American Bison (Bison bison) is being called buffalo less frequently as it is only a distant relative of the "true" buffalo of Africa and Asia. American Bison is more closely related to the Wisent or European Bison. The name bison is a Greek word meaning ox-like animal, while the name buffalo comes from the French word boeufs meaning roughly the same thing. The name boeufs was given to the animal by the French fur trappers. The bison was once a staple for those living in North America west of the Appalachian Mountains. The bison range once stretched from the Appalachians to the Pacific Ocean and from the Northwest Territories to central Mexico.
1. Assemble and prep the ingredients for the braised bison short ribs. My basic braising liquid recipe is available on the right. There is some room for substitutions, if you like. It is a fairly traditional recipe, and it tastes pretty dang good. So give it a try. The bison short ribs that I got for this article are cut in the flanken style, which means they are cut across the grain and there are several short ribs in each piece. The other style is English style, and they are just one long rib. Either will work.
2. Heat up the braising pan over medium-high heat. If the meaty side of the short ribs have a layer of fat, use your boning knife to remove it. Don't worry about any intramuscular fat, as it's not worth the effort of trying to cut it out. Season the ribs liberally with salt and pepper, rubbing it in thoroughly. The pan will take 3‒4 minutes to get hot. Add the 4 Tbsp of butter to the pan and move it around until it melts and the foam subsides. Then lay the short ribs into the pan and begin browning them. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
3. Remove the bison short ribs to a pan and add the veggies. Roughly chop the onions, carrots, and garlic. Use a wooden spoon and stir the veggies around. Cook them until the onions begin to get transparent and a little caramelized. Then add the 2 cups red wine, 1 cup chicken stock, and can of whole peeled tomatoes. Use your wooden spoon to scrape at the drippings stuck to the bottom of the pan. The stuff stuck to the bottom, known as fond, adds richness to the sauce.
4. Put the bison short ribs back in the braising pan. Let the braising liquid get up to a boil for a minute or two before putting the ribs back in. Then turn the stovetop heat off. Add the herbs to the pot and put the lid on. If the oven is up to heat, 350 degrees F, put the covered braising pan in and set the timer for one hour.
5. When the timer goes off, remove the pan from the oven. Take the lid off and flip the short ribs over. Re-cover the braising pan and put it back in the oven for another hour. When that timer goes off, flip the ribs again. Repeat this process for a total cooking time of 4 hours. If your braising pan doesn't seal very well, you may have to add more liquid, a salt-free chicken stock perhaps, or water. When the ribs are done, let them rest for 10 minutes before serving them. A little lemon zest on top would be a nice touch.
I have only seen bison sold fresh one time, and I live in a big city. So chances are you will most likely find bison meat in a freezer section somewhere, probably at a co-op.
At almost every farmers market I have been to a bison ranch was there selling bison meat.
You will definitely be able to buy bison meat online.
If you get the English-style short ribs, the cartilage around the rib is much chewier, and you may even consider removing it.
If you don't have a braising pan, just use a baking dish and cover it with aluminum foil tightly. Brown the ribs and veggies in a frying pan and transfer them to the pan.