Beard Foundation Best Chef South nominee Jesse Houston is an overland enthusiast and outdoors lover who calls Jackson, Mississippi home. Houston is currently the Executive Chef at Fine & Dandy, and when he’s not creating mouth watering food (with dishes such as a Chicken & Waffle Stack), you can find him off-road and outdoors cooking over an open flame.
There is *nothing* better than a fully prepared dinner in the outdoors, so I asked Jesse to share one of his favorite open fire recipes. And in true southern fashion, he graciously obliged. Here is his recipe for Ribeye Steak with a Jalapeno Emulsion and Cowboy Beans in its full glory. Note that there is some advance planning and preparation involved with the meal components, but I always find this type of advance meal prep makes it easier to cook once your camp kitchen is set up and you are disconnected from the daily grind. Also, the portions on this recipe are ample! Especially the Cowboy Beans. Consider this side as an option the next time you’re out with a group.
To say that I’m excited to give these recipes a go next time we’re out is an understatement. Please enjoy and feel free to share! – Corrie
Ribeye Done Right
This is the centerpiece of your meal! Here is Houston’s ribeye rundown in his own words:
- You’ll want to take your steak and very generously sprinkle salt on both sides. Never be afraid of too much salt on a thick piece of steak. Next, grind or sprinkle black pepper on both sides as well.
- Depending on the thickness of the steak, you may want to just leave it to “warm” to room temperature before grilling. (In the case of my steak, outside was much colder than even my refrigerator, and my steak was a bit on the thin side, so I didn’t worry about it.)
- Next up, get a cast iron skillet super hot. I placed my skillet directly on top of the glowing coals and left it for about 5 minutes.
- Before adding the steak, I drizzled in some olive/canola blend oil that has a much higher smoking point than regular olive oil and wouldn’t burn right away like butter (good olive oil would have solidified in those cold winter temps anyway!).
- Next up, gently place your steak in the skillet, dropping the end your fingers are holding away from you to avoid any hot oil splashing back on you.
- If you have a bacon press, now’s the time to use it on the steak to ensure a nice, even sear and crust.
- After about 3 minutes, or more depending on the thickness of your steak, flip it and press again, but only press for maybe 1 minute on the opposite side.
- Take a whole head of garlic and split it in half along its equator. Drop the cut end into the bottom of the skillet (you can use several peeled garlic cloves instead), followed by at least 4-6 tablespoons of butter. If you have fresh herbs like thyme, sage or bay leaves, now’s the time to add those as well.
9. Using an oven mitt or heat resistant gloves, grab the handle end of your skillet and tilt it slightly towards you so that the foaming butter pools near the handle. Use a spoon to baste the butter over the steak as it infuses with the flavors of the garlic and herbs. The butter will brown, creating its wonderful aroma as well. Baste for about 2 minutes before removing your steak.
The goal for this steak is medium rare with these times, but that will depend on the size of your steak. You can always temp the inside of the steak to 125 degrees with an instant read thermometer to achieve the best results.
Allow the steak to rest for a couple of minutes before slicing so that it stays nice and juicy.”
3 cups Diced Bacon
2 1/2 cups Roasted Onion, Diced
1 3/4 cups Roasted Jalapeno, Seeded & Diced
4 teaspoons Garlic, Minced
3 1/2 cups Roasted Tomatoes, Cored & Diced
4 – 15 oz cans White Beans, Drained & Washed
1 gallon Chicken Stock
1 can Beer
2 each Bay Leaves
3 tablespoons Dried Whole Oregano
2 tablespoons & 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
2 teaspoons Taco Seasoning
4 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
2 cups BBQ Sauce
- Peel 2 onions and cut them in half. Place them on a grill above the flame, char both sides. Dice them.
- Place 8 jalapenos on a grill over the flame and roast, turning frequently, until the jalapenos are charred. Cut the stems off, peel the charred skin off, split them in half and scrape the seeds out. Dice them.
- Remove the cores from 4 large tomatoes and place them on the grill to char. Once charred, peel the skin off and dice.
- Place the dutch oven over a high flame and add in the diced bacon. Cook until the bacon is browned.
- Add in the diced roasted onions, jalapenos and the minced garlic. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the roasted tomatoes and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom.
- Add in the rinsed white beans, chicken stock, beer, bay leaves and oregano. Bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.
- Add in the remaining ingredients, stir well, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.
Tip: The cowboy beans are always better the next day! You can also substitute the white beans for pinto beans.
Prepare this in advance!
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3/4 Cup Sliced Onions
1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
1 Cup Jalapeno, Roasted, Peeled & Seeded
1/3 Cup White Wine
2 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream
4 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1/2 Cup Cilantro Leaves
1 1/2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
- Char jalapenos over an open flame or roast in an oven. Remove the stems, seeds and skin.
- Place a sauce pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.
- Add in the onions and garlic and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onions are transluscent and not browned.
- Next add in the roasted, peeled and seeded jalapenos and continue to saute for a few minutes longer.
- Pour in the white wine and bring it to a simmer. Reduce by half before adding in the heavy cream.
- Bring to a low simmer and allow to cook for an additional 15 minutes.
- Transfer the contents from the sauce pot into a blender and puree on low, gradually increasing speed to high. Add the cilantro, all of the lime juice and salt and puree to a smooth consistency.
- Pour the sauce through a strainer to remove any stringy bits. Serve Warm.
Tip: Make this sauce ahead of time at home. Pack it in small storage containers and bring it along with you. Just reheat on a camp stove or over a fire.
Got any outdoor camp cooking suggestions? Leave a comment below and let us know!