Bison, and other stuff

We have a lovely local market that carries all sorts of not-so-mainstream foods as well as having a lovely selection of bulk foods.  I shop there not only because of the selection but because I’m supporting a local store.  They just increased their bulk food selection and they carry a really good range of gluten free products which is an additional plus.  They are my go-to-first food shopping place.  I shop at Safeway only after I’m done all my shopping at Shop-n-Kart.

Yesterday I was collecting bits and pieces for another batch of bouillabaisse inspired base for the clam chowder I make.  I make a big batch and store it in portions in the freezer and use that to add liquid/fish to my chowder.  It is SO much better than just adding water.  It takes the chowder from “oh, we’re having chowder” to “Oooo!  Chowder!”  It really makes that much difference to me.

Shop-n-Kart has a really good selection of head and tail on fish which is just what is needed for bouillabaisse.  Note to self, put in a request for orange roughy.  So I’m browsing away adding stuff to my cart as whim strikes me.  That’s the beauty of bouillabaisse.  I always check over the beef section (they carry family and restaurant packs of meat which are usually quite a bit less than what Safeway carries and can be packaged into the freezer so I can shop less often) to see if there’s a really good buy on rib steaks (my favorite), t-bone (okay but not nearly as good) or New York strip (what I usually end up with) and I noticed they have started carrying bison.  How cool is that?!  I picked out a lovely 7-bone chuck roast to barbeque.

I don’t know if you can call what I do with 7-bone chuck “barbeque.”  I smoke/bake it on a charcoal grill with all the coals pushed out to the outside edge.  It takes more coals (1½ to 2 times as many) but the result is fabulous.  Okay, I guess that’s barbeque.

I dried off the roast and rubbed both sides with finely grated elephant garlic, rosemary, thyme and cracked black pepper.  The elephant garlic grates into a paste that pretty much disappears into the meat when you rub it in.  Then I add the pepper, rosemary and thyme, rubbing it in.

I placed the roast in the center of the grill well away from the charcoal and close the lid.  The goal is to cook it to juicy tenderness, not charcoal the outside leaving the inside raw.

The first side cooks for about 20-25 minutes depending on thickness, the second side for 10-15.  It’s important to not overcook it.  The key to timing the turn and removal is in the appearance of the surface of the meat.  When the top of the roast’s outside edges starts to get shiny from rising moisture, turn the roast over.  You want to pull it off the grill just as moisture starts to pool on the top.  If you wait to long, the heat will drive all the moisture out and you’ll end up with a dry roast.

When you pull the roast off the grill, let it rest for five minutes before you cut into it so the juices have time to redistribute.

Our bison roast was beyond awesome, tender, juicy and flavorful.

I have used this same technique to smoke a rolled turkey roast for Thanksgiving.  Soak flavorful hardwood chips (I use apple or cherry) overnight.  Just before placing the roast on the grill, cover the charcoal with the soaked wood chips.  They will flavor the roast as it cooks and you’ll have delicious juicy turkey ham.