Eat Sleep and Play Primally

thit bo luc lac

Buy Locally, Eat primally!

I try to shop locally as best as I can.  Sometimes that can be challenging, especially during the winter months when the farmers’ markets aren’t in full swing.  Recently I discovered that I could buy locally produced bison meat at the Soulard Farmers Market.  The Soulard Farmers Market is a St. Louis gem.  It is the oldest farmers’ market west of the Mississippi.  You can get anything from rugs, to jewelry, to locally made goat cheese here.  While the market is chock full of vendors selling commercially grown produce, there are also plenty of  local vendors from whom  can buy organic locally grown produce.  The market is only open Wednesday through Saturday.

A couple of Saturdays ago we popped into Frandeka’s Meat & Fish.  I’d never been in this butcher shop but was pleasantly surprised.  It has apparently been in business for nearly 100 years.  The employees are super helpful and the lines move pretty quickly.   They sell everything from beef, to pork, goat and rabbit.  A sign advertising bison bratwurst immediately caught my eye and I inquired about it.  It turns out that their bison bratwurst come from Sayersbrook Bison Ranch which is located just about an hour from St. Louis.  I love sausage, and I loved even more that it was being produced in my back yard, so I decided to give it a try.  It was about $10 a pound, but, I felt it was worth it because it was locally produced.  When the employee handed me the package he also told me that he had 1 lb. packages of bison tenderloin tips on sale for $7.99. (Four 4 oz. bison fillets are selling for $55.95 on the Sayersbrook Ranch site). Sold! I got a package of that too.

When I got home I wanted to find out more about this local producer and how the bison are razed.  In addition to trying to buy from local producers, I also try to buy grass fed meat,  Its just healthier and better for you, is higher in protein, and contains the good omega 3 fatty acids we need in our diet.  According to the Sayersbrook Bison Ranch website, their bison are grazed on Missouri’s native grasses, but in their last three months, they are fed “a special blend of all natural grains that enhances the flavor and tenderness of these award winning meats”.  Bummer! While I like the fact that the bison are initially grass fed, I didn’t really like the idea that they were finished on grain.  However, I think that this is much better than the typical corn/grain fed meat you get at your local grocery.

The terms “grass fed” and “pastured” aren’t  really regulated, so I’ve heard that some producers are not completely honest about their methods.  I was glad to see that Sayersbrook was up front about their processes.  It’s important to get to know your producers, and that is a lot easier to do when you buy locally.  Unfortunately, even short term finishing on grains or corn can greatly diminish the good omega 3 content of meat.  While I’m not convinced that this is a good method, I have to think  that it is somewhat better than the alternative.  Of course, I would always recommend and prefer to buy purely grass fed beef.  The health benefits are clear.  For a lot of us, this is hard to do, so, if you try to do it is much as you can, you will surely be better off.

In any event, the deed was done.  Now I had to do something with the tenderloin tips.  Bison is typically lower in fat, and cooking it can be a challenge for some.  If you cook it too long, it will be tough and dry.  As I was trying to decide what to do with the tenderloin tips, I started thinking about my favorite dish in Vietnamese restaurants, Thit Bo Luc Lac or known to some as Shaken Beef.  It’s typically one of the more expensive dishes on many Vietnamese menus.  It usually features quick sauteed beef, fresh tomato, onion and some kind of green.  It is served with a salt and pepper dipping sauce that will knock your socks off.  So I went about creating this dish and it turned out fantastic.  It was really quick, healthy and perfectly primal.  Along with the sliced raw onion that is typically served with it, I made some pickled red onion as well.  You don”t need bison Tenderloin, but can substitute any grass fed beef or even pork.  I would recommend a tender cut like tenderloin or sirloin. With 1 pound of bison, this was enough for 2 hearty appetites, but could make a light meal for 4. Here it is:

Thit Bo Luc Lac

Thit Bo Luc Lac (Shaken Beef/Bison)

The Dipping Sauce:

  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp unrefined fine sea salt
  • juice of one medium lime

Marinade for the Meat:

  • Juice of 1 medium lime
  • 2 tbls. soy sauce
  • 1 tbls. sesame oil
  • 1 tbls. Vietnamese fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped finely
  • 1 tsp. black pepper

For the Pickled Red Onion:

  • 1 large red onion
  • 3/4 cup seasoned Japanese rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbls. chopped fresh cilantro

For the Salad:

  • 1 lb. Bison Tenderloin, Beef Tenderloin or Pork Tenderloin cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 ripe tomatoes
  • 1/2 thinly sliced white onion
  • 6 Cups baby spinach or watercress
  • 1-2 tbls olive or coconut oil for cooking the meat.


First prepare the marinade by whisking together all of the marinade ingredients in a bowl.  Cut the bison, beef or pork tenderloin into one inch cubes and place in a zip lock bag.  Pour the marinade over the meat and seal the bag.  Shake the bag around to ensure that you have coated all the meat in the marinade.  Marinate the meat in the refrigerator of 1/2 hour to 1 hour. 

Meanwhile prepare the pickled red onions.  Bring 3/4 cups of japanese seasoned rice wine vinegar to a boil in a sauce pan.  While this is coming to a boil, finely slice the large red onion.  When the vinegar comes to a boil, place the onions in the boiling vinegar.  Press the onions down until they are submerged in the hot liquid.  The onions will begin to whlt and they will all fit in this amount fo liquid.  Remove the pot from the stove and pour the contents into a heat resistent bowl.  Add 2 tbls. of chopped cilantro and stir to combine.  Cover and refrigerate the pickled onions until you are ready to serve.

Next, prepare the dipping sauce.  Combine the juice of 1 medium lime with 1 tsp. pepper and 1/2 tsp. of fine unrefined sea salt and set aside.

After the meat has marinated long enough, remove it from the refrigerato and drain the marinade and discard.  Meanwhile prepare the salad.  Place 3 cups of baby spinach or watercress on 2 plates.  slice the tomatos and arrange around the plate.  Slice the 1/2 white or yellow onion and set aside.  Equally divide the pickled red onions among the 2 plates.  I like to do this with tongs or a slotted spoon so that you don’t end up with too much vinegar.  You can always spoon additional vinegar from the pickled onions over the salad if you like.

Meanwhile heat 1-2 tbls. of olvie oil or coconut oil over medium high heat in a skillet. When the oil is hot, place the meat in the hot oil, but don’t overcrowd it.  You can cook the meat in 2 batches if necessary.  Be sure to not disturb the beef in the pan so that you can brown the meat well.  After about 2 minutes, shake the pan to cook the other sides of the meat cubes.  The meat should be medium rare to medium in about 2 more minutes. If you like your meat cooked more well, leave it in the pan for a couple of more minutes, shaking the meat occasionally.

When the meat is done to your liking, mound the browned meat cubes in the center of the plate and garnish with the sliced raw white onion.  Serve with the dipping sauce on the side.  You can dip the meat cubes in the sauce as you are eating the salad, but beware, the sauce is peppery and tangy.


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Tuesday, June 29th, 2010 Uncategorized 3 Comments