It’s always amazing to me how far you can see in Northern New Mexico. On our ranch outside of Las Vegas (New Mexico, not Nevada) you’ll be struck by the rugged outline of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in the distance and the expansive blue skies stretching into infinity. The snow capped peaks on the horizon coexist peacefully beside the bright New Mexican sun. The ranch has a large valley running through it, and the view from above offers an aerial perspective of the Gallinas River. At this time of year, the river is often frozen and edged with snow. Large boulders dot the river banks and some of the many caves on the property can be seen from this elevated vantage point.
Also Read: Bison Meat: A Potent Sexual Health Tonic
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The First Bison To Roam In Over 100 Years
There’s 5,000 acres of land here for bison to roam freely. Many people are surprised at how soft and mineral rich the soil is, as well as the green vegetation. Although much of New Mexico is desert, mountainous regions at higher elevations enjoy a completely different climate. The landscape is dotted with small waterfalls and springs, and everything from elk to cougars call this land home. There were once as many as 60 million bison roaming American soil. They could be found across the majority of the country, even venturing north into Canada and south into Mexico. During colonial times, their population was decimated to less than 1,000. The last wild bison in New Mexico were hunted and killed over 100 years ago, in the very same area that our ranch is on.
As you enter the land, there’s an expanse of trees with a distinct gap running through the middle. This gap lent itself perfectly to a tactic used by Native American hunters to take down buffalo (a nickname now synonymous with the word bison in America). American buffalo are enormous, powerful animals and can be extremely dangerous. Smart strategies that worked in harmony with the lay of the land enabled hunters to kill buffalos while lessening the threat of casualties among their own kind. By surprising a herd of buffalo and guiding them into the thick area of trees, the huge animals would be forced through the gap, making an easy target for waiting hunters on the other side. This unique feature of the land resulted in the name Buffalo Gap.
The Unique Mystery That Is New Mexico
There are various caves on the land, as well as a mysterious and ancient adobe structure. It’s the sort of place that lets your imagination run wild with what has occurred across the vast stretches of time and space. It’s full of life and a fierce beauty that is completely unique to New Mexico. When I think of the labeling requirements for “free range” meat in stores in comparison to what life is like for bison on our ranch, it seems to me that it shouldn’t even be considered the same food, much less the same quality.
American Bison Are A Lost Keystone Species
When we released a herd of buffalo onto this land, they were the first in over a century to roam the Buffalo Gap area. It was a joyful experience for our entire team to see the buffalo gallop into the vast expanse, eventually disappearing into the distance. Buffalo were once an integral part of American ecosystems. Their hooves are shaped in a particular way that actually irrigates and enhances the soil health of the land they graze. Their rough fur helps to catch seeds and pollinate plants, and grazing animals, especially in such vast numbers, help to trap carbon in the soil where it belongs.
There’s a sense of incredible freedom on land like this, and the return of a keystone species such as the American bison promises renewal in ways we probably can’t even imagine. When I spend time at our ranch, I experience an incredible feeling of connectedness and joy that comes from somewhere deep within. They say that New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment. It’s easy to see why when you find yourself in untouched natural beauty such as this. Once you’ve seen a sunset here, you’ll find yourself never wanting to leave.
Increasing demand for bison meat means more herds of bison. This helps to increase genetic diversity - something that is desperately needed, although the species demonstrated incredible resilience when forced through an evolutionary bottleneck. There are currently around half a million bison in the United States. At Beck & Bulow, it’s a goal of ours to see their numbers increase to at least one million in our lifetime.
Bison sirloin steak is endlessly versatile, and this casserole combines all your favorite flavors of the southwest for an easy and delicious meal. I really like the texture and flavor of the quinoa in this casserole, but that being said you could easily swap it out for rice. The green chiles are a New Mexican staple (known as Hatch chiles) but you could substitute a jalapeno or leave it out entirely if you don’t want it to be spicy. Most green chiles aren’t super hot, but every once in a while you’ll get one that packs some serious heat. As always when cooking bison, we recommend cooking to medium rare at the most for the best flavor and texture.
“Once You Go Bison, You’ll Never Go Back”
If you’ve never eaten bison before, you’re probably curious what it tastes like. The simple answer is that if you like the flavor of beef, you’re going to absolutely love bison. It’s very similar, but with a slightly sweeter taste. It’s naturally leaner and more tender. It has no “gamey” flavor whatsoever. Many customers tell us that once they try bison, they’re amazed at how delicious and versatile it is - any recipe that you’d typically use beef for, bison meat will taste great in.
Free Range Bison That Roam Our Beautiful Ranch
Our bison live free range on 20,000 beautiful acres here in New Mexico, or roam freely on our carefully selected partner ranches. They are pasture raised and never administered any amount of hormones, steroids or antibiotics. These are powerful, strong animals that live essentially wild with minimal handling. There were once 60 million bison roaming North America, and we hope to see their numbers increase back to even 1 million during our lifetime. By increasing the demand for ethically sourced bison meat, we can help to bolster their population. The more people that want to purchase this nourishing and nutrient dense meat, the more farmers will be encouraged to raise bison. This directly helps to increase the number of herds which assists in providing genetic diversity for the population.
- 1 ½ pounds bison sirloin steak
- 1 cup red quinoa, uncooked
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons bison tallow, divided
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 1 roasted green chile, minced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, minced
- 3 cups chopped kale
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 cup corn (frozen is fine)
- 1 cup barbecue sauce of choice
- 1 cup Mexican blend shredded cheese
- Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and prepare a lightly greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Set aside.
- Set out the bison sirloin steak at room temperature for approximately 15 minutes. Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa and drain. Cook according to the package directions. Set the cooked quinoa aside.
- Season the bison sirloin generously with sea salt & freshly ground black pepper on all sides. Add a tablespoon of bison tallow to a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sear the sirloin on all sides until a flavorful brown crust has developed. Cook for a couple more minutes to desired temperature (the meat will continue to cook when you bake the casserole) and set aside.
- After the meat has rested for about 10 minutes, slice into bite sized chunks. Set the meat aside.
- Add the rest of the tallow into the skillet as needed to sauté the onion and roasted green chile together. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is tender and fragrant. Add in the minced garlic and chopped kale. Cook just until the kale starts to wilt slightly.
- Stir in the rinsed and drained black beans, corn and the cooked quinoa. Combine. Add in the barbecue sauce and half of the shredded cheese and stir, then finally add in the chopped sirloin steak. Remove from the heat.
- Gently press the mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Top the casserole with the rest of the shredded cheese and bake for approximately 10 minutes.
Don’t Hesitate To Reach Out To Our Team
At Beck & Bulow, we pride ourselves on our excellent customer service. We’re always here to help if you have any questions regarding your meat, want help making selections, or are just looking for some cooking tips. Every time you call our office, you’ll be directly connected with one of our team members right here in Santa Fe, New Mexico where we’re based.
Every cut of meat is pressure sealed and flash frozen immediately after butchering at the peak of freshness. We work exclusively with master butchers who make every cut with care and precision. All orders are hand packed at our Santa Fe warehouse, shipped in a reusable cooler with dry ice and delivered straight to your doorstep. Check out our selections of humanely raised chicken, elk, bison, beef, lamb, wild boar, pork and seafood.