If you love red meat but want to maintain a healthy diet, you need to get to know buffalo! American bison, also called American buffalo, is one of the most nutritious red meats you can choose. I love grilled buffalo steak for its bold gamey flavor as well as all the health-supporting nutrients this red meat offers.
How to make this easy grilled buffalo steak
The most important thing to do with this recipe is to budget your time correctly. The meat needs to sit in the marinade for a minimum of one hour (up to four hours). Then, before you start cooking, you will let the meat rest for 15 minutes before grilling.
Why should you marinate buffalo steaks?
This simple grilling recipe calls for a bison marinade made with a flavorful blend of spicy Dijon mustard, lemon, garlic and fresh herbs. The acid in the buffalo steak marinade will work to tenderize the meat. And although marinades generally don’t penetrate the surface to a degree that flavors the interior of the buffalo steak, they will flavor the exterior and add an incredible aroma during cooking as well as when the marinated meat is served.
Note that you can also use this bison steak marinade with other grilled meats including beef and lamb.
Cooking, resting and enjoying
Once your meat is marinated and ready to go, the cooking part of this recipe goes very quickly. Be sure to brush the grill with oil to prevent sticking and preheat it to medium-high before adding the buffalo to the barbecue.
Once your bison steak is grilled, it should rest for 10 minutes before slicing. The moisture in your meat – and this goes for all meats – needs time to redistribute after cooking. If you cut into it before the juices settle, the moisture will pool on your cutting board, leaving you with a dry, grey piece of meat. Resting will give you a much juicier and more satisfying steak.
Tips for cooking buffalo (or any wild game meat)
Like all wild game, buffalo steak is a little tricky to grill. That’s because the meat is quite lean. (Beef, which has a higher fat content, is more forgiving than a bison steak.)
Take note of the short cooking time
The bison steak marinade helps ensure that you’re starting with a moist and flavorful piece of meat. Cooking bison steak is a little bit different than cooking beef. Be sure to follow Annette’s grilling instructions carefully and note the short cooking time for a succulent steak every time.
Allow your grilled bison to rest after cooking
Lastly, make sure to let your meat rest. Annette recommends 10 minutes for this buffalo steak recipe. As she explains it, “If you cut hot meat, the juices will run out and you’ll be left with dry meat. Allowing it to rest and cool slightly allows the juices to redistribute into the meat fibers which means you’ll get a juicer, more delicious cut.”
Why I love this bison steak recipe
This recipe from Chef Annette Tomei is my alternative to grilled beef for a cookout with friends. But it is also a wise choice for a simple, romantic dinner. And keep in mind that this dish takes less than 5 minutes prep and only about 15 minutes cooking time. It’s about as low-stress as a dinner recipe can get!
I love the intensity of flavor and I like the fact that this bison steak recipe feels lighter than beef. This is a meal that I find energizing. And it is a supremely easy marinated bison recipe.
The only step that takes a little mastery is grilling. But follow Annette’s instructions, (she’s a former instructor at the French Culinary Institute and a fantastic cooking teacher), and you will be making bison steaks better than you ever dreamed.
And beyond great flavor, this easy grilled bison recipe has so much to offer when it comes to health. You might be surprised to learn that it’s a particularly good choice for your sexual health!
The health benefits of bison
Bison is an excellent source of lean protein. And according to Berkeley Wellness, it is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have the ability to elevate mood. (In other words, grilled bison meat is a good mood food.)
In addition, this lean, red meat is rich in libido-supporting nutrients including zinc, iron, B-12 and magnesium. Bison even made our list of The 10 Best Foods for Men. This is why I say you should bookmark this recipe for your next romantic dinner.
What to serve with bison steaks
I love serving it with asparagus when the slender green stalks are in season. Asparagus, as it happens, is also an aphrodisiac. So if you’re planning a romantic evening, take note of this winning combo.
But that’s not the only reason I like serving the spring green vegetable with this easy buffalo recipe. Asparagus offers a pronounced herbal note that pairs well with the char of grilling and the vaguely metallic tang of red meat.
Of course, you can serve the bison steaks with whatever vegetable is fresh and in season. You can also pair this recipe with any potato, sweet potato or whole-grain side dish you’d serve with a beef filet. My favorite side dish ideas include:
Greek Green Beans Salad
Olive Salad with Celery
Roasted Cauliflower Puree with Shallots
Easy Grilled Fig & Arugula Salad
Meyer Lemon Quinoa with Turmeric, Black Pepper and Basil
Easy Herb-Marinated, Grilled Buffalo Steak
- 1 lb Bison/American Buffalo Shoulder Steak or other lean cut
For the Marinade:
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
- 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 tsp Fresh cracked black pepper
- 6 Branches fresh thyme whole
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and cracked
- Whisk together all marinade ingredients except the thyme branches and garlic.
- Place the steaks in a shallow glass or steel container. Place the thyme branches on top and a cracked garlic clove on each steak. Cover with the marinade. Rub in on both sides until well coated. Cover and hold in the refrigerator for at least one hour, up to 4 hours. Allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes prior to cooking.
- Heat grill to medium-high and brush grill grates (or grill pan) with canola or grape seed oil before placing the steaks on the grill. Remove any thyme and garlic stuck to the meat; season with salt and more pepper if desired.
- Grill on medium-high heat 2 minutes then turn the steak (on same side) 90 degrees to create grill marks. Cook another 2 minutes then turn 90 degrees again; cook 2-3 more minutes (for medium-rare – 3-4 minutes longer if medium is desired).
- Remove the steak(s) from the grill and allow to rest on a cutting board for at least 10 minutes before cutting.
- Slice ½ inch slices, across the grain and present over your choice of vegetable or whole grain side dish.
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