I met Jill Klawonn several years ago at the Cheyenne Farmers’ Market when I did cooking demonstrations to help promote the food products available there. She and her husband operate High Point Bison and Beef, both grass-fed and grass-finished, the third generation of their ranching family to do so. They raise the animals on native prairie pastures in the tri-state area of Colorado-Wyoming-Nebraska without antibiotics, hormones or steroids of any kind, and produce healthy and delicious meat available by the cut. Grass-fed beef, lamb and bison is much more accessible to the average consumer now that it is largely available by the cut instead of the side or quarter side. I was very pleased to see her at the Old Town farmers market at Oak and Howes on Saturday morning and purchased a beautiful piece of bison brisket that cooked up amazingly tender and delicious in short order in the crock pot.
Bison is a good source of an array of B vitamins, iron and phosphorus, and a very good source of B12, zinc and selenium. Both grass-finished beef and bison contain more antioxidants, vitamins and minerals than their grain-finished counterparts and are lower in fat than grain-finished animals. Some prefer the flavor of grain-finishing, but many of us think the flavor of grass-finished meat is richer. The brisket I purchased was much leaner than any available in the grocery store, where the fat layer is often an inch or more thick, and I didn't need to do any trimming, so the price I paid was for meat instead of fat.
Jill has a handout available at her booth with a recipe for a generic way to cook a roast, then use the meat in four different recipes, my preferred way to cook. She provides Mexican, Asian, barbecue and Indian variations, all using the same roast. Cooking for one now, I don't want 3 lbs. of anything cooked in a highly seasoned dish. It's too much, and even frozen leftovers don't interest me. I want something plain that I can use in a variety of ways, to prepare quickly at the last minute. So the brisket I cooked can be used in a quick stir-fry with vegetables and leftover brown rice, used to top a salad with some luscious lettuce found at the market, added to sautéed vegetables and scrambled eggs, or one of Jill's recipes.
Fort Collins Chef Linda Hoffman teaches cooking classes emphasizing dinners in 30 minutes or less. Visit www.comebacktothetable.com.
Crock Pot Bison Brisket
1 bison brisket, about 3 lbs.
Sea salt and pepper
1 small onion, sliced thinly
3-4 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tbsp. almond or avocado oil
Season the brisket on both sides with unrefined sea salt and black pepper, and sear in the hot oil, 3-4 minutes per side. Remove to the crock pot. Stir the onion and garlic into the pan drippings and soften. Deglaze the pan with water, broth or red wine, and scrape up the browned bits in the bottom of the skillet. Add to the crock pot, cover, and cook on low for about 6 hours.