Delicious Buffalo Burgers
Have you eaten buffalo meat?
Buffalo meat is something of a rarity in Ireland. Macroom’s original 31 animals were imported for their milk, to make cheese. But that was back in 2009. Now that herd has expanded and the male of the species is appearing in butcher shops, at least in the Cork area.
Criostóir O’Crualaoi is well known for his handling of traditional Irish beef and lamb (they have their own farm in Ballincollig) and is now supplying Johnny Lynch's buffalo to retail outlets such as Eoin O’Mahony in the English Market (watch out for tasting on 15th July, provisional), to Noel Lynam in Twohig's SuperValu Kanturk and to Ger O'Callaghan to Drinagh Co-op in Skibbereen. The meat is prepared by Feoil Ó Criostóir who have their own abattoir and facility, also in Ballincollig.
High standards across each and every stage of the processing cycle always result in 100% traceable, quality-assured, great-tasting Irish meat. Traceability, hygiene and quality standards are verified by numerous agencies, including Bord Bia and the Food Safety Authority of Ireland. Feoil O’Criostoir is also a member of the Associated Craft Butchers of Ireland.
Recently Michael O'Callaghan, of their marketing department, gave me a pack of buffalo burgers to sample, indeed to share around. Having, a few years back, tasted the first first buffalo that Criostóir slaughtered and a few more bits and pieces since, I am relatively familiar with the meat, a touch sweeter than beef, juicer too and very tasty, once it is cooked well (don’t overdo it!).
So we had a few here ourselves and, not for the first time, were very impressed, delighted with the excellent texture and flavour. We sent a few over the road to a married couple with three children and got a big thumbs up, especially from one of the teenagers who is a committed gym user and he noted that buffalo is a great source of protein as well as being delicious.
A younger couple (no children) were also allocated a few burgers and again the report was good: “They were the juiciest and tastiest burger we’ve ever had. They were much leaner than the beef burger, no grease in the pan.”
So thumbs up all round. And then we told them about the other advantages of using the meat. Just getting a little technical here but I won't bore you with too many details.
Professor Joe Kerry, School of Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC, did quite a study, based on the Johnny Lynch herd and below are the main findings.
Protein: Buffalo 20.39g Beef 19.05g
Saturated fatty acids: Buffalo 0.46g Beef 4.33g
Cholesterol: Buffalo 46g Beef 59g
Iron: Buffalo 2.7mg Beef 1.3mg
So there you are. Criostóir was thrilled with the results, even if they were expected. If you visit his website you’ll read that buffalo meat is perfect for weight loss; a great source of protein for gym users; lower in cholesterol. Beside, is locally sourced and always full of flavour (I can certainly vouch for that). You may read other details of the study here.
The buffalo meat can be supplied in various forms. At present, your butcher can order: mince, rump, cube roll, fillet, strip loin, top side/silver side/knuckle, and burgers (6oz).