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Kirk's Traveling Kitchen News and Blog

Dispatch from Lone Mountain Ranch, Montana

Kirk Warner

Besides the expectation of a lot of meat (Bison/Elk/Etc.), I had pretty low expectations when I traveled recently to the great state of Montana. I knew that it would be stunning with incredible wilderness vistas, but I don’t think it would insult any native Montanans to say it is not commonly thought of as a great“food” destination. However, I was pleasantly surprised after my first meal at Lone Mountain Ranch just outside Big Sky. A pretty remote spot with a homey lodge that served some of the most creative wilderness cuisine I can imagine. In a place where the growing months are few, the quality and variety of the produce was really impressive. If you’re looking to explore the amazing landscape of Montana, but don’t want to sacrifice your palate I highly recommend Lone Mountain Ranch.

Here’s a recipe for my Braised Bison Ragu that goes amazingly well with Gnocchi:

Recipe Card for Item: Braised Bison Ragout with Chipotle BBQ Sauce

Quantity Produced:  Serves 8


Bison Chuck, Brisket or Sirloin, Trimmed/Cubed                 3#

Onion, Minced                                                                        1 Medium

Garlic, Minced                                                                        4 Cloves

Carrot, Shredded                                                                     2 Large

Celery, Minced                                                                        2 Stalks

Tuscan Kale or Swiss Chard, Sliced Thin (optional)              2 Cups


For the BBQ Sauce:

Ketchup                                              1 Cup

Canned Tomatoes, Diced                   1 Cup

Onion, Minced                                   ½ Cup

Water                                                  ½ Cup

Chipotle Chiles in Adobo                   1 Small Can, Chopped

Brown Sugar                                       ½ Cup

Vegetable Oil                                      2 Tablespoons

Apple Cider Vinegar                           2 Tablespoons

Worcestershire Sauce                         1 Tablespoon

Garlic, Minced                                    2 Cloves

Celery Salt or Kosher Salt                  To Taste

Freshly Ground Black Pepper             To Taste

Water or Chicken Stock                       as needed

Preparation Procedure-

For the Sauce, heat oil in a sauce pan. Add onions and garlic. Sauté until soft. Stir in brown sugar, celery salt and black pepper. Add remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce thickens. Meanwhile in a heavy bottomed pot, heat small amount of oil and brown bison thoroughly, 15 minutes or so. Add vegetables (except kale/chard) and sauté until fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the BBQ sauce to the browned meat and turn the heat to simmer. Cook, stirring frequently, for 45-50 minutes or until the meat is very tender. Add kale, and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Adjust consistency with water or stock and serve over pasta or gnocchi.