Thursday, February 24, 2011

Yak: it's what's for dinner

We are not vegetarians over here at our house. Let me just say that right up front. My body isn't able to process and utilize non-heme iron, my husband and daughter are both allergic to most vegetable sources of protein (tree nuts, soy and assorted other legumes), and besides, meat is delicious! So we eat it fairly often.

I have, however, tried to source our meat as responsibly as possible. We buy a lot of meat at our local farmer's markets, which offer sustainably raised meats from small farms and ranches here in Texas. We've been lucky enough not only to purchase local, responsibly raised "traditional" meats like beef, pork and chicken, but also "alternative" meats like lamb, goat and bison. And now? Yak! For reals!

When I heard that Texas Yaks was selling at our local Saturday farmer's market, I couldn't wait to get hold of some yak meat. Yak is naturally 95 to 97% lean because like bison, the fat grows in a separate layer from the muscle rather than being marbled through the meat (as with cows). It's lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and triglycerides than beef, but high in protein, Omega 3 and other good-for-you fats. Ounce-for-ounce, yak is even lower in calories than skinless chicken breast!

So this weekend at the market I bought one pound of ground yak, just to try it out. The ground yak from Texas Yaks is normally $6 per pound, but on Saturday it was on sale for $5. Either price is very good for pastured meat sold in this area. I wasn't quite sure how I wanted to prepare it at first, but in the end I settled on burgers. We eat a lot of grass-fed beef burgers as well as bison burgers, and this would let us compare the yak to those meats.

The verdict?

Kathy: LOVED the yak. To me it had a very similar appearance, both raw and cooked, to bison. However, the yak seemed more juicy after grilling. The flavor and aroma were quite mild and not even a little bit gamey. It tasted almost like a cross between bison and veal.

The Husband: Loved the yak as well. He said he liked it even better than bison!

The Son: Scarfed down his burger at record speed. Said it tasted like bison to him.

The Daughter: No comment; she was too busy eating her ENTIRE BURGER, which almost never happens. I'm counting it a win.

Our family gives the ground yak from Texas Yaks a solid four out of four stars! I definitely will buy this again at our local market, and would love to try some of the other cuts available. (Yak ribeyes? Yes, please!)

(Oh, and please pretend there's a picture of a delicious,  juicy yak burger connected to this post. We were too busy inhaling them to photograph them.)


  1. Yak?
    We're lucky we can get some beef ovah yeah ...!
    Rock your yak dudes.

  2. this post makes me wish I still ate red meat.

  3. You all had a Big Yak Attack!
    I did get my kids to try and like gator. Of course, it was deep fried by a gator expert.

  4. Very cool. I've never tried yak but we are big meat-eaters here, too, so I think I must expand our horizons. A grilled burger of any sort sounds so, so good right about now.

  5. Kathy, the first time I made yak burgers (with the intent of taking a picture and posting it on the website), I took a bite of my burger and then remembered the whole purpose of cooking the yak burger. That's why there's a bite taken out of the burger in my picture. Thanks for trying the yak and I'm glad your family loved it! Alicia