Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bison Steaks with Whiskey Pan Sauce

The American Buffalo (which is actually a Bison, not a Buffalo) is one of the most iconic animals of the American West... and last weekend we got to eat one. Eric actually got very excited when he found Bison steaks in the grocery store, like really excited. It was almost an almost inappropriate level of excitement. We're pretty sure we overheard a woman telling her son to behave or he'd end up like "that guy", pointing to Eric. We're not sure exactly what Eric was imagining Bison to be like but it was probably something along the lines of John Wayne walking in, cutting his slice with his boot knife and then both of them riding out to rustle up some outlaws with Wyatt Earp. In reality we had this on a Tuesday, after which we sat and watched Glee. Not that there's anything wrong with Tuesday nights, or Glee. Also, the Bison was fantastic in a completely unexpected way. Lean and flavorful, not gamy at all, just a really great tasty steak. Higher in protein and significantly lower in fat than even USDA Choice steaks Bison is quickly gaining ground as one of the many beef alternatives gaining acceptance in the US market and for good reason. The other part of this dinner was the pan sauce, something we've used before but never really focused on. Basically a pan sauce is just using the remnants from cooking high protein meats over high heat. Alcohol and a good scraping brings all the baked on flavor that is usually reserved for a long soak the bottom of the sink and gives you an extra flavorful sauce when mixed with cream and other goodies. 

Bison Steaks with Whiskey Pan Sauce
What You Will Need

2 Bison or Beef Steaks
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter
1 large shallot (minced)
1/2 cup whiskey
2 Tbs heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350*

In a large oven proof skillet heat the oil over medium high heat. Generously salt and pepper each side of the steak and sear it for about 4 minutes on each side until you get a nice brown crust. Next pop the whole skillet into the oven to finish cooking until desired wellness. For medium rare, our steaks cooked for about 7 minutes. 

Pull the skillet out and transfer the steaks to a plate and cover to keep warm. 

Heat the skillet over medium heat and saute the shallots for about 2 minutes until tender.  Add the whiskey and deglaze the pan by scraping up all the brown bits stuck at the bottom. Let that cook down for about 5 minutes stir in the butter and cream and keep stirring until sauce thickens up and coats the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper to taste and serve over steaks. 


  1. I was also shocked to see how popular Bison had become. We have been buying ground bison for a while because it is the only organic red meat available in our grocery store. It is usually right next to the ground beef. The other day I stumbled into a part of the meat section I don't usually look at and was stunned to find bison steaks and roasts, all organic.
    I have also tried this pan sauce and I agree it is pretty tasty.

  2. Gorgeous!

    I love the new photo of you two in the kitchen!

    Have you heard of a beef-alo? A cow-bison cross? Ross Perot has a bunch on his land near my parent's house. Gorgeous creatures!

  3. Bison is pretty hard to get here in Ontario, once in a while there is one butcher who will get some in, and he is so nice because he will give us a call, usually all sold the same day that he gets it. Love your recipe, sounds really good, the flavors, yum, thanks for sharing. Will hold onto your recipe for the future.

  4. i am so happy more people are making bison! my family raises buffalo and this recipe looks great! thanks for sharing!

  5. I love bison and I can totally relate to levels of excitement in a grocery store that may be over the top or inappropriate. I just get like that around food. I can't help myself. Bison illicit this response from me as well, and I absolutely love the flavor of bison meat and it's usually organic. Bonus! At least where I'm from. You had me at bison and then you added in the whiskey. That's just yum!

  6. I would probably be just as excited to find bison. Lovely recipe!