Beef Or Bison? How 'Bout Both In One Bite

US - What do you get when you cross a cow with a buffalo? You get a sleepy cottage industry that's just received an injection of cash to introduce more consumers to the hybrid meat.
calendar icon 12 July 2007
clock icon 2 minute read
Beefalo are 3/8 bison, but resemble ordinary beef cattle.

The combination of buffalo and beef cattle goes by the name "beefalo". Correspondent Tom Banse has a look and a taste.

Mark Merrill: "You're going to see and look at these and say, 'They look like cattle to me. They don't look like bison.' That's a very typical reaction. And it's true they are only 3/8th bison and 5/8th beef."

Mark and Linda Merrill are checking on their herd of beefalo.

Linda Merrill: "These are our heifers over here."

The Ellensburg couple is one of only about 15 breeders in Washington, Idaho, and Montana trying to make a go of it with the hardy hybrid.

Merrill: "I didn't like the disposition that buffalo have. You notice we're standing in a pretty good-sized group of cattle here with cattle all around us. They have no interest in tromping us into the ground or hurting us in any way. They're really nice disposition cattle."

Merrill: "You can move them around without any big hassles. You don't need special fences or corrals like you do with bison."

But Merrill says the biggest selling point of the cross is the lower-fat, low-cholesterol meat.

Merrill: "It's going to really help the people that have cut back on beef, give a market to those people so they can have beef again."

Merrill started raising and selling beefalo 23 years ago. The cross was perfected even earlier. But still, Merrill says most consumers have never heard of the dark red meat.

Source: Oregon Public Broadcasting

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