Bumpin’ Buffalo in chislic contest

By Jeff Smith

Chislic with some different Bumpin’ Buffalo menu items. The restaurant was selected for a contest to choose the best 10 chislic spots in the state.

Bumpin’ Buffalo was chosen as one of the 20 places in South Dakota competing to be South Dakota’s favorite chislic spot.

Chislic has been a South Dakota staple since the late 1800s and was brought here by German and Russian immigrants. Over the years, it has expanded from lamb to include beef as well, and is a tradition in many eastern South Dakotan families, and is now popular across the state. This year, it was even made the official state nosh by the state legislature to honor the iconic dish’s importance to the state.

The chislic at Bumpin’ Buffalo is marinated, deep fried and served medium rare. The meat is marinated for 4-5 days.

“Our chislic is made a different way. East river is so different from West river,” Bumpin’ Buffalo owner Michelle Olson said.

The east side of the state has mutton chislic and the west side of the state has beef chislic.

Olson said some people might come from the east side of the state and say that what Bumpin’ Buffalo has isn’t the right chislic but once it’s explained to them they understand. 

The chislic has always been one of the top sellers at the restaurant. Until this year it was the top seller but then the brikset took its place.

People come from all over for the Bumpin’ Buffalo chislic. One guy from Sweden revisits the restaurant every time he is in the area and orders the chislic.

Chef Terri Grundendike has been making the chislic for 12 years.

“The reason we deep fry is because it seals in all of the juice,” Grundendike said.

People can dip the chislic in the restaurant’s famous barbecue sauce or are encouraged to try a different local favorite. Diners can ask for the garlic salt or Bloody May mix.

“It’s really good for you because there is no fat at all,” Olson said.

At the beginning of the contest the Bumpin’ Buffalo chislic was at third place and then this week they were at fifth place. A lot of the other places are on the east side of the state. Bumpin’ Buffalo is the only place in the Black Hills that is in the competition. More people have been finding out about the contest and ordering the chislic.

USA Today 10Best recently launched an iconic state food series, which included the chislic contest for South Dakota. Keegan Carda, Global Media and Public Relations Representative with the South Dakota Department of Tourism, said that since they have a continued relationship with USA Today, 10Best contacted the South Dakota Department of Tourism to serve as an expert in helping select the list of South Dakota’s most famous chislic spots.

“With some help from our partners around the state, we were able to find a list of 20 to submit,” Carda said.

Janet Wetovick-Bily, executive director of the Hill City Area Chamber of Commerce, said that when she was contacted by the Department of Tourism the chamber office immediately called the chamber member restaurants who might serve the dish and submitted the names that were confirmed before deadline:  Horse Creek Inn Restaurant, Bumpin’ Buffalo and Chute Rooster.

“We received a notification and request for images from Bumpin’ Buffalo, worked with owner Michelle Olson and have passed them along. Now the open voting is on. We’ve posted this on our chamber Facebook page, shared it out and are encouraging our Hill City partners, friends, fans and followers to go and vote,” Wetovick-Bily said.

She said this is an example of the many ways the chamber supports SD tourism and promotes Hill City and its chamber members.

Carda said USA Today 10Best has a wide audience across the country and the world, so this is excellent exposure for restaurants and communities around the state.

“We hope that this encourages both South Dakotans and visitors to make a stop at one of these excellent restaurants and spend some time in these communities,” Carda said.

They also hope that it shows readers that South Dakota has its own unique food culture here that’s worth exploring.

The voting for the contest closes on Oct. 15 at 10 a.m. People can vote once per day until then.

Even if a restaurant doesn’t win, the top 10 restaurants will be on the USA TODAY 10Best website.

The top 10 winning restaurants will be announced on Friday, Oct. 26.

People can vote here: https://www.10best.com/awards/travel/best-chislic-in-south-dakota/