Bison have been crucial not only to the Indigenous community but also to the land. They restore the prairie ecosystems on which they graze, increasing plant diversity, fertilizing soil, and sequestering carbon underground to help reverse climate change. “Bison are indigenous to North America, and they represent the resiliency of Indigenous communities,” says Brian Yazzie, the executive chef of Gatherings Cafe inside the Minneapolis American Indian Center. He’s a big fan of Brownotter Buffalo Ranch bison, owned by Ron Brownotter, who has let his bison roam and graze on 200,000 acres of native grasses for the past two decades.
For this recipe, Yazzie seasons bison rib eye with smoked salt and juniper, then cooks it in a hot pan with aromatics like sage and garlic. Because bison is rich in flavor but relatively lean, you can substitute it with grass-fed beef. He finishes the meat with sweet pickled radishes, which take two hours to pickle, so plan accordingly.
tsp. sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil
garlic clove, crushed
scallions, cut into 2″-long strips
tsp. cracked black peppercorns
cup maple vinegar or ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar plus 3 Tbsp. maple syrup
Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt
lb. radishes and/or summer squash, radishes trimmed, thinly sliced
Rib eye and assembly
tsp. juniper berries, finely chopped
12-oz. bison or beef bone-in rib-eye steaks (½”–¾” thick)
Smoked or kosher salt
Tbsp. sunflower or extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
A spice mill or mortar and pestle