Everyone loves burgers on the grill. This year, try something a bit different by grilling up some buffalo burgers. Ground buffalo has the same great taste as beef but less fat and is readily available at supermarkets.
By the last decade of the 19th century, the magnificent buffalo, so important to American Plains Indians, had been hunted to the brink of extinction. But today, through rigorous conservation efforts, about half a million American buffalo are being raised on ranches in the West and Midwest.
Buffalo (also called bison) feed on grasses year-round, making their meat naturally leaner than beef cattle that are fed a combination of grasses and grain. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a lean, raw 3½-ounce buffalo rib eye steak has about 35 percent fewer calories and about three times less fat than a beef rib eye of the same size. Buffalo meat also has higher levels of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids than beef.
Because buffalo is leaner, it’s important not to overcook it, which will dry it out. You can help the burgers stay moist by adding vegetables such as chopped onion and chopped jicama and avoiding bread crumbs, which can absorb moisture.
By Greg Patent, a food writer in Missoula, Mont.