BisonShake up meats with a rub of allspice. Photo courtesy of McCormick & Company.




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January 2008

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Meat & Poultry

Recipe: Spice-Rubbed Buffalo (Bison) Steak

With Fig Balsamic Reduction


Here’s an unusual rub: Allspice, also called Jamaican pepper, the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. The fruit is picked when it is green and traditionally dried in the sun, at which point it resembles large brown peppercorns. It has the heat and spiciness of black peppercorns (Piper nigrum), with added flavors of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg—hence the name, allspice. Using allspice instead black pepper is one level of experimentation, but adding it to exotic meets like bison (usually called, incorrectly, buffalo) and ostrich advances the needle. Try these Spice-Rubbed Buffalo Steaks with Fig Balsamic Reduction. Allspice is one of McCormick’s 10 flavor trends for 2008. Take a look at the other flavor trends.

See our article on varietal peppercorns for more about allspice. And read the review of our favorite bison, Blackwing Bison, which includes an explanation of how bison came to be called “buffalo.”


  • 2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coarse grind black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seed, finely crushed
  • 1 teaspoon Sicilian sea salt (or other sea salt)
  • 4 buffalo steaks (6 ounces each)
  • 4 fresh Turkish figs, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon kecap manis* or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cold butter

*Kecap manis is a thick sweet soy sauce, typically used in Indonesian cooking. It can be found in Asian groceries or purchased online.


  1. Mix allspice, pepper, fennel and sea salt in small bowl. Season both sides of steaks with spice mixture; set aside.
  2. Mix figs, balsamic vinegar and kecap manis in small saucepan. Bring to simmer on medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 10 to 12 minutes or until sauce has reduced by half. Remove pan from heat. Stir in butter until well blended. Keep sauce warm.
  3. Meanwhile, grill steaks over medium-high heat 10 to 14 minutes or until desired doneness, turning once. Note that bison is a lean meat, and should not be overcooked: It is wonderful rare. Serve steaks with sauce.

Makes 4 servings.


Recipe and photo © McCormick & Company. All rights reserved. All other material Lifestyle Direct, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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