Tips on how to pair bison with the perfect wine.
Wine author and avowed meat eater Shelley Boettcher, shares her tips on the best beverage to enjoy with your premium Canadian bison from Noble.
When it comes to pairing bison with alcohol, red wine is a natural choice. But some red wines go better than others. Unlike, say, roast beef, bison is low in fat, so it won’t be its best with tannic reds such as inexpensive young Cabernet Sauvignon. (The fat softens the tannins.) Try, instead, a Tuscan Sangiovese or fruit-driven Tempranillo from Spain. Either should pair beautifully with your Noble bison striploin.
Or seek out an Italian Nebbiolo or a fine French Syrah—maybe even one that’s been aging for a few years. The Syrah’s savory, spicy notes will add plenty of depth to your dish, while the delicate Nebbiolo aromas will complement the bison’s delicious flavours.
Making ribs? A California Zinfandel is always a fine pairing, or try a value-priced Primitivo from Italy. As for a burger, consider a juicy, crowd-pleasing Malbec from Mendoza, Argentina or Cahors, France.
Of course, wine isn’t for everyone. If you’re looking for an alternative, consider whisky. The intense, smoky notes of your favourite scotch whisky will bring out the natural sweetness of the meat, while the delicacy of a pot-stilled Irish whisky can also work with the meat’s lower fat content. Or pour an American bourbon, straight up or on the rocks; the sweetness of this corn-based whisky will also be an excellent match with a range of bison dishes.
Whatever you opt to drink, don’t forget to think about the spices you’re using with your meat. If you’re cooking a bison curry, consider a lighter style of red—perhaps a Gamay (Beaujolais, if you’re in the French section of your favourite wine shop), which won’t be overpowered by the intense seasoning. And chilis? Go back to that Malbec again. If it works for a timeless Argentine chimichurri, it just may work for your dish, too.
Classic and Creative Cuts on the Grill
This post we’re featuring not only two great cuts, but also some suggested wine pairings that will have you savoring every last taste.
Cast Iron Grilled Striploin
In Canada, we normally grill steaks on the BBQ, but a cast iron pan works just as well! Use the best quality meat, simple seasoning and a good sear for perfect steakhouse-quality every time. Just follow these easy tips:
- Cast iron pans have to be seasoned with oil over time, which makes the pans almost non-stick.
- To cook a steak perfectly, the pan has to be very hot (don’t forget to protect your hands, as the handle can get hot).
- Remove steaks from the fridge about a 1/2 hour before cooking so they get to room temperature (this ensures they cook more evenly).
- Keep the seasoning simple. We use a little bit of roasted garlic, coarse sea salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and a little oil.
Prep: 5 minutes Cook: 6 minutes (for medium-rare) Servings: 2
- 2 – 10 oz (284gr) Noble Premium Bison striploins cut about 1 inch (2.5cm) in thickness (at room temperature)
- 1 tbs (14g) soft roasted garlic
- 1⅕ tbs (21g) course sea salt
- 1 tbs (14g) coarsely ground black pepper
- 1½ tbs (21g) grape seed oil
- 4 tbs (58g) chilled butter (cut in 4)
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- Preheat oven to 325°F (165°C).
- Place a 12”(30cm) cast iron pan on the stove and raise the heat to high.
- Place the bison steaks on a cutting board and rub both sides with the roasted garlic.
- Generously sprinkle coarse sea salt and ground black pepper over both sides of the steaks.
- Pour the oil over the steaks and massage the seasoning in until all sides are coated.
- Place one steak at a time into the hot cast iron pan being careful of the oil splatter.
- You will hear an intense sizzle, which is good! Continue to sear for 3 minutes.
- Turn the steak over and sear the other side for another 3 minutes.
- During the searing of the second side, place the butter, sprigs of thyme and cloves of garlic in the pan. As the butter melts, tilt the pan slightly and start basting the butter over the steak with a spoon as it melts. Keep basting for the 3 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let rest for about 5 minutes on a room temperature surface (clean cutting board) before serving or cutting. This will keep the juices in the steak.
- Best served medium rare with a meat thermometer – 130°F (55°C)/135°F (60°C)
- Garlic, butter and thyme feature prominently in this easy-to-prepare recipe. Try a Sangiovese, Tempranillo or Malbec—look for one from Bodega Catena Zapata, O. Fournier, Pascual Toso or Luigi Bosca.
Bison Tri-tip on the Grill
Part steak, part roast, and 100% delicious. This lesser known cut of bison is sure to be the next big thing at your summer barbecue. Best of all, it might be the easiest tri-tip recipe out there!
- Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
- Place the bison tri-tip on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Insert a meat thermometer into the center of the roast.
- Cook uncovered on high heat for about 20-25 minutes, until 130°F (55°C).
- Remove from oven, cover with foil and wait 10-15 minutes before carving. Resting brings up the temperature and allows the juices to be absorbed back into the meat, so they don’t spill out onto the cutting board.
- Preheat the broiler then place the tri-tip on the unheated rack of a broiler pan.
- Broil 3 to 4 inches from the heat to desired doneness, using a meat thermometer (130°F/55°C for medium rare).
- Transfer to a plate, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
CARVING – Carve the tri-tip against the grain, which can change directions in this cut. To solve this, slice the roast in two at the place where the grain changes direction, then carve each piece separately.
SEASONING – This recipe is a simple paste made of olive oil, garlic, salt and black pepper, but any boldly flavored dry rub will work.
Marinate: 1 hour Cook: 40 minutes Servings: 6
- 6 garlic cloves chopped
- 1/4 cup (56ml) oil
- 4 teaspoons (20g) salt
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) whole black peppercorn
- 2 1/2 pounds (1.13kg) tri-tip roast, with thin flat layer
- In a blender, grind the garlic, oil, salt and black peppercorns to a coarse paste.
- Pat the tri-tip dry with paper towel and score the fat layer with a sharp knife, cutting through the fat, but not through the meat.
- Place the meat in a sealable plastic bag, scrape in the garlic paste, press out the air and seal tightly. Massage with the garlic paste until it’s evenly coated. Set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour. If marinating more than 2 hours, refrigerate the meat but remove it 1 hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
- For a gas grill without a smoker: Put 1/4 pound (114g) of water-soaked and drained oak or hickory chips in a foil pan and cover with aluminum foil. Poke holes in the foil to allow the smoke to escape. Place the pan directly on the bars over an unlit burner or two, preferably in a back corner. Put the cooking grates in place. Turn on the grill, with all burners on high, and close the lid. When smoke appears, the grill is ready for the steaks. (If your grill has a smoke box, follow the directions of the manufacturer).
- Sear the flat side of the tri-tip, cooking directly over the heat with the grill lid off. This will only take 3 or 4 minutes. Don’t worry if there is a little char; that is almost necessary to get a good crust. When the fat side is seared, turn the tri-tip and sear the lean side directly over the heat. This will take another 3 or 4 minutes; again, don’t worry about a little char.
- When the lean side is seared, move the tri-tip to the cool side of the grill and replace the lid. Cook to the desired temperature, the meat every 4 or 5 minutes; 20-25 minutes for 125°F (50°C), which is on the rare side of medium-rare; 25-30 minutes for 135°F (60°C) (on the medium side). Cooking time will vary according to the type of grill.
- Remove the roast to a platter and set aside for 10 minutes for the juices to settle. Carve the tri-tip fairly thinly against the grain. Spoon the carving juices over the meat.
- A Sangiovese or Nebbiolo should go nicely with the flavors that feature prominently in this recipe. Or get creative, and try a generous pour of smoky-smooth scotch whisky, on the rocks or straight. (This is not the time to make a cocktail—get that out of the way as an aperitif). A few wine producers to consider:
- Sangiovese—Head to Chianti Classico, in Tuscany, Italy, and pick your favourite. Or look for always-reliable bottles from Antinori, Frescobaldi or Badia a Coltibuono.
- Nebbiolo—Pio Cesare and Giovanni Manzone are always a good choice.
- Scotch or Irish whisky—Try something from Caol Isla, maybe the Caol Isla 12, or Talisker, perhaps the Talisker 10.
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