By Jill O'Brien
In the midst of the massive devastation from COVID-19 there have been a few silver linings. One of those silver linings has been an increased awareness of our food supply, particularly in concern with how meat is raised and slaughtered. This awareness has brought new consumers to Wild Idea Buffalo Company, for which we are very grateful.
Our increase of customers has our inventory on a “just in time” flow, with occasional gaps of “sold out” on our most popular items. Our methods of turning 100% grass-fed/grass-finished bison into Wild Idea Buffalo Meat is a slow and respectful process, taking great care with each step along the way. From our humane field harvest, to the processing and packaging of cuts, to our customer service and shipping detail, we strive to ensure that each step is done correctly for the quality and safety of our product and our staff, so that we can continue to supply conscientious consumers with a fine, sustainably raised, healthy red meat.
We thought you might be curious to understand how the meat cut percentages break down on our bison carcasses.
Carcass = 450#
Saleable Products = 400#
Average Yield = 87%
Roasts = 11%
Steaks = 9%
Saleable Bones = 9%
Offal = 6%
Scrapes Not for Human Consumption/Zoo Food = 5%
Not Saleable = 11%
For example, on average there is about seven pounds of Tenderloin and thirty pounds of Chuck per carcass. Steaks of course are understandably very popular as they are fantastic! But, as you can see limited in quantity. Many meat companies will purchase “boxed whole steak primals” from other meat suppliers and cut into the various steak cuts, to increase their steak ratio, but because we insist on selling only products that are raised by us and our sourcing partners, and that are humanely field harvested by us, we would not do that.
As the sustainable food movement continues to grow, using ALL parts of the animal is coming back into favor and many delicacies are finding their way back on to restaurant menus.
“This is a celebration of cuts of meat, innards, and extremities that are more often forgotten or discarded in today’s kitchen; it would seem disingenuous to the animal not to make the most of the whole beast: there is a set of delights, textural and flavorsome, which lie beyond the fillet.” Fergus Henderson, Nose to Tail
We couldn’t agree more with Fergus Henderson. I have created recipes for every cut that we sell, including the kidney, heart, prairie oysters and the liver, all of which are delicious. If you are not convinced… well, you will be if you give my recipe for Liver Tacos a try. I promise you; you will love it!
I hope that you will continue to explore and try the variety of products that we offer. Our staff is always available to help you navigate through them or you can always reach out to me.
It is our great hope that the devastating pandemic will soon come to an end, but also that the growing awareness of where and how our food is raised will continue to be of importance for our health and the planet’s health. For those of you that are new to us, we are rooted in our mission of regenerating the American Great Plains prairies, while improving our food supply by bringing back the bison.
Thank you all for your support and business.
Bison Liver Tacos
Wild Idea’s Buffalo Liver is clean and rich, but it also is able to absorb the flavor of a marinade. I added a bit of adobo to my red chili sauce for a little smokiness and then offset/complemented that with a vegetable pico de gallo. It’s sooooo good!
For a super quick short cut, you could substitute purchased red chili sauce and pico de gallo.
Taco Ingredients: (6 to 8 tacos, 3 to 4 servings)
1 – 8 oz. pkg. Wild Idea Buffalo Liver
1 – onion, halved and sliced thin
1 – cup milk
1 – cup red chili sauce (recipe below)
6 to 8 – white corn tortillas
Organic Mexican shredded cheese blend
Vegetable pico de gallo
- Rinse the liver under cold water and place it in a bowl with the milk, cover and let it soak in the refrigerator for 6 to 24 hours.
- Remove the liver from the milk, rinse again under cold water and pat dry. Cut the liver pieces into smaller julienne pieces.
- Place the sliced liver in a bowl with the red chili sauce and let it marinade for 6 to 24 hours.
- Remove the liver from the red chili sauce and place on a paper towel to absorb any liquid.
- In a skillet over medium high heat add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil, a tablespoon of butter and the sliced onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until tender and slightly caramelized.
- Add the sliced liver and sauté until the liver is lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- On a flat top griddle or in a pan, drizzle a little olive oil and heat. Lightly brown the tortillas and turn. Top with grated cheese while the bottom side is browning. Remove from the griddle/pan.
- Top the tortillas with the liver and onions, Pico de Gallo and crumbled goat cheese.
For side dishes, I accompanied the tacos with a cucumber salad and sliced cantaloupe.
GRANDKIDS LOVE IT!
Kerry on May 01, 2020
In my quest to eat nose-to-tail, bison liver really helps. It is much more mild than beef--so good that I have to fight grandkids for a bite (they are 10, 8 and 3)! Highly recommend along with the liver/ground bison mix (that I happen to be eating right now).
Red Chili Sauce
3 - dried ancho chilies
3 - dried guajillo or Anaheim chilies
3 - cloves garlic
¼ - onion, chopped
2 - cups boiling water
1 - tablespoons olive oil
2 - tablespoons cider vinegar
1 - tablespoon Jill’s Mexican Seasonings or Mexican seasonings
1 - teaspoon sugar
- Remove stems and seeds from the dried chilies.
- Boil two cups of water and place the dried chilies, garlic cloves and onion in the pot, cover and remove the pot from the heat, allowing the chilies to soften for one hour.
- Return the pot to the stove over high heat, heating until small bubbles break the surface.
- Pour the liquid and the vegetables into a blender and add the remaining ingredients. Puree until smooth, adding more hot water if needed.
- Strain the red chili sauce through a strainer to remove any chili skins.
- Season to taste. Serve warm or room temp.
Vegetable Pico de Gallo
So good, you just need a spoon!
1- cup finely diced cherry tomatoes, *optional - seeds removed
½ - cup finely diced onion, white, red or green onions
½ - cup finely chopped cilantro
1 – small jalapeno pepper, finely diced
½ - cup finely diced, red cabbage
½ - cup finely diced, carrots
1 - tablespoon sugar
¼ - teaspoon cardamom
½ - teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, salt & pepper
2 – limes, juiced +
*optional: pinch of cayenne
Toss all ingredients together. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
Photo Credit: Jill O'Brien
Hi Sandra. Good question… we have winter hides turned into robes (hair on) otherwise, over the past few years we have been working with Patagonia (we make the Buffalo Jerky for Patagonia Provisions and they are equally concerned about using all the parts) to use them for the making of boots and other products. Thank you. Jill
Hi Folks! What do you do with the Buffalo hides? I know they aren’t edible, but I also realize that they are very beautiful, very warm, and much sought after as is the tanned leather.
Thank you for caring so much for both the animals and our great prairies.