When truLOCAL launched at the beginning of 2016, one of the things we were committed to from the beginning was providing our customers with the widest possible range of delicious local meat options.
Unlike other meat delivery services, which only deal in large quantities or specific products, we at truLOCAL pride ourselves on giving customers their pick of exciting options, from seasoned roasts and gourmet sausages to wild caught fish filets and a choice selection of mail order steaks.
From early on, we knew that one of the products we were most looking forward to offering our subscribers was buffalo. This is partially because we think everyone deserves a chance to enjoy the unmistakable flavour of buffalo, but it’s also because it is aligned with our values: when it comes to red meat in the Americas, it doesn’t get more authentically local than buffalo.
If you’ve never tried buffalo before, or if you’re wondering if buffalo really offers anything you can’t get from a good grass fed beef steak, here are four reasons you should include buffalo in your next truLOCAL order.
1. Incredible Flavour
There is a very good reason buffalo meat holds pride of place in many Indigenous cuisines across North America: a single morsel of buffalo meat delivers a complex flavour explosion, one that some aficionados have described as being lighter than beef but still meaty and substantial.
This is in part because buffalo, having been raised on grass ranges, is often significantly more marbled, with the fat being integrated into the meat of the cut much more fully than you would find in a grain-finished piece of beef. Some have described buffalo has having a slightly sweet scent and flavour, and because it is more delicate and less in-your-face than beef, it offers a lot of exciting cooking options.
A lot of foodies first fall in love with buffalo by trying a buffalo (bison) ribeye steak, or after being served up a slice of buffalo roast. While we’d definitely recommend our buffalo steaks to any steak connoisseur, ground buffalo and stewing buffalo are also a great substitute in any recipe that calls for beef.
This is because buffalo seasons extremely well, and unlike gamier meats like deer or moose, buffalo tends not to overwhelm the flavour of a meal. Lots of people are kept from trying new ingredients out of a fear that they won’t know how to cook them properly, or that they will somehow spoil the meat; the great thing about buffalo is that you can cook it the same way you would cook beef and still get incredible results.
That being said, many chefs recommend erring on the side of caution in terms of heat and cooking time with buffalo. Because it contains less fat and is much leaner than beef overall, it is easy to overcook buffalo. For this reason, when grilling a buffalo steak, it’s a good idea to aim for a lighter degree of doneness than you would with beef. For example, if you typically like your beef steaks medium rare, you’re most likely to hit your desired degree of cooking if you aim for proper rare.
2. A Healthy Choice
It isn’t just choice cuts like ribeye that offer great taste and a healthier balance of macronutrients; even when compared to high quality grass fed ground beef, ground buffalo offers unique health benefits. In addition to being a great source for lean protein, buffalo is also rich in nutrients, including energizing B vitamins like niacin as well as high levels of healthy zinc and iron.
This alone would make buffalo meat pound-for-pound more healthy than beef. But the benefits of buffalo go beyond the nutrient count alone. Buffalo is a lot lower in fat than beef, and it also has fewer calories per gram. This means that for people on diets, the same portion of buffalo will be significantly better than the equivalent portion of beef. In fact, it will even have less fat than an equivalent portion of chicken, making it the perfect meat to eat if you are counting calories.
It isn’t just that buffalo has less fat, however; it also has healthier fat. Dietary experts agree that one of the major health risks for North Americans comes from the trans fats and saturated fats found in a lot of pre-packaged products and fast food, and making sure you are taking in enough good fats is just as important as limiting the number of bad fats you are eating.
One of the key benefits of buffalo (a benefit it shares with grass-fed beef) is the fact that the fats it does contain are rich in Omega 3s and Omega 6s, making it a smart choice for those who are worried about their cholesterol.
At truLOCAL, we pride ourselves on delivering high quality meat shipped to your door anywhere in Ontario, Alberta, or British Columbia, and because we are so passionate about ensuring that our meat is as healthy as possible, we have sought to provide as many tasty, nutritious buffalo options as possible.
If you love red meat but you feel you need to reduce your intake for health reasons, consider switching to buffalo. Not only will it give you the protein and iron you need, its healthy fats and rich nutrients will help you get your health back on track without having to forego your favourite dishes.
3. Buffalo is a More Sustainable Option
Since the very beginning, truLOCAL has been committed to sustainability in all the products we offer. This means that we only work with farms and fisheries that are as passionate about making sure that animals are raised humanely and in ways that have an absolutely minimal environmental impact.
While we are proud to say that all of our meat is as sustainable as possible, due to its unique history in Canada, it is safe to say that no red meat is as environmentally friendly as buffalo. This is because, unlike beef or pork, buffalo is native to this land. Buffalo herds wandered the Great Plains and woodlands of Ontario and the West for thousands of years, and they are perfectly adapted to the Canadian environment.
All the buffalo included in your monthly meat box has been grass-fed and raised on a diet that closely approximates what Canadian buffalo have eaten since time immemorial. This not only makes for healthy animals and great-tasting meat, it is also important for eco-system balance.
Factory farming has had a profoundly negative impact on the Canadian environment because it removes animals from the natural conditions in which they evolved, and introduces dirty, unsanitary feedlots that are designed to maximize profits rather than improve the hygiene or quality of life for the animals. Furthermore, these feedlots pose massive waste-management challenges and can be hazardous to the communities around them.
If you want to see for yourself the difference sustainability makes, start putting your box together today and load up on delicious options like buffalo steaks, ground buffalo, and buffalo burgers. We promise that once you try truLOCAL’s fresh buffalo products, you’ll want to make them a regular part of your order!
4. Buffalo Farming is Key to Species Recovery
One of the saddest chapters in Canadian history was the decimation of buffalo herds across the western prairies during the colonial period. Once present in vast numbers across the range land of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, buffalo numbers dropped precipitously in the nineteenth century with the arrival of Europeans. At one point, this gentle giant was even at risk of going extinct.
The collapse of the buffalo population is one of the most-studied examples of human-caused species decline in history, and the good news is that it has a happy ending: after reaching a low point in the late 1800s, the population has been steadily growing over the past hundred years.
Though there were estimated to be less than a thousand buffalo in all of North America in 1902, by the end of the nineties that number had risen to 250,000. This is still a far cry from the thirty to sixty million that had roamed the Great Plains in the eighteenth century, but careful conservation efforts have brought buffalo back from the brink, and there are good reasons to be optimistic about the future of this noble species in the coming decades.
One of the things that kept buffalo from passing into history altogether is the fact that there has always been an appetite for buffalo meat. When it became clear that the vast herds had been exhausted, the push to preserve buffalo wasn’t only spurred by conservationists, but by farmers as well, who worked hard to preserve private herds and keep population stocks healthy at a crucial time.
Throughout the twentieth century, careful husbandry has kept buffalo herds growing, and the farmers who have inherited that mantel in the twenty-first century are intent on keeping the trend going. Farms like the Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, our buffalo supplier in Alberta, take pride in raising buffalo in humane and sustainable ways.
At Canadian Rocky Mountain Ranch, buffalo and elk are pastured year round and rotated between native grasses and alfalfa to guarantee not only that the animals themselves experience as natural a life as possible, but also to ensure that the meat they produce is of the highest possible quality.
If you want to support buffalo farmers in reviving this indigenous species of North America and also want to benefit personally from the flavour and health benefits of buffalo meat, here’s how to build the perfect truLOCAL box specializing in fresh, local buffalo options.
First, check out our delivery options in your province. We offer a variety of different buffalo products, but because we work so closely with particular suppliers operating in-province, what we offer will depend on what part of the country you are in. Whether you’re looking for mouth-watering buffalo burgers, stewing buffalo for a delicious summer feast, or a tasty steak to throw on the grill this summer, with truLOCAL you can get the best local buffalo meat delivered straight to your door as part of your meat box.
If you aren’t sure whether you want to commit to a full box of buffalo, why not order a personal box as a one-time delivery on top of your regular order? It’s a great way to explore all your buffalo options, and it’s also a wonderful excuse for a themed barbecue: pairing various cuts of buffalo with other foods, herbs, and ingredients that are native to your region will not only impress your friends, it will also help you explore a more locally rooted diet.
For thousands of years, humans have enjoyed the unique health benefits and incredible flavour of buffalo meat. And in 2019, you don’t have to shop at a specialty butcher or know a farmer personally to try it for yourself. With truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, you can get healthy, wholesome cuts of buffalo meat delivered straight to your door as part of your regular meat box order.
With barbecue season just beginning, find out for yourself why this delicate meat is rapidly becoming a gourmet favourite across North America by ordering grill-ready steaks and burgers, ground buffalo, and stew buffalo, as well as a range of special seasonal buffalo products.
With our intuitive truLOCAL ordering system, we make it easy for you to modify your order to include as many fresh buffalo meat options as you want. Why not start your summer on an adventurous note by including a healthy portion of buffalo in your next truLOCAL order?
July 11th, 2023