Distinctly Montana Magazine

Winter 2011

Distinctly Montana Magazine

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Montana Made DEPARTMENT Ranchermeets Buffalo: Raised on a cattle ranch in the big open of central Montana, John Wells, 65, readily admits that he’s in love with the American buffalo. He loves its intelligence and endurance. He loves its naturally lean and nutritious meat. During the holidays, he prefers it oven-roasted for an entire day. “Really slow. Really low,” he says. As owner of the Broken Willow Bison Ranch, near White Sulphur Springs, Montana, and producer of Two Feath- ers Buffalo Jerky & Snack Sticks and other bison products, Wells explains that all cuts of buffalo are cooked “pretty much the same way. You’ve got to cook it slower and lower than other meat and, because it’s lean, you eat it very, very pink. The key is low and slow and pink.” 56 Married for 45 years, the father of three grown children admits his love affair with the bison began in 1989, while helping a neighbor with his newly acquired herd. “That’s all it took,” he says. “Bison are so intelligent. They are so opposite of what they appear to be. They ap- pear to be slow and dumb. That’s so wrong. They’re not afraid of anything. They’re quick as a cat, very intelligent. They’re smart animals.” He continues, “You‘ve got to outsmart them. A lot of my calves go to traders who use them for cutting horses. If they used beef calves, the calves would play out. The train- ers can go through several sets a year. But with bison, the calves say, ‘This is fun. This is a game, and I can beat you at this.’ And they never wear out.” Wells also admires the bison when hunted. At one time, DISTINCTLY MONTANA • WINTER 2011

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