Monday, August 8, 2011


*All photos in this post taken by Maia, Lucy and Marc!

Our big Iowa Sky

Tonight we headed to Big Sky Country. When we drew Montana, we were a little stumped as to what to prepare, but a quick google search brought up this handy website. I've referred to it before, especially for the list of Georgia state foods. For Montana, it recommends buffalo burgers. That seemed manageable! I know that huckleberries are also a Montana favorite, but unfortunately we can't get those here in Iowa.

I've had buffalo sausage, but never a burger made only from bison meat. During our recent trip to South Dakota, we learned that "buffalo" isn't really the proper term for the American Bison, which is only very, very distantly related to the more common African and Asian Water Buffalo. We are lucky to have a local source for bison meat here in eastern Iowa, and so we picked up a pound of ground meat this weekend at our farmers market. The bison we ate grazed on native, cool-season prairie grasses in a way that mimics the natural, wild behavior of the animal as closely as possible.

On to the food! The bison meat was deep red, and very lean. Marc formed loose patties, noting that the proteins would "bind" and become tough if they were packed too tightly. He seasoned them with salt and pepper and cooked over a good hot grill so that the outside got a nice, crisp sear, holding the juices inside. We tend to eat our meat pretty rare in this house, these burgers were about medium. The corn also got the grill treatment, after a quick salt and olive-oil drizzle.

The corn was actually grilled first, then waited patiently, covered in foil, for dinner time.

We dressed our burgers just as we would a beef burger--some of us with cheese, one of us with ketchup, most of us with pickles, etc.

We all tasted carefully, wanting to be able to describe how these burgers differ from our regular local ground beef. These had a richer, more steak-like flavor and Lucy declared them superior to beef burgers. I'm learning that our kids actually prefer more flavorful meats--Maia likes dark meat chicken better, for example and pork is always preferred over white-meat chicken. Marc's grilling was nicely done--the burgers were juicy and tender. He could tell while cooking them that there was much less fat than a typical burger.

The corn on the grill, by the way, was delicious! A perfect combination of sweet, salty and "grill" flavor!

Today was the day to draw our next four states, and they are: Rhode Island, Louisiana, Mississippi and North Dakota!

We are off on another roadtrip this week--this time to the Minnesota Bluegrass and Oldtime Festival. I see funnel cake in our future!

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