The first time I ever heard of a beefalo was the weekend I got engaged, in July 2012. We were at a bed and breakfast/farm in Vermont, and they happened to sell the unfamiliar meat.
We didn’t eat any that weekend, but I bought some frozen, took it home in a cooler, and later had it in a stew. To me, it tasted just like regular beef.
Buffalo meat began surging in popularity around 2010, 2011, and has seemed to wind down a bit; beefalo meat, on the other hand, I never hear about at all. Supposedly it was popular during the 1970s.
It’s strange there’s not more hype about it, because as you’ll see, it rocks.
First, definitions of the animals:
- Buffalo: any of several wild oxen of the family Bovidae.
- Beefalo: a hybrid animal that is a cross between buffalo and the domestic cow, bred for disease resistance and for meat with low fat content.
While beefalo breeding did occur naturally in the 1700s, they weren’t intentionally crossbred until the 1900s.
Beefalo have many advantages over buffalo, including:
- They’re super adaptable to different environments.
- They’re able to eat a wider variety of grasses, including harsher grass during droughts.
- They’re tamer and easier to handle.
- They can be butchered sooner.
Also, beefalo are able to produce their own offspring, which is not true of all crossbred animals.
Now, let’s check out the meat.
Compared to buffalo meat, beefalo meat:
- Is leaner.
- Is lower in cholesterol.
- Has fewer calories.
When researching this post, I came across a Michigan farm called Meyer Beefalo and Bison Hybrid Farm comparing the two animals, having raised both.
And you know what? They did a blind taste test and could not tell the difference between the two meats.
In other words, beefalo meat has all the flavor of buffalo meat, but with significant health benefits.
With all the advantages for both the farmers and the consumers, I can’t help but wonder if beefalo will make a comeback in the near future.