Buffalo was once considered an exotic protein, but has become much more available in the last ten years. 7.5 million pounds of Buffalo meat is consumed annually in the US. Many local gourmet grocery stores now carry various cuts of buffalo in their inventory. If you cannot find buffalo at your local purveyor, you can easily order it online. I like to use #D’Artagnan. The product is shipped frozen or fresh and arrives on ice within a day, depending on order date.
Buffalo has gained in popularity due to fact that it has a rich flavor similar to beef, but has reduced fat and cholesterol. It has roughly 80% less fat than beef and 22% less cholesterol in the same serving size. When cooking Buffalo, it is important not to over-cook it. Without the large amount of intramuscular fat, the meat can dry out fast and goes from beautiful to dull with even slight over-cooking. So, make sure you keep the meat medium-rare. I also like to marinate Buffalo steaks, which I normally do not do with Beef.
One of the things I love about Buffalo is that it lends itself to a number of wine pairing possibilities. While it has the richness to stand up to deep reds, it can also pair beautifully with less tannic red wines. I love to pair classic varietals, like Merlot and Cabernet Franc with it.
Merlot has a bright fruit character that seems to lift the richness of the Buffalo. The right Merlot will offer a balanced acidity that helps cleanse the palate. This creates a sensation that stimulates the appetite and opens the taste receptors.
A varietal that is even better with Buffalo is a well made Cabernet Franc. This wine has a beautiful herb perfume with spice and darker red fruit undertones. With the right aging, this wine is elegant and silky on the finish. The flavors play perfectly with the finesse of the steak. I also love our Smith Wooton Mélange with Buffalo. As a blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it brings the best of both worlds to the party.
We cook and serve Buffalo many different ways here at the CROZE Kitchen. Hanger steak has become a favorite, but we also braise Buffalo short ribs, and sear Buffalo tenderloin. I highly recommend you add this flavorful and versatile protein to your arsenal and have a blast researching wines that pair perfectly with your creations!