Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Buffalo Meat, Wont'cha Come Out Tonight?

There are times like tonight when I think I might as well just go vegetarian. You know why? I had Steak-umm for dinner, that's why. Top notch meal for a future gourmet chef, wouldn't you say? In my own defense, the meal was a last resort, but really, that's part of the problem. Before I cooked the Steak-umm, I'd tried to cook Buffalo Burgers. Twice.

I don't know what it was about the package that made me pick it up. It was just this brown box in the freezer section of Trader Joe's that said "Ground Buffalo Steak Burgers", but right there and then, I knew I had to have them.

Perhaps I'm a sucker for marketing. The box, while for the most part, unappealing, did say that these were 'Grain Fed Buffalo' and 'Raised without the use of Hormones or Antibiotics.' Hmm. Well, no funny stuff injected into yon bison. That's always good. Growth hormones and the like are evil (thoughts like these are one of the side-effects of sharing an apartment with an ultra progressive vegan for four years.) Grain fed? Can't hurt. In fact, it's... it's wholesome - that's what it is. Clearly these buffalo parts came from someone else's home, where they roamed, and the deer and the antelope played (before, of course, they too were shot, killed, packaged and frozen.) And if all that weren't enough, 'Buffalo Burgers' had the added bonus of sounding either like something Fred Flintstone would eat, or George Bailey & Mary Hatch would sing about. You drive a hard bargain, Mr. Trader Joe, but you got me.

They sat in my freezer for two weeks, did the frozen yak patties. I had all sorts of reasons for not eating them right away. Once, I had no hamburger buns, or appropriate condiments. Another time, I preferred to experiment and make pasta. Still another time, I was cooking with the Goof-Monster and forced off to the side to make the salad (packaged Dole with some cukes and tomato thrown in) while she made some delicious lemony, spicy, Alfredo pasta dish (YUM!) But yesterday, with my food supply dwindling, my inner caveman burst forth. Buffalo Burgers it was to be.

Or rather, it was to be attempted. The box contained four frozen ground buffalo patties - frozen rock solid as it turned out - in stacks of two each separated by white paper. Unable to separate the two patties, I did what any normal bachelor would do. I threw a bunch of grapeseed oil into a frying pan (living on a third floor apartment, I am sans grill - something I should have considered before making this purchase), let it sit on a medium high flame for a couple of minutes, threw the two stuck patties in and... splatter, splatter, sizzle, spit, fry, fry FRY!, BURN (skin), splatter, splatter, splatter!!!!

Maybe not the best idea. My thought process was that if I could let each side fry in the oil for long enough, eventually I'd be able to split the two patties apart with ease. Not so. I tried forcing a spatula in between the two patties (while still in the pan sizzling with oil - village idiot's got nuthin' on me) and, when unsuccessful, a butter knife. No way, Jose. Those bad boys were not coming unstuck. Eventually, I burned two sides of two patties and much of my right hand. I settled for salad and a frozen pizza (which I, thankfully, baked.)

Tonight, as you might have guessed, fared little better. I had the good sense to defrost the remaining two burgers this time around, and the oil splatter was definitely lessened, but this time they were woefully undercooked. Brown on the outside, red on the inside. Grain fed E-coli, anyone? Still, I was able to salvage a few bites by nibbling around the edges, and you know what it tasted like? A hamburger. Stop the presses - can't wait to rush out and by me some more!

So, my emergency stash of Steak-Umm it was. It was edible, and... edible (I used to LOVE these things in the grammar school lunch room. What happened?) but hardly what I'd envisioned a buffalo burger to be - summer evenings on the prairie, harmonica's a-playin', and Pa in his rocking chair. Instead I got gelatinous fat, a third floor walkup, and a Honda rattling bass boost. Not surprising, because really, I should have known that the Great Tatonka in the sky would be pissed. I could have at least used peanut oil. Still, I think I'll stick to vegetable soup for a while. Easier on the hands. It's likely Mr. Flintstone wouldn't touch it, but whatever. He was a whining fatass, anyway.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous betty rubble said...

*giggle giggle*

You make a mean arrabiata sauce!

10:55 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Is buffalo so lean that you need oil to cook it? A quick blast with the microwave will free up those patties for you too. You need to watch Iron Chef a little more often I think.

9:27 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Betty: Thanks, m'am. I dunno what else to say except, Bam! Bam! Bam Bam BAM!

Brian: Funny you should mention that. I've never once watched Iron Chef in its entirety, although I've been told by a few people that it's a great show. In fact, I think it was you who told me that Mario Battalli was your hero. I'm not sure what that says about you, but I figure I'll give it a shot.

As for my method of cooking the buffalo meat... I don't know what the hell I'm doing. I just figured why the hell not? It's less likely to burn that way!

9:37 AM  
Anonymous brian said...

ok, eek. so i'm sorry you had a bad buffalo experience. you need to completely thaw the patties and then GRILL them cuz cooking burgers (of any kind) in a skillet is just lame. ask me or anyone i'm paying to agree with me. you should really grill them, but if you have to cook in a skillet cook it COVERED so the heat penetrates and cooks the inside.

One...no wait, two, I've had it twice... of the best steaks I've had in the past year was buffalo... come visit and we'll go to www.rainbow-lodge.com (except in real life, not on the web) and eat one. They are pretty pricey (for Houston) but O M G so GOOOOOOOOOOD! And look at the atmosphere, so Texan!

4:10 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

Brian - the other Brian is someone I used to work with at my previous job, and who's just as cool as you, if not more so. Thanks for the cooking tips however, and I will definitely take them into account (for those reading this: Brian #2 is a gourmet cook (seriously) and you'd do well to take his advice. He even knows how to pluck his own pigeons and create pigeon pie!!!)

9:26 AM  

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