Paleo Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

Ribeyesby Karen Frazier

Jim is a meat lover. Man does that guy love his meat. If you put meat on top of meat, well he loves that even more. It’s why after his heart attack, I realized that the Paleo diet was the only way to go that would make him happy. I just couldn’t see him subsisting on a nearly vegetarian diet with a tiny amount of meat.

Fortunately, the research on the Paleo diet for people heart disease is very promising. After researching it extensively and talking to his cardiologist, this is where we settled. So far so good. He’s lost 30 pounds and his blood lipids are improving. His BP is low, and he is healthier than he has been in years.

It’s been great for me, too. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and celiac disease. Both are autoimmune conditions, and research is showing that Paleo diets work well for those. Since October 1, I have lost 55 pounds (and still going). I have more energy than I’ve had in years. My celiac disease is under control, and I just feel so much better in general. For us, it has vastly improved our health.

Anyway – meat on meat. I got a little sidetracked there with the whole health thing. And while health is super important, if you’re eating tasteless, unsatisfying food, any diet can be difficult to stick to. Since I am so invested in Jim’s good health–I want him around for years to come–I tailor the foods I make to his tastes. I want to make him do a happy dance at how delicious the foods I provide are. That means that sometimes, I put meat on meat. Which is where I came up with the idea for smoked rib eyes with bacon jam. Because seriously – yum.

The bacon jam is the perfect combination of sweet and sour with just a little bit of spice, while the smoky ribeye is the perfect canvas for it. Jim got a smoker a few years ago for Christmas and it is his pride and joy. If it came down to his smoker or me, I think he might choose the smoker. Fortunately, I’m happy that he spends time outside adding a little smokiness to meat, because it really brings the flavor to dishes like this. If you don’t have a smoker, no worries. Just cook the ribeye (or your favorite cut of beef) on the grill, or however you enjoy cooking it. My instructions below are for the smoker.

I served this dish with a sweet potato that I’d spiralized into pommes frites style shoestrings, fried in lard, and sprinkled with a bit of Himalayan pink salt. If that sounds like a super carby choice, it is not as bad as you would think. One five-inch sweet potato (peeled) in a spiralizer makes a huge batch of pommes frites, and it only has 26 grams of carbs. Between two people, it’s 13 grams of carbs each, minus about 3 grams of fiber for a net carb count of 10 grams. If you do fry up some sweet potato pommes frites, make sure your oil is 375 degrees Fahrenheit before you start to cook the potatoes, and work in batches.

I also added a side of sautéed citrus spinach. I’ll put the recipe below. I can’t actually eat a whole ribeye, or even half one, but it gives me a few meals. As for the leftover bacon jam, roll it in your omelet tomorrow morning or warm it up and put it over a fried egg.

Smoked Rib Eyes with Sweet and Sour Bacon Jam

  • 2 12-ounce grass fed rib eye steaks
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 6 slices bacon, cut into small dice
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into small dice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup raw organic apple cider vinegar
  • Zest and juice from 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha or 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons Swerve sweetener or 1 packet stevia
  1. Preheat your smoker to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Season the steaks generously with sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  3. Smoke the steaks for 50 minutes.
  4. While the steaks smoke, in a large sauté pan, brown the bacon over medium-high heat until the fat is rendered and the bacon is crisp. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon fat from the pan and set the bacon fat aside.
  5. Add the onion to the remaining fat and the bacon and cook it, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft, about five minutes.
  6. Add the garlic to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  7. Add the vinegar, thyme, sea salt, orange zest and orange juice, sriracha or red pepper flakes, and stevia or Swerve. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to medium. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid reduces and the flavors blend, about 20 minutes.
  8. Heat two tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the smoked rib eyes and cook until well browned, two minutes per side.
  9. Serve the bacon jam spooned over the top of the steak.

Sauteed Citrus Spinach

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, duck fat, lard, or bacon grease
  • 2 tablespoons minced shallot
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups organic fresh baby spinach
  • Juice and zest of half an orange
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  1. In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add the shallot and cook, stirring frequently, until shallot is soft, about four minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add the spinach, orange juice, orange zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the spinach wilts. Serve immediately.

photo credit: junehug via photopin cc

Steak Tacos

steak taco

by Karen Frazier

I love a good steak taco on a fresh corn tortilla with guacamole and pico di gallo over the top. It’s so delicious and relatively simple to make. If you’ve never made your own corn tortillas, they are totally worth the effort, and they’re pretty easy to do. Just purchase a simple cast iron tortilla press for under $20, and you’ll suddenly find all sorts of reasons to make fresh corn tortillas.

Note: Since we have started eating paleo, I still use the basic steak marinade recipe, but we skip the corn tortillas. Instead, we wrap the steak and guacamole in tender butter lettuce leaves for a delicious taco.

Steak Tacos

  • 1 (16 ounce) flat iron steak
  • 6 scallions, roots removed and roughly chopped (including green parts)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 recipe corn tortillas (recipe follows) (omit for paleo/whole30)
  • 1 recipe guacamole
  • 1 recipe pico di gallo (recipe follows)
  • Butter lettuce leaves (for paleo or whole30)
  1. Prick the flat iron steak with a fork several times on both sides and season it with salt and pepper. Put the flat iron steak in a large zipper bag.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the scallions, garlic, jalapeño, cilantro, salt, lime juice, and olive oil. Pulse the food processor for 10 to 20 one-second pulses, until the vegetables and herbs are finely chopped. Set aside one tablespoon of this mixture and refrigerate in a small container.
  3. Scrape the remaining herb mixture into the bag with the flat iron steak. Squeeze the bag to distribute the herb paste so it completely covers the steak. Refrigerate the steak and allow it to marinade for about three hours.
  4. When you’re ready to assemble the tacos, scrape the herb paste off of the steak and discard it. In a large sauté pan (I use cast iron) set on medium high, heat some olive oil until it shimmers. Add the steak and cook three to four minutes per side for medium rare. Set the cooked meat aside tented with foil while you prepare the tortillas and pico di gallo.
  5. Cut the meat on the bias into thin strips. Put the warm strips of meat in a bowl and toss with the reserved herb paste.
  6. To assemble, place the meat on the corn tortillas or lettuce leaves. Top with a dollop of guacamole and some pico di gallo.

Corn Tortillas

  • 1 3/4 cup masa harina
  • 1 1/8 cup water
  • Pinch salt
  • Juice of one lime
  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients until the form a ball of dough.
  2. Separate the dough into 15 equal sized balls and cover them with a damp cloth.
  3. Working one ball at a time, press it on the tortilla press (or roll it out into a thin tortilla shape).
  4. Heat a cast iron pan over medium heat. Cook the tortillas one at a time, about three minutes per side until. Wrap the tortillas in a towel to keep them warm until you are ready to serve them.

Pico di Gallo

  • 1 large heirloom tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
  • Dash salt
  • Juice of one lime

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

photo credit: calamity_hane

Perfect Steakhouse Steak

Steak dinnerHere’s the thing about cooking steak. Sure, it tastes pretty good most of the time no matter what you do to it, but there are methods you can use that render it otherworldly. It’s the reason steakhouses are so popular. They have equipment that allows them to cook the steak to the perfect level of doneness, with a caramelized brown crust on the outside and the perfect juicy, pink interior.

Many people find these results difficult to achieve at home. I started experimenting with a method Cook’s Illustrated recommended for cooking filet mignon and found it transfers well to all steaks, especially thick ones.

I am a huge fan of Cook’s Illustrated. Even if you never cook one of their recipes, reading their magazine and cookbooks from cover to cover will provide you with an amazing cooking education.

What Cook’s Illustrated recommends to make perfect filet mignon is to par-cook it at a low temperature oven and finish it with a sear on a very hot stovetop. For a 1 to 1-1/2 ” thick filet mignon, 20 minutes at about 275° F does the trick. For other cuts like thick cut rib-eyes or porterhouses, you will need between 30 and 45 minutes depending on the size and thickness of the steak. When you remove them from the oven, they should be slightly browned on the outside but still have a distinctly pinkish cast. A quick touch to the steak should be quite soft and yielding, but not squishy.

I like filet mignon for its tenderness, but I am not a huge fan of its flavor. Because of this, I feel it is a steak ripe for a good pan sauce. I like to make mine with a tawny Port-tarragon sauce.

Filet Mignon with Port-Tarragon Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 to 4 1-1/2″ to 2″ thick filet mignon steaks
  • Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbsp. clarified butter
  • 1/2 to 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1/4 to  1/2 cup tawny Port
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, cut into 1″ pieces and chilled so it is very cold
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 275° F.
  2. Place steaks on a rack placed over a baking sheet and season with salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
  3. Cook steaks for 20 – 25 minutes.
  4. Heat butter in a saute pan over high heat. If you like, you can also use grapeseed oil. Though it lacks the flavor of butter, it has a high smoke point.
  5. Saute steaks for two minutes on each side without moving them until it is time to flip them.
  6. Remove steaks from pan and set aside, tented with foil.
  7. Reduce heat to medium and deglaze the pan with Tawny port, taking care to scrape all of the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden spoon.
  8. Add shallot and allow to simmer until liquid is reduced and syrupy. It should coat the back of a spoon.
  9. Whisk in butter, staring with one piece and allowing it to fully incorporate before adding a second. Add 3-4 pieces of butter separately, and then add a few at a time, whisking continuously, until butter is incorporated and sauce is thick and creamy.
  10. Remove from heat and stir in the tarragon.
  11. Spoon over steaks, and serve immediately.

Serve with a nicely aged Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux blend wine. A young Cab may be a bit too heavy for the delicate sauce. A personal favorite is Spring Valley Uriah, a Washington State wine that incorporates a variety of Bordeaux varietals in a Merlot base. Januik Winery, another Washington State winery, also makes consistently good Cabernet Sauvignon wines.