I’m no steak expert, but I love a properly cooked steak every now and then. I don’t often cook steaks at home. I prefer those luxurious moments when I save up some money and head out to a fine steakhouse to have my filet mignon cooked to perfection — and, if possible, wrapped in bacon, of course.
There are times when home-grilling a fine cut of steak is part of the fun of the meal — taking the time to properly marinate the meat, searing it on a hot grill or stove and, depending on the cut, finishing the steak in the oven.
I’ve watched enough Food Network shows to know you let the steak rest after cooking. It keeps the juice from coming out and leaving you with dry and tough beef cuts.
I’ve had grass-fed Angus, beef from cattle, deer steaks and elk. But this past week, I finally got a chance to sample bison.
I just didn’t know the experience I would have to go through to get my first taste of buffalo.
It started harmlessly enough. My friend and I headed to Townsend to the Georgia Buffalo Ranch and Trading Post. The intent was to interview the owners for a story that will be featured in the June/July issue of Liberty Life Magazine, tour the facility with the photographer, buy some steaks and head home.
But, unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as easy as planned.
It never does with me involved.
It was somewhat sunny in Hinesville as we headed south. As we started getting closer to Eulonia, the weather was a bit cloudier, and you could tell some rain had already hit the pavement.
We arrive and met up with the photographer and ranch owners Troy Bivens and Sherry DiSimone. The photo session was going well, and we all went into the store as a small patch of rain came down. Waiting for a break in the weather I interviewed the owners. Once the rain stopped, we headed out to the buggy that would take us into the open range where we would photograph the free-roaming herd of bison.
That’s when the fun began!
We were on the opposite side of the 50-acre ranch in search of a momma bison that was about to give birth. Suddenly, I felt a drop, then two. I put away my work camera, looked up, and then all heck broke loose.
It wasn’t just a downpour. It was an I-can’t-see-2-feet-in-front-of-me type of rain from hell. And it was ice cold.
I looked over to the photographer, who was feverishly trying to hide his expensive camera equipment under an umbrella that looked like would soon be ripped apart by the sheer force of the wind and rain. Bivens turned the elevated buggy around and started driving us back toward the safety of the store.
The buggy’s top swayed from side to side as we churned over puddles and mud pits. Between the movement of the buggy and the driving force of the cold rain, it felt like if we went any faster we would tip over. I pictured us being spilled out onto the ground around the mud and bison patties. The bison, however, obviously had more sense than us, as they all fled just moments before the rain started.
By the time we made our way inside the store, there wasn’t anything dry left on us. The photographer walked in looking for a dry towel to wipe the cameras. The umbrella was nowhere to be found.
Honestly, at this point, all we could do was laugh. We talked a little more, and I bought two New York cuts of bison and a bison tenderloin steak. The owners gave me cooking instructions, and my friend and I sloshed our way back to my cloth-seated car and left. (Nope, I didn’t have a towel in the car. Yes, I keep one in the car now).
The following evening, I sprinkled the steaks with a little salt and pepper and let them marinate for a bit. Instead of using oil, I melted some butter into my cast-iron skillet, threw in a sprig of rosemary and had the temperature on high as instructed.
I seared each side for about 2½ minutes, constantly drizzling the butter over the top of the steak and rosemary. Then, I turned off the heat and placed the steaks on a plate to stand for five minutes.
The meal was for me and my two steak-loving parents, and everyone was anxiously waiting for the first bite.
It was divine. The bison was the perfect medium rare, and the tenderloin was so tender, it cut with a fork. Not a word was spoken until the very end of the meal. My dad looked at me and said, “Oh, yeah.”
I nodded in agreement and glanced out the patio to see my sneakers still drying out from the day before. This meal was definitely worth being stuck in a tsunami.
Today happens to be National Prime Rib Day for you carnivores. It is another cut of beef that I happen to love cooked almost rare and at a fine eating establishment. Topped off with some au jus and raw horseradish — yummy.
By the way, the baby bison was born that day after the storm. And I am ready to go back and get some more bison, but I’ll be checking the weather reports before I do.
Read more about the Georgia Buffalo Ranch and Trading post in the June/July Issue of Liberty Life.