Buffalo gaining ground as leaner, healthier red meat

July 25, 2013 at 9:14 AM | Posted in bison, Wild Idea Buffalo | Leave a comment
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Interesting article I came across yesterday about my favorite meat, Buffalo. I left the link at the end of the post.




Buffalo gaining ground as leaner, healthier red meat



American bison were nearly driven to extinction in the late 1880s, but their remarkable comeback has allowed the likes of buffalo burgers, short ribs and tenderloin steaks to find homes on 21st century restaurant menus and kitchen tables.

No, it’s not a stampede, but the bison industry has something to hang its hat on: U.S. beef consumption has declined 25 percent since its 1980s peak to about 57 pounds per person annually. Meanwhile, demand for buffalo, aka bison, has shot up, registering six straight years of double-digit growth, according to the National Bison Association.
Sales have outstripped supply and sent prices soaring. The association reports the average price paid for a young bull carcass at the start of the year was 89 percent higher than just five years ago. At the retail level, that translates to ground bison in the neighborhood of $12 a pound.

Meanwhile, the number of bison has shown a dramatic rebound. From fewer than 1,000 animals around 1900, the U.S. herd has grown to an estimated 220,000 on both private and public lands. Bison producers are in all 50 states and include 4,400 private ranches and farms.

North of the border, the Canadian herd also is pegged at 220,000, according to the association.
Lean burgers
Buffalo burgers have been on the menu of Triangle Char & Bar since its opening five years ago, says Michael Lotz, director of operations.
“We get a lot of athletes that come in here because it’s so lean,” says Lotz, citing its 90-10 ratio of lean to fat. (That’s a moot point, since the “Home on the Range” burger also comes with cheddar cheese, bacon, a fried onion ring and French fries.) The West Ashley restaurant goes through between 35 and 50 pounds a week.

Still, Lotz is seeing its overall popularity on the rise. “The only reason we know this is because (buffalo) is a loss leader for us.” The bison costs the restaurant $2 more a pound than its beef — both are grass-fed.

If buffalo comes to be regarded as “the other red meat,” the reputation is not undeserved. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked bison weighs in with 2.42 grams of fat versus 8 grams for the same amount of select-grade beef, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data on the association’s website.

Another difference lies in the fact that it’s illegal to use growth hormones in bison. Bison usually aren’t treated with antibiotics, either.

Like beef, bison also is rich in protein, iron, zinc and vitamin B12. Furthermore, some tout bison as being a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Both bison and beef that are exclusively grass-fed have substantially higher levels of these heart-healthy fats than conventional, grain-fed beef.

Many people find the taste of bison on par with beef or better, describing a richer but “cleaner” flavor with a hint of sweetness.

“People like it, it’s well-received when we have it,” says Marc Collins, executive chef of Circa 1886 in Charleston. Earlier this year Collins featured bison short ribs on his menu.

“Unless you were looking for it and really had a discerning palate, you might have a hard time finding a difference” between the flavor of the two meats, he says.

The leanness of bison takes getting used to, Collins says. “If you like your steaks on the medium well to well side … if it’s not going to be grain-fed, you’re not going to have that extra fat to move it along.” He, like others, recommends less cooking to keep it from drying out.
Sustainable mission
Jill O’Brien is one of the faces in the burgeoning bison industry. She, her husband, Dan, and another partner are owners of Wild Idea Buffalo Company, which sells 100 percent grass-fed buffalo direct to consumers on its website, wildideabuffalo.com, as well as wholesale to restaurants and stores.
O’Brien strode across the floor of the Charleston Area Convention Center last week wearing floral-stitched, pointy-toed cowboy boots. She was in town for the American Association of Meat Processors Association conference.

O’Brien brought buffalo hot dogs to enter in the association’s annual American Cured Meat Championships. “Specialty meats,” including buffalo pastrami and buffalo summer sausage, was one of 20-some categories in the contest.

“I’m a newbie,” O’Brien said inside the exhibit hall where hundreds of cured meats of all shapes and sizes were hidden from view behind a black curtain. The smell was intense, as if the room were sealed inside a Slim Jim wrapper, and the array of bacons, hams, sausages and more was stunning.

The 50-year-old was a long way from home: Wild Idea’s ranches are in South Dakota near Badlands National Park.

The ranches support a herd of 700 bison that roam and graze over 95,000 acres, about twice the size of Mount Pleasant, and include both private and leased lands. The company was started in 1997 by Dan O’Brien as a way to keep his ranch going, converting from a cattle operation, and began with just 13 bison calves.

But the owners view their mission as something much larger than just a meat company. Wild Idea took on a partner a couple of years ago, not so much to grow the meat business “but to grow the idea of sustainability, conservation and grassland preservation,” Jill O’Brien says.

“In order to have a larger environmental impact, you need big landscapes,” and buffalo do want to roam, she says.

For she and her husband, buffalo meat is not what they produce; she calls it “a byproduct” of their desire to boost bio-diversity and help the environment.

“Our mission is to leave our little corner of the world a little better than we found it,” she says. “The bison are a tool in that change. It’s allowing enough space and room for all things not just to live, but to thrive.”

O’Brien says both of them have other jobs “to support our bad habit … or good habit, I should say.” A former restaurateur, she does freelance catering, although that is becoming less as Wild Idea’s business grows. Dan O’Brien is the author of nine books, both novels and nonfiction, and teaches writing. He has twice received an artist’s grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

“We believe in eating less meat, but of a higher nutritional quality,” she says.
Local demand rises
At Whole Foods Market in Mount Pleasant, meat team leader Roger Ducker “absolutely” has noticed growing demand for buffalo in the nine years since the store opened in 2004.
“The tonnage has increased every year,” he says. “We typically see spikes around New Year‘s and that early part of the year because so many folks make … resolutions to eat healthier. They go for the bison because it’s lean.”

They have different cuts at different times, but regularly offer popular grilling items such as rib-eye and New York strip steaks, and ground bison for burgers. As sales have risen, he says it’s allowed the store to bring in a wider variety of cuts from flank steak to filet mignon in the past few years.

“It’s a good alternative for somebody who needs the protein and needs the red meat in their diet. It’s a good source for that, it’s super-low in cholesterol, really high in iron, it drives that health-conscious customer who wants red meat in their diet.”

Buffalo won’t be on everyone’s shopping list, no matter how much they aspire to eat better. The least expensive buffalo at Whole Foods, including ground and stew meat, starts at $12 a pound and tops out at $33 a pound for filets.

Wild Idea’s buffalo meat also is “quite a bit more expensive” than conventional beef, O’Brien acknowledges. For a more equal comparison, she says the price of their all grass-fed bison should be judged against all grass-fed beef.

“We just don’t bring in anybody,” Ducker says of Whole Foods’ suppliers. “Sometimes these smaller, sustainable operations have trouble keeping up with demand and it does drive the price up.”

Reach Teresa Taylor at 937-4886.




Naturally Raised vs Organic (Wild Idea Buffalo)

July 19, 2013 at 11:13 AM | Posted in bison, Wild Idea Buffalo | 1 Comment
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Naturally Raised vs OrganicWild Idea Buffalo Buffalo-Grass
By: Henry Palmer


Now days when we peruse the aisles of our local grocery store we are hit by an onslaught of labels and tags. Two of these labels, which are appearing more and more frequently, are “Naturally Raised” and “Organic.” Both of these terms sound very appealing and should help steer the consumer towards a better product, but what do these terms really mean? A deeper look at these buzzwords is no doubt merited.

Naturally Raised

In 2009 the USDA defined the term Naturally Raised with respect to animals in the following way:1) No Growth Hormones 2) No Antibiotics –other than to prevent parasitism- and 3) no animal by products can be fed to the animals. USDA “Naturally Raised” Definition

What the USDA has chosen to include in their definition of Naturally Raised is great; however, there is a problem with what’s left out of the definition. The standard leaves out discussions of confinement and what the animals are fed – it seems everything goes as long as it’s not animal byproduct. So while this standard is certainly a step in the right direction and has closed a lot of doors that prevent producers from using certain practices, it has unfortunately still left a few windows wide open.


The definition of Organic, as it pertains to animal products, covers many of the same issues that Naturally Raised does, but once again doesn’t complete the full spectrum of animal health/best practices. According to the standard, four items must be met: 1) producers meet health and welfare standards 2) hormones and antibiotics are not used, 3) all feed must be 100% Organic, 4) animals must have access to the outdoors. USDA “Organic” Definition

Certainly the organic seal is a step in the correct direction for the food we consume, but once again it is what’s left out, or the grey areas, that present a problem. It’s great that our animals are being fed a 100% Organic diet, but is it the diet they would have chosen themselves and evolved to consume? Also, access to the outdoors is an awfully vague phrase; how often to the animals have access, what are their living conditions indoors, what type of space outdoors do they have access to? So here once again with the term Organic, we are presented with a term that doesn’t necessarily mean what we all hope it would.

At Wild Idea Buffalo Co. we are often asked about how are animals are raised and whether or not we slap such labels on our product. We do not currently label our products this way because, truth be told, we go beyond these requirements and hold ourselves to our own standards. Our buffalo is always 100% Grass-fed, 100% Free-Roaming on the land and grasses they evolved to graze 5 million years ago, 100% Hormone and Antibiotic Free, and 100% Humanely Field Harvested. We strive to treat our animals with the dignity and respect they deserve as a result end up with a exquisitely delicious and healthy meat you can enjoy with a clear conscious.



8 oz. Buffalo Top Sirloin Steak w/ Au Gratin Potatoes, Cut Green Beans, and…

June 9, 2013 at 5:09 PM | Posted in baking, greenbeans, Idahoan Potato Products, Wild Idea Buffalo | Leave a comment
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Today’s Menu: 8 oz. Buffalo Top Sirloin Steak w/ Au Gratin Potatoes, Cut Green Beans, and Baked Sour Dough Bread




Buffalo Top Sirloin Au Gratin Potatoes 006


Nice day out overall, a bit cloudy and bit more humid out. We’ve been laughing, my mom had put a Hummingbird Feeder in a tree in our front yard. In the feeder is a sweet nectar solution that is supposed to attract the Hummingbirds. Instead it’s created the biggest Yellow Jacket attraction in the neighborhood! It’s getting to the point you can hardly get around the tree, No Hummingbirds and the feeders days might be numbered. For dinner one of my favorite Wild Idea Buffalo Steaks, the 8 oz. top Sirloin. For dinner I prepared a 8 oz. Buffalo Top Sirloin Steak w/ Au Gratin Potatoes, Cut Green Beans, and Baked Sour Dough Bread.




As I said I used a Wild Idea Buffalo 8 oz. Top Sirloin Steak. I seasoned it with McCormick Grinder Sea Salt and Black Peppercorn. I pan fried it in Canola Oil on medium heat about 4 minutes on one side and 3 1/2 minutes on the other side. Came out just as I like it, medium rare. As always you just can’t find a better tasting Buffalo Steak anywhere than the Wild Idea Buffalo Steaks. they say it’s all in how they are raised, all I know is they are doing something right!

For sides I prepared a box of Idahoan Au Gratin Potatoes Homestyle Casserole. Idahoan Potato Products has many Potato products and all very easy to prepare and all are very good Potato dishes. I also heated up a can of Del Monte Cut Green Beans, which I have quite often. Love Green Beans! I also baked a loaf of Goldminer California Sour Dough Loaf Bread. For dessert/snack later some BBQ Turkey Lil Smokies Sausages. Another favorite snack of mine made by Hillshire Farms, only 80 calories and 2 carbs per serving (8 Sausages). I heated them up in Jack Daniel’s Honey Smokehouse BBQ Sauce.




Wild Idea Top Sirloin


Wild Idea Buffalo Top Sirloin Steak

Famous for their flavor, these juicy steaks are perfect for the grill. 8 oz. each.







Health Benefits of 100% Grass Fed Buffalo

Wild Idea Buffalo meat is:

* Lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than chicken or fish.
* 40% more protein than beef.
* Nutrient-dense, flavor rich, outrageously lean, and high in antioxidant Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
* 100% native grass fed – delivering 3.5x more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed bison.
* Red Meat That’s Good for You!


What is Grass-fed

Wild Idea Buffalo Grass Fed Buffalo

Wild Idea Buffalo Grass Fed Buffalo

By: Henry Palmer (Wild Idea Buffalo)

The term “grass-fed” is being used more and more often now days when discussing how certain animals are raised. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ambiguity with the use of this term and what it actually means for consumers. In addition to lose official standards around the use of the term, many ranchers also have different opinions as well on how it should be used as well.

Grass-fed: Traditionally – grass-fed means: an animal that has been raised their entire life feeding strictly on a diet of natural grass and forage. However, this is not currently the standard use of the term grass-fed and as a result has created a fair bit of confusion for consumers. Many producers use the term grass-fed, but then go on to “finish” them on grain in order to increase the animals overall weight.

Finishing: the concept of “finishing” an animal is when a producer raises their animals on a particular diet until a certain date at which point the animals are finished on grain for the last few months to help fatten them for slaughter. This has led to the use of terms such as grass-finished vs. grain-finished. An animal that is grass-finished feeds on a diet grass and forage right up until slaughter and is not fed grain during that time.
Grass-fed Buffalo
100% Grass-fed: A few producers, including Wild Idea Buffalo, choose to use the phrase 100% Grass-fed. This phrase is used to help distinguish animals that are 100% Grass-fed, because they feed exclusively on, natural grasses and forage. While 100% Grass-fed is not a universally adopted term, it is meant to help clarify exactly what the animal has consumed during its life up until the date of slaughter.

Animals that are raised strictly on a natural all grass and forage diet not only live a healthier and more humane life, but also pass on significant health benefits to the consumer. For more information about the benefits of a grass-fed diet please refer to the following article discussing the impacts in our buffalo: Wild Idea Grass-fed Buffalo vs Feedlot Buffalo.

Health Benefits of 100% Grass Fed Buffalo

January 12, 2013 at 11:11 AM | Posted in bison | Leave a comment
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Some health benefits with facts and figures on my favorite meat the Bison. Info was provided by Wild idea Buffalo. http://wildideabuffalo.com/

Health Benefits of 100% Grass Fed Buffalo

Wild Idea Buffalo meat is:

Lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than chicken or fish.
40% more protein than beef.
Nutrient-dense, flavor rich, outrageously lean, and high in antioxidant Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
100% native grass fed – delivering 3.5x more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed bison.
Red Meat That’s Good for You!
Wild Idea Buffalo Meat Nutritional Composition

Based on 100 grams (3.52 ounces) of RAW product:

Meat Source                                        Fat  Grams                   Calories                Cholesterol
WIB Ground Buffalo  92% Lean   4.60                           128                         54.8
Grain-Fed Ground Buffalo             15.93                           223                         70
Grass-Fed Ground Beef                   12.73                          192                          62
Grain-Fed Ground Beef                   15.00                          215                         68
Ground Pork                                        21.19                           263                         72
Ground Chicken                                  8.10                          143                          86
source: SDSU Analytical Labs & www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp

Wild Idea Buffalo Co. The 2012 Cooking Light Taste Test Award Winner

September 15, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Posted in bison | 1 Comment
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Came across the Wild Idea Buffalo Co. in the latest issue of Cooking Light. Great selection, check them out! Below is info about them and web site link.

Wild Idea Buffalo Co.

Preserving land for wild things has been the focus of Dan O’Brien’s life. Bringing buffalo back to their native homeland on the Great Plains has been at the center of his preservation efforts. In 1997, to help keep his small ranch going and to offer an alternative to the industrialized food system, he started a meat company called Wild Idea Buffalo. The idea was simple: supply delicious, healthy, 100% grass-fed meat to consumers interested in sustainability. The wild idea continues today because of Americans like you who care about the food you eat and the world we share.

Grassland restoration is at the core of the Wild Idea Buffalo Ranch. Our land and animal management practices are as close to nature’s intentions as possible. By caring for the land and giving the buffalo room to roam, the prairie is nurtured back to health. Grasses, forbs, and flowers flourish, providing a sustainable eco-system for all creatures great and small. Dan’s vision of large sweeping landscapes with roaming buffalo herds continues to grow and Wild Idea Buffalo Company is now affiliated with other like mind ranchers, including Native American ranchers and Nature Conservancy herds, positively impacting over 150,000 acres of grasslands.

The Wild Idea ranch is located on the Cheyenne River in South Dakota between the Black Hills and the Badlands National Park. Our 28,000 acre ranch winds along the river and borders the Pine Ridge Reservation and the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. We invite you to the ranch, to see the revitalized bison herds, and to join us at our table.
Health Benefits of 100% Grass Fed Buffalo

Wild Idea Buffalo meat is:

Lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol than chicken or fish.
40% more protein than beef.
Nutrient-dense, flavor rich, outrageously lean, and high in antioxidant Omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E.
100% native grass fed – delivering 3.5x more omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed bison.
Red Meat That’s Good for You!

Wild Idea Buffalo Meat Nutritional Composition

Based on 100 grams (3.52 ounces) of RAW product:
Meat Source Fat Grams Calories Cholesterol
WIB Ground Buffalo 92% Lean 4.60 128 54.8
Grain-Fed Ground Buffalo 15.93 223 70
Grass-Fed Ground Beef 12.73 192 62
Grain-Fed Ground Beef 15.00 215 68
Ground Pork 21.19 263 72
Ground Chicken 8.10 143 86

source: SDSU Analytical Labs & www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp


Dakota Buffalo Company

June 23, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Posted in bison, Food | Leave a comment
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For all you Bison Lovers out there I thought I would pass along some info on the Dakota Buffalo Company. They have a terrific selection of Bison Meat and reasonable shipping. Check out their site I left the link below.


Dakota Buffalo Company

We love the great outdoors and when we aren’t personally packing your shipments or answering your calls and questions about buffalo meat, you’ll find us hiking, biking, running, RVing, golfing, camping, hunting and enjoying the good life. Dakota Buffalo Company, LLC is a family owned and operated business, with each of us devoted to living a healthy lifestyle with a diet that isn’t deprived of red meat.

Dakota Buffalo Company is based in South Dakota with a business office in California. The partners, cousins Gary Colbath and Susan Roll, and Dana Chaiken, are passionate about the taste and health benefits of buffalo meat. Our families love to cook and BBQand found that when we served buffalo meat, our guests couldn’t wait to come back.Dakota Buffalo Company was born from our enthusiasm and passion, and it’s now our mission to conveniently supply high quality buffalo meat at low prices so you can enjoy it too.WHY EAT BUFFALO
Rarely is something that tastes so good actually good for you. Buffalo meat is the perfect way to enjoy all the advantages of beef without the guilty negatives. Buffalo meat is America’s healthy red meat — the one your taste buds can enjoy and allow your brain and body to feel good about it!

Unlike other so-called exotic meats, buffalo does not have that “gamey” taste. Rather, it has a full, rich, juicy flavor that is often characterized as sweet despite its low fat content. Many people characterize the flavor as like the best grass-fed beef they have ever tasted, but appreciate that buffalo meat is a healthier choice.
Buffalo meat is naturally 85-90% lean and is lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than skinless chicken, pork, beef or salmon
Buffalo has only 245 calories and 4.2 grams of fat per 6 oz. serving
Buffalo meat meets the American Heart Association certification requirements. It is also included on most acceptable meat lists for those who have cholesterol challenges (ask your doctor), and is one of the low fat meats recommended by the USDA as part of a balanced and nutritious diet
Buffalo meat is high in protein and iron, low in sodium and cholesterol
Buffalo meat is naturally gluten-free and MSG-free (Whole cut meat only, such as steaks, roasts, ribs and burgers. Processed meats such as jerky, hot dogs, brats, etc. may have trace detectable amounts.)

Buffalo meat is much healthier than beef. It fits right in with a healthy, active lifestyle and because it has less fat than beef, is better at helping you control a healthy weight.

Depending on the cut, buffalo is…
60-80% lower in fat with up to half the calories of beef
Higher in protein, vitamin B and iron, and lower in cholesterol
Sweeter and juicier, with a fresh, non-greasy taste
Much more tender with a deeper red color and less marbling
Faster to cook (due to lower fat), and should be cooked at a lower temperature
More meat per ounce after cooking, as it doesn’t shrink as much as beef does


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