In Buckeye just passed a series of sprawling sub divisions on Jackrabbit Trail then down Hilton Road among the farmland an interesting family operation exists called Adams Natural Meats. They run a buffalo ranch.
In my quest for healthy, delicious food with an environmental conscience those rural roots prove handy. Buffalo meat is technically an ‘‹Å”exotic-meat’ but it can be found easily at most local grocery stores. I’ve grilled up buffalo burgers a number of times with happy results. Proudly my young son’s first homemade hamburger turned out to be a buffalo burger. This time we wanted steaks, which I have never seen at our grocery store.
My wife writes for a wine and food pairing blog, and I’ve often found myself on my adventures like this. Looking for just the right ingredient or the perfect bottle of wine to pair with grilled meats. So the trip to Buckeye is just another day for us.
The Adams Family operates a tight nit shop with a manager Kristen McGuire who started work for the company a decade ago. They sell fresh buffalo meat, grass fed beef, and free-range chickens and more. The real draw is the buffalo steaks. Not that all natural meats aren’t special. Most grocers now carry some form of grass-raised beef, or free range chicken, and mega marts often even carry ground buffalo meat, but these spots don’t provide quality Buffalo steaks.
The grass-fed free-range locally raised buffalo averages 2.42 grams of fat per 100 grams. Compare that to chicken with 7.41 grams and you’ll see why I feel Buffalo is the most underrated meat in America.
Buffalo actually should be called Bison, since there is absolutely no relation to the Water Buffalo of Africa, and it is a member of the Bovine family. Bovine is a fancy word for cow. Therefore, they taste pretty much like cow’s meat just denser with a bit sweeter flavor. I’d challenge the average consumer to a blind taste test. There is nothing gamy or offensive about the meat, some might even confuse one for the other.
Cooking the steaks has an unfortunate reputation of being tricky. They are leaner than a beef steak. So like the chicken, white-meat pork, and salmon that many home cooks fix daily it is less forgiving of being over cooked.
To grill up the steaks brush them with a bit of olive oil or a few teaspoons of melted butter. The additional fat is negligible when spread out over a few servings, and this pays dividends by keeping the steak moist. Salt and pepper the steaks and throw in a few of your favorite spices. Grill the buffalo steaks up rare and let them rest for five to ten minutes. Then dig in. Its not rocket science. For Renee’s blog we paired our rib eye with a Zinfindel from California and served it with a sweet potato-cauliflower puree, and grilled vegetable ratatouille.
Adam’s sells a variety of steaks and about any buffalo product you could imagine. I recommend the rib eye for a first time buffalo consumer. It is the most forgiving being that it is a marbled cut.
Owners Mary and Bryan Adams (no relation to rock star Bryan Adams) received the beginnings of his herd of buffalo in exchange for a construction job. The family was hooked, and soon found themselves in the Buffalo Business. They’re members of the National Bison Association. A group of ranchers dedicated to the craft of raising Buffalo in an ethical manner. If and when Adam’s company gets to busy to meet the local need for Buffalo, they source meat only from other National Bison Association members.
The company store is only open from 8-2:00 on Saturdays. Other than the country store their meat is available at many local farmer’s markets (check the web calendar for more information). Also they deliver to west valley cities for all orders of 10 lbs or more for a $10 delivery fee.
Ironically, most of their business is made up from snowbirds from states where the tasty and lean meat is more common. Nearby Buckeye residents also take advantage. Even in the hubbub surrounding the new local-first movement Phoenix stays ignorant of this excellent little family business.