Thursday, February 11, 2016

As bison grow more popular, 2 views on how to treat them

Turner just rounded the corner on 77. The billionaire they used to call the Mouth of the South is a much quieter version of himself these days, thinking less about the 24-hour news cycle he invented and more about his 1.9 million acres of ranch land and what he did to nudge bison — of which he owns more than anyone else on the planet — onto the American plate. When Turner started on his quest to bring bison back, the meat showed up mostly as supper on private ranches or as a gimmick in game-centric restaurants that did not care if they were selling rattlesnake or yak. By the 1990s, his interest had driven prices up, and dozens of other ranchers had joined him. Then a mix of market conditions and bad weather contributed to a crash. Bison meat began piling up in freezers, and ranchers went bankrupt. So Turner came upon a concept Alice Waters and her Slow Food followers understand well. To save something special like the American bison, you have to eat it. He opened his first Ted’s Montana Grill in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002 with George McKerrow Jr., the Atlanta restaurateur who founded the LongHorn Steakhouse. After some stumbles (the company had to close nine of its 57 outlets in 2010), Turner’s restaurant business is back on a path of expansion, and so is bison. The average American eats about 55 pounds of beef a year, while per capita bison consumption barely adds up to a couple of burgers. But a side of bison can bring in twice as much money as beef these days, and processors say they can’t keep up with demand...more

No comments: