Cooking Wild Buffalo in the Desert


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As a chef, I get to cook some really cool stuff. Case in point, this past weekend while I was camping, I got to cook buffalo.

My friend Gabe helped harvest a wild buffalo on the Utah/Colorado border the previous weekend and he brought some of the meat on our camping trip. Not just any cut but the tenderloin. My only problem was the lack of a good method to cook it.

I was out I the desert looking at Native American petroglyphs and had a hankering for some traditional flavors. I adopted an old-as-a-caveman cooking technique: “meat on stick.”

The cooking process is simple. 1. Skewer meat. 2. Cook over a flame.

The real trick is in the rub, which I made with coffee grounds, cracked pepper, salt and paprika. I rubbed that tenderloin down and impaled the meat on a small willow branch.

All was going well but I was having trouble getting the meat to stay in place while it cooked. I needed to make some sort of spit. With my father's help we devised a spit out of wrenches and a stump stove: My father hollowed out a section of a stump and then made two holes for the wrenches to sit in. The meat rested in the wrench heads and cooked slow and low over sage brush and charcoal briquettes.


The meat came out perfectly cooked on one side when I took it off the stick. The other side was still raw, so I re-skewered and cooked it again. We had perfect medium-rare buffalo tenderloin for dinner.



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