Slow Cooking Beef Using The "Buffalo Trow" Method
By Carlene Phelps, with the original article written by Don Gillis - Jan.
In January of 1994, NBBQN ran an article about an annual Buffalo Trow
that is held in our area of South Georgia. We were, needles to say,
overwhelmed by the response from those of you who were not familiar with
this old custom of cooking steaks.
Some 47 people joined the News crew the Saturday before Thanksgiving
as we headed for the little town, home of Graham United Methodist Church, of
Graham, GA., about an hours drive away.
We had a 5 p.m. seating bit were on hand early in order to get some
good pictures (those used in this article) and information from the team of
cooks. The smoke was rolling from the stacks of pecan wood being used when
we arrived, and steaks were sizzling in the coals.
According to Don's account, "Soon all the "first-timers" were gazing
in awe at the big, perfectly good steaks apparently being ruined by being
thrown down in a bed of white hot coals. They listened with rapt attention
as the workers explained patiently just what they were doing. They watched
in wonder as the firemen using long-handled rakes and pitchforks speared the
"done" steaks and passed them out to one of the women standing by to brush
off the ashes with lint-free towels. Then, they kept a watchful eye on the
tubs of cooked steaks as they were carried into the temporary dining area
for further processing.
The legend accompanying the Buffalo Trow says that this method of
cooking originated back in the days of the old west when the railroads were
being built in the U. S. It seems the hunters would bring in the buffalo
meat which the workers, mostly Irish and Chinese, would put in the coals of
the bonfires of the camps and come back later to dig it out and eat. Being
foreign, and not spreading English well, they would say that they would
"trow" (instead of throw) the meat in the coals. Whatever! It makes a good
tale to go along with this captivating event.
After a suitable time of watching, questioning and talking it over,
everyone moved on over to visit their quaint, historical church (itself a
sight to see), then in line to get down to business - eating those steaks
cooked in the coals of pecan wood. We stared at a table laden with salads
and vegetables brought in by the women of the church, on to another table
with home-baked bread, delicious resin-baked potatoes and even resin-baked
sweet potatoes. What a treat this is! No one can go away hungry! All you
want to eat and go back for more! We Did! Busy children of the church
constantly came by t see if we needed more iced tea or whatever. Then on to
the dessert table with more delightful dining.
This was the best and most delightful steaks we had encountered in the three
years we have attended the vent. Tender and scrumptious! I believe everyone
enjoyed themselves thoroughly and ate well. Then it was time say our
farewells with everyone returning home."
This event is no longer held and it's a shame because of the
historical significance as the wonderful food. I guess this makes all of us
who attended over the years even more fortunate in having down so before its
demise. If you need more information on this type of cooking, known as the
Buffalo Trow, Dr Don Gillis can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
is definitely more versed of those listed as writing this column. One thing
which might be added is the fact that the steaks, cut in 4 lb roasts, were
left in the fire for 30 minutes on each side. The pecan wood is used because
it does not adhere to the meat as other woods. This might help some of you
cooking entrepreneurs since you are probably anxious to get started in your
backyard. Tonight might be a good time.