How to Make Bison (Buffalo) Roast: Crockpot Recipe

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Start to Finish: 3 1/2 to 8 1/2 hours

Servings: 4 to 6

Difficulty Level: Beginner

Bison, also commonly known as buffalo, provide tender beef-like meat with a slightly sweet, rich flavor. Because the meat is so lean, it can easily be overcooked using other cooking methods. As long as you add at least 1 inch of cooking liquid, the slow-cooker provides nearly foolproof, reliably tender results. Once you feel comfortable with the basic recipe, feel free to switch up the seasonings and ingredients to find the flavors that please your palate. This recipe was adapted from The Bison Council's "Best-Ever Bison Pot Roast" recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds bison roast
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Pepper (to taste)
  • 2 to 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 to 3 roughly chopped shallots
  • 1 to 2 cups sliced baby portabello mushrooms
  • 6 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2  cups red wine
  • 1 1/2 cups beef broth

Directions

Sprinkle the exterior of the bison roast with flour, salt and black pepper.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet set over medium heat. Once the oil is hot enough to shimmer, add the seasoned roast and sear it on all sides for approximately five minutes per side.

Transfer the roast to the slow-cooker along with the onions, garlic, thyme and bay leaves.

In a bowl or graduate, whisk the tomato paste, wine and stock together to form a smooth sauce. Pour it over the meat in the slow cooker.

Cover the cooker and roast the bison on low for six to eight hours, or on high for three to four hours. Once the roast is cooked, it should be fork-tender.

Transfer the roast to a cutting board to rest for three minutes before pulling or shredding the meat. If you want sliced roasted bison meat, Johnson Farm's Bison World recommends wrapping the roast in aluminum foil and letting it rest for 10 minutes before slicing it.

Remove the bay leaf and stems from the thyme sprigs. Use a hand blender to puree the onions and mushrooms in the cooking liquid to make a naturally thickened gravy to serve over the roasted bison.

Tip

Variations

Using different seasonings or adding extra ingredients to the slow cooker along with the meat allows you to create different versions of the same dish.

  • Blend 3 tablespoons of chipotle chilies in adobo sauce with a 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes for a zesty, tomato-based bison roast. Skip the mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf in favor of some fresh cilantro, which adds a bright freshness to the dish. 
  • Make pulled barbecue bison by cooking the roast with sliced red onion, 1 cup of water and salt and pepper to taste. Set the cooker to low for 10 to 12 hours, pull the meat using two forks to shred it before tossing the meat with your favorite barbecue sauce. 
  • Evoke memories of traditional pot roast by adding potatoes and carrots to the slow-cooker.

Serving Suggestions

This versatile recipe lends itself to a variety of dishes. Some examples include:

  • Pilie pulled buffalo meat on a hearty kaiser roll and serving it with tangy coleslaw and pickles.
  • Top a bed of cooked egg noodles with the meat and gravy and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
  • Serve the sliced bison with a side of cooked carrots and mashed cauliflower for a lightened up version of pot roast.
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