Thoughts by Richard Bleil
Some weeks ago, I bought a buffalo. Half of a buffalo, actually, from a meat locker about five hours away. As it turns out, they deliver to Omaha, but only when they have sufficient clients to do so. They tend to get out here maybe two or three times a year. By division, I assumed they would be able to deliver sometime in March or April, so I’ve been waiting. Patiently. For my Buffalo.
Buffalo is a great alternative to beef. It tastes very similar to beef, but tends to be leaner and healthier and, frankly, I think it’s more flavorful. To store half a buffalo, you need about five cubic feet of freezer space, and, as it turns out, I bought a chest freezer with five cubic feet of space.
I’m also the loneliest man in the world. Half a buffalo is about a hundred pounds of meat, so for me to eat it alone means it’ll probably take me at least a week to finish it. I specifically wanted a half a buffalo, as opposed to a quarter, so I would get all of the types of meat.
I hope I get the top half.
The variety of meats includes things like ribs, and a large variety of steaks. Naturally, you will get some of the better steaks (roasts, rib eye, sirloin, and fillets), but, of course, you’ll also get some of the more difficult steaks like round and chuck. When I was married, my so-called beloved wife and I went in on half of a cow with her parents, and I was struggling what to do with some of the tougher cuts of beef. I decided to try something kind of fun. I cut the steak into thin slices (as thin as I could get them, anyway), and cooked the steak with onions, green peppers, mushrooms, garlic, pepper, salt, crushed red peppers, and a variety of additional spices. Towards the end I cooked in Swiss cheese and served it on hoagie buns. Inspired by the steak sandwiches you can find on the streets of New York City, my wife actually liked them so much that she would periodically ask me to make them again. It was marvelous.
It’s kind of a sick pleasure of mine knowing she’ll never get them again.
So according to the buffalo guys, it should be here on April first or second. I hope they’re not playing an April Fool’s prank by saying that. It would be especially cruel if they were playing at that. But I’ll be honest; I’m also considering just driving out and picking it up. The honest truth is that I love driving, and I think it would be a beautiful drive. And driving around with a hundred pounds of dead carcass in my vehicle would be just WAY too much fun. I’m not sure if I’d make it a two-day trip with a hotel layover, or one day in a drive my friend would call a “turn and burn”.
I’m so excited, I’ve actually been getting ready for the buffalo. I bought the freezer and have kept it intentionally empty and running to make sure that it works, and I’ve even bought a meat grinder for my mixer. I can grind my own ground beef and will have enough steak that I can even try it with better cuts of meat to see if I can tell a difference.
If you’ve never tried buffalo, I highly recommend trying it. You can get individual cuts of buffalo in many meat lockers and grocery stores, and while it’s often a little bit more, it’s worth trying it. The meat has fewer calories, less fat, tends to be sweeter and I’ve found it to be more tender as well. I’m told that buffalo is also more economically friendly, less likely to deplete grasslands and produces fewer greenhouse gases. In other words, in a married couple, the cow farts like the father while the buffalo farts like the mom.
When was the last time you read a blog comparing the flatulence of parents?
I probably should mention that I have several friends who are probably grossed out right now because they are vegetarian. Clearly, I am not, but I figure that as a part of nature, we were born omnivores, so this is all part of the cycle of life. For anybody planning on becoming vegetarian, it’s important to understand that you cannot simply become vegetarian by eating more vegetables and skipping meat. Meat provides important proteins and nutrients, so to stop eating meat you have to do your research to find alternative sources of these nutrients and the quantities needed in a balanced diet as my friends have done.