.

Over the past few months Iíve grilled different cuts of Buffalo and Elk from two companies, which are listed, at the end of the article. Youíll find the meats are of very high quality, very tender, and have less of a wild game taste because of the feed they are provided in addition to their normal grazing. For grilling good cuts of elk or buffalo, I only use a little fresh cracked black pepper and some Lawryís Seasoned Salt. I never use any marinade or additional seasonings as the taste of the meats is to great to cover up with other flavors. The Lawryís tends to bring out the flavors a little more, and thatís the reason I tend to use it rather than plain salt.

I always have the grill set on high and make sure the grill is good and hot before I place the meat on it. I want to sear the juices into the meat, and not dry it out. Both elk and buffalo should only be grilled until medium rare, as youíll tend to dry out the meat and loose some of the flavor if you over cook it. It doesnít take long to grill the meat properly, so you have to keep your eye on it, donít overcook it!

For the stew meats the following is a recipe I use for a three-quart crock-pot. One pound of elk or buffalo meat cut into ĹĒ to ĺĒ size pieces; julienne 3 stalks of celery, 3 carrots, 3 or 4 red potatoes cubed and 1 medium to large onion sliced. To the pot ad one can of beef stock and two cups of water along with about Ĺ teaspoon regular salt and several shakes of ground black pepper along with 3 bay leaves and a teaspoon of Sweet Basil. Also add about 12 whole black or white peppercorns along with Ĺ oz to 1 oz. of Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce. If you cook it on low for eight hours youíll have a great meal for four people.

Iíve never been disappointed by any of the meats Iíve had from the firms listed below. I think youíll find them to be tender and flavorful if they are cooked properly. The two finest restaurants where Iíve had both the meats are the St. Jerome Hotel in Aspen for elk and the Denver Buffalo Company in Denver for Buffalo. They were both outstanding meals. I even had raw buffalo as an appetizer with lemon and capers and it was out of this world. It was so tender and sweet it almost defies description.

Now there are a lot of beers out there you could pair with dishes like this and Iíve tried many of them, but there is one that is outstanding with these two meats. Other people Iíve had over for dinner and I have concluded the finest beer to pair with these meats is: Melbourn Bros. Cherry Beer. Itís produced in the town of Stamford in Lincolnshire, England. Lincolnshire is the famous fruit-growing region in England, and the brewery is situated right in the center of the fruit-growing region and was established in 1825. They brew it with malted barley, wheat, hops, yeast, water and fresh cherries. They use airborne wild yeasts for natural spontaneous fermentation to produce the beer, which is outstanding. This beer with these dishes is like sex for your taste buds. This beer is as fine or better than the finest Belgian lambic fruit beers. Youíll just have to try it to believe it. Iím sure youíll find this beer will work wonderfully with some of your own recipes as well. They also produce an Apricot and Strawberry beer as well.

The following companies can be contacted to find out who your local dealer is, or to order directly from them. All the meat products are shipped frozen in well packaged insulated containers that are shipped next day air. Iíve never received any meat that wasnít in perfect condition when I received it.

Grande Premium Meats (Elk)
19612 US Hwy. 160
Del Norte, CO 81132
888-338-4581
www.uselk.com

Buffalo Nickel
North American Provisioner
POB 241407
Omaha, NE 68124
800-630-7363
www.buffalo-nickel.com

Merchant du Vin
18436 Cascade Ave. S., Suite 140
Tukwila, WA 98188
206-394-5951
www.merchantduvin.com

Author:
Jerry Sinkovec
photojournalistjerry@juno.com