Monday, March 16, 2015

Bacon-Wrapped Buffalo Meatloaf – What Have You Herd?

On paper, using ground buffalo in place of beef for something like a bacon-wrapped meatloaf is a no-brainer. It’s sustainably raised, low fat, and by most accounts, nutritionally superior to your average feedlot cow. The only problem is, it doesn’t work that well.

Most people who replace their ground beef with buffalo, in recipes like meatballs, burgers, and meatloaf, are usually disappointed. Ground buffalo is much leaner than ground beef, which is the biggest challenge. In case you’re new, it’s the fat that provides most of the flavor and moisture. Also, for whatever reason, pre-packaged buffalo is ground very fine, almost to a paste, which can lead to a rubbery meatloaf, unless you use a few tricks.

To make up for the lack of fat, we’ll not only wrap this in strips of bacon, but use some in the meatloaf mixture as well. To hedge our bets, we will also use lots of ground vegetables, and fresh breadcrumbs, which will provide much-needed moisture, and improve the tenderness.

This produces a meatloaf that really does melt in your mouth. The only dilemma you’re going to have is whether to tell your picky friends and family that this isn’t beef. Do you tell them before? Or, do you play it safe, and wait until they’re raving about it, before spilling the beans bison? Either way, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

Ingredients for 6 large portions Bacon-Wrapped Buffalo Meatloaf:
2 tbsp butter
2 strips bacon for frying in butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, cubed
1 rib celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped (any color or combo will work)
4 button mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves garlic
2 cups (not packed) fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, or 2 tsp of freshly chopped)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
*2 to 3 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
pinch of cayenne
2 lbs ground buffalo meat
7-8 strips thick cut bacon, or enough to wrap the meatloaf.

*to check for seasoning, once everything is mixed, fry a small piece of the meatloaf mixture and taste. Adjust if necessary, and recheck.

For the glaze:
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard

- Bake at 350°F for about an hour, or until you reach an internal temperature of 155°F. If desired, remove the meatloaf halfway through the cooking time, and apply a glaze.

Serve with a gravy made from the pan drippings, or use this easy mushroom sauce recipe from another meatloaf video. 


philogaia said...

Love the taste of bison but yes, awfully lean. Bacon does help that a lot.

Some years ago I made a yak meat chili to take to a gathering. Folks loved it. I didn't tell them until later that it was yak meat. Amazing how a few of them actually reversed their opinions. Sheesh. Most were just surprised they liked it. Chili folks! Chili. And I find yak delicious. Don't think I would use bison in a chili though. As you point out, too lean.

Comfort Dentist said...

OMG! now that is a work of art! its just beautiful! I came by the site for the pork stew recipe I've been fantasizing about, but I may have to do this instead now. Damn you Chef John!

Rich said...

Easily one of your best videos ever, thank you chef John!

Halli said...

The apotheosis of the "you are the blank of your blank"! I find using 50/50 mix of beef and bison works well for ground meat applications.

cdb said...

I feel like years of jokes in Foodwishes videos have all been leading to the "Meatloaf of your meatloaf" quip in this video.

Anonymous said...

I love your stuff!!! your so funny!!

Novonia said...

Would it be okay to do this with ground turkey that can also be as lean as the buffalo?

Unknown said...

I tried this recipe and it was wonderful. I was given a buffalo and it yielded about 350 lbs of meat. Do you have any tasty recipes for roasts, tenderloin, steaks, etc? I have tried many of your recipes and adjusted to my own taste after trying the original. Its fun to cook your recipes!

Jimmy Vee said...

My brother used to own a restaurant on Cape Cod, he used to add Bison to his ground beef make it more lean and add a gamey earthy taste mimicking the taste or organic and very expensive beef.

BTW I think you should use the Bison not buffalo, unless of coarse you are eating water buffalo from Africa or India.

Charging Rhino said...

Sounds similar to an experience I had with a Wagyu hamburger at an otherwise excellent steakhouse. Expecting a sublime experience made from their Wagyu steak trimmings, instead I go the most-expensive hockey-puck that I ever had the misfortune to choke-down. ...It was basically-inedible. I didn't complain out of respect for our group's host who had gone to great effort to organize the evening, BUT...

All trimmings and no meat?
The chef moonlighted repairing truck tires, and became confused?