Bison tomahawk on a summer afternoon

This year there is a new vendor at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market.  Buck Wild Bison is a family business that sells locally raised, humanely harvested bison meat.  It is a healthier alternative protein.  Lower in fat and cholesterol than choice beef, chicken, pork, and salmon, bison from Buck Wild Bison has become a dinner choice for my family.

Recently we had the opportunity to experience a tomahawk steak.  A tomahawk steak is a cut of the ribeye that has five or more inches of extra rib bone for presentation purposes. It’s called a “tomahawk” cut because the steak with the long bone resembles a single-handed axe.

Husband and I decided to grill our tomahawk.  He recently purchased his dream charcoal grill and was interested in doing something bigger than burgers.  IMG_0006

First be sure the steak is completely thawed.  This could take a while as our tomahawk was 2 1/4 inches thick.  Then dry the meat with a paper towel.

Set up a fire with direct and indirect cooking areas.  Husband used a drip pan of water in the indirect area to keep the meat moist during cooking.

After the coals are burning and nicely “ashed” over he added a couple of pieces of hickory at either end of the bed of charcoal.  Adding the wood is a personal preference.  Bison speaks for itself.  It is not a strong flavor, but there is definite deliciousness in the meat that does not need any help from wood or spices.

The steak was placed on the indirect heat side of the grill and the lid was closed.  At this point it is important to note that the dampers on the grill with about 75% CLOSED.  This keeps the fire from burning too hot.  Bison does not like high temperatures.  LOW AND SLOW are the watchwords here.

Husband was looking for a grill temperature of 225-235.  Since lid thermometers are notoriously unreliable, he also checked the meat temperature every 10 to 15 minutes with a Thermopen Mark IV.  Thermopens are very accurate and very reliable.  He was looking for the meat to reach a temperature of about 125.

He flipped the meat, remember still on the cool side of the grill, every second temperature check.  After about an hour the meat reached the desired temperature.  125 degrees Fahrenheit.  The meat was then moved over to the direct heat side for a sear.  The meat was seared on the direct heat side for about 3 minutes a side.  The internal temperature was now 135 F for a medium done.

Once the meat reached 135 F it was taken off the grill and covered with foil to rest about 8 minutes.

While this seems like quite a long process to make a steak on the grill…this was not any steak…and it was absolutely delicious!

While husband was outside enjoying his grill, I was inside making the rest of the meal.

At husband’s request, I made caramelized onions and mushrooms.

Caramelized onions are a delicious addition to any meal, especially bison.  They take a little time, but are worth the effort.  When I make them I always make extra.  The leftovers are jarred and put in the refrigerator and can be used all week.

Spring onions are everywhere at the market so I made a pan of those.  Choose what onions you like, slice them up, and saute them slowly in a large frying pan with some butter and olive oil.  Slow is the idea.  Stir the onions frequently in the beginning and less frequently as they caramelize.  The whole process can take 30 to 45 minutes.  Again…as with the bison…low and slow.  Amounts vary with the amount of onion, but be a little generous.  When the onions are done to your taste, sprinkle with a little Kosher coarse salt and a couple of tablespoons of a good balsamic vinegar.

The Collingswood Farmers’ Market also gives me access to beautiful mushrooms from Davidson’s Mushrooms.  They carry six different kinds of fresh, flavorful mushrooms. Try these mushrooms and you’ll never buy that box of white buttons again!  Julia Child taught me how to fry mushrooms.  There is a technique.  I’d been frying mushrooms for years, but it wasn’t until I tried Julia Child’s way that I truly experienced the earthy deliciousness of mushrooms.

Heat a skillet.  Heat up some olive oil.  Melt some butter into the olive oil.  Let the butter bubble up and then bubble down.  You’ll see what I mean when you do it.  Amounts will vary based on the amount of mushrooms.  When the butter has bubbled down, toss in your sliced or chopped mushrooms.  Stir them around until all the oil and butter is absorbed into the mushrooms.  Stop stirring and watch as the mushrooms start to glisten and release the oils.  Now stir them infrequently as they brown.  Beautiful!

I also roasted a pan of Sicilian eggplant and zucchini.  Both are plentiful at the market right now.  For this preparation I used two zucchini, one from AT Buzby Farm and one from Springdale Farm.  ( I love treasure hunting at the market!).  AT Buzby Farm has delicious Sicilian eggplant.  Those are the big round ones.  They are absolutely sweet.  No salting required.

I peeled the eggplant and sliced it.  I cut the ends off the zucchini and sliced them.  I sprayed a tray with olive oil (did you know the dull side of aluminum foil is non-stick?) and placed the vegetables on the tray.  I sprayed them with olive oil (I have a very nifty sprayer that was invented by a local person).  I also sprayed them with a new product called Liquid Aminos.  It is advertised as a natural soy sauce alternative.  I got mine at Mom’s Organic Market in Cherry Hill.  I put the trays in the oven at 350F for about 45 minutes.  Again…leftovers can be jarred for later use.

Husband and I are discovering the joys of a screened in porch along with a new grill.  The weather was beautiful.  The afternoon was quiet.  The company was lovely.  And the food was absolutely delicious!

Bison, vegetables, and a summer afternoon.  It doesn’t get much better than that.IMG_5833

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