On paper, using ground buffalo in place of beef for something
like a bacon-wrapped meatloaf is a no-brainer. It’s sustainably raised, low
fat, and by most accounts, nutritionally superior to your average feedlot cow.
The only problem is, it doesn’t work that well.
Most people who replace their ground beef with buffalo, in recipes
like meatballs, burgers, and meatloaf, are usually disappointed. Ground buffalo
is much leaner than ground beef, which is the biggest challenge. In case you’re
new, it’s the fat that provides most of the flavor and moisture. Also, for
whatever reason, pre-packaged buffalo is ground very fine, almost to a paste, which can lead to
a rubbery meatloaf, unless you use a few tricks.
To make up for the lack of fat, we’ll not only wrap this in strips of
bacon, but use some in the meatloaf mixture as well. To hedge our bets, we will
also use lots of ground vegetables, and fresh breadcrumbs, which will provide
much-needed moisture, and improve the tenderness.
This produces a meatloaf that really does melt in your
mouth. The only dilemma you’re going to have is whether to tell your picky
friends and family that this isn’t beef. Do you tell them before? Or, do you
play it safe, and wait until they’re raving about it, before spilling the
beans bison? Either way, I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 6 large portions Bacon-Wrapped Buffalo
2 tbsp butter
2 strips bacon for frying in butter
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, cubed
1 rib celery, sliced
1 bell pepper, chopped (any color or combo will work)
4 button mushrooms, quartered
3 cloves garlic
2 cups (not packed) fresh breadcrumbs
1/4 cup milk
1 large egg
1/4 tsp dried rosemary, or 2 tsp of freshly chopped)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
*2 to 3 tsp kosher salt, or to taste
pinch of cayenne
2 lbs ground buffalo meat
7-8 strips thick cut bacon, or enough to wrap the meatloaf.
*to check for seasoning, once everything is mixed, fry a
small piece of the meatloaf mixture and taste. Adjust if necessary, and
For the glaze:
2 tbsp rice vinegar
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
internal temperature of 155°F. If desired, remove the meatloaf halfway through
the cooking time, and apply a glaze.
Serve with a gravy made from the pan drippings, or use this easy mushroom sauce recipe from another meatloaf video.