Eating ‘Keto’ (NOT a Law Article)

Several folks on social media wanted to know what I am eating that is “keto” compliant. I guess everyone will have a different level of interest in such things, but I’m going to show you all anyway because posting it once here is far easier than doing it directly on several different social media platforms. πŸ˜€

When it comes to food I prefer quick and simple over that of extended prep-time and a lot of dirty dishes to wash after a meal. I like it even better when the meal can be prepared in a single pot/crockpot or skillet in a very short amount of time. Enter Eddie’s personal invention for single entrΓ©e dining that meets each of these personal preferential conditions, BORK!

Bork is a very tasty mixture of beef, pork, and various fresh and/or frozen vegetables, spices and seasonings in an easy to cook single skillet meal. The minimal amount of your time initially spent in making up several pounds and freezing it is paid back with interest at every meal you make from it thereafter.

The wonderful thing about the “keto” way of eating is that you get to keep your nutritional ratios as close to 80% fat, 15% protein, and 5% carbohydrates as you can. This makes red meat and pork the largest percentage of your daily food consumption, which, as an avid meat-eater, makes it very much to my liking. However, like I said, I prefer that my actual meal-prep be both simple and uses as few dishes as possible.

When I am preparing Bork I tend to buy 2-4 of the large 10+ lbs. rolls of 73%/27% ground beef and several two-ish-pound packs of ground pork in a ratio of approximately 5 lbs. of beef to 2 lbs. of pork. I like it even better when I can find a butcher shop that can ground it up fresh AND mix in the pork at the same time at a reasonable price for everything.

I then mix the two together into one large mixture. I also tend to add my preferences of spices, seasonings, chia and ground flax seeds for additional omega 3s and fiber, a small portion of avocado oil, LOTS of fresh mushrooms, sweet white onions, bell peppers, shredded carrots, and an additional 5 lbs. of frozen stir fry vegetables that I grind up in my food processor. The fresh and frozen stir fry vegetables has a ratio of approximately 3-5 lbs. of veggies to every 15-20 lbs. of meat total. I usually process approximately 40-70 lbs. total at one time. Remember that most vegetables are comprised almost entirely of carbs rather than fat and protein, so we don’t want the vegetable ratio very high in relation to the meat mixture as a whole. They are there only for the added attractive colors, nutritional value, and flavor that they contain and provide.

The entire process only takes me about 3-6 hours to complete if I keep steadily at it, which also depends upon how much I am making at once, as bagging it up and removing the air bubbles takes longer than any other part of the process. You can use any herbs and spices you wish in whatever quantities suit your personal flavor preference. Just avoid those that contain excess sugar or starch. The brown ‘sauce’ you see in the pictures is a mixture of A-1 steak sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Avocado oil, and a small amount of BBQ sauce. You can use whatever sugar-free/minimal sauce you like or no sauce at all.

Once I have it all prepped and stacked on the table, I knead the entire mixture by hand like a huge ball of bread dough until everything is thoroughly mixed. Yes, other than the fresh vegetables, the meat and frozen veggie ingredients are very COLD, so you must do everything as quickly as possible to prevent feeling like you’re getting frostbite in your hands and fingers and avoid potential meat spoilage if it sits out for too many hours. Luckily you can easily work for 4-6 hours in a moderately cool kitchen without any problems as long as the meat is good and cold when you start the process. I usually let the meat sit in my fridge for a couple of days beforehand to make sure that it is cold through-and-through. I also highly recommend that you coat your hands and wrists or plastic food service gloves with avocado oil before you start kneading the meat and other ingredients together. The oil prevents the meat and spices from sticking and gumming up your hands, which makes washing them much easier afterward. This also means that you want to wash them REALLY WELL before starting if you are not using gloves.

I have included a series of pictures that show the entire process at individual stages of preparation and final freezer storage. I will eventually purchase a large meat-mixer like butcher’s use to make seasoned sausage to simplify and make the process easier and faster instead of having to mix everything by hand like I have to do right now.

Once I have everything mixed, I weigh it out using my digital food scale into exactly 1 lb. balls and place them individually into quart Ziplock freezer bags. I line up the unsealed bags in an upright position in several rows and columns on one side of my work area until it has all been bagged. When the meat mixture has all been bagged up, I wash my hands thoroughly to remove the avocado oil and meat remains so they are clean for the flattening and air removal process.

I usually prep several rows of empty freezer bags by rolling the top edge down over the bottom half so the bag will stand on its own and I won’t get any meat in the Ziplock tracks while putting it into the bag, which would spoil its ability to fully and properly seal. This also helps keep the outside of the bags from being contaminated and slippery by touching the meat. Every 10-20 bags I stop long enough to carry the filled bags to a refrigerator to begin cooling down again, where they remain until I have finished filling them with meat and they are all ready to be flattened and sealed. I then remove them from the refrigerator 20 bags at a time and stack that lot directly in the freezer after flattening and removing the air bubbles from all of them.

PRO TIP: If your freezer has spaced wire racks you should seriously consider using a piece of flat cardboard cut to size so you can line the entire shelf with it before stacking the meat packets so as to prevent the bottom bags from being squished around and freezing to the wire rack due to the weight of the entire stack.

I begin the air removal process by zipping the bag I’m working on until only a small corner remains unsealed. I then press the individual bags out as flat as possible, making sure that I remove all the empty space and air bubbles I possibly can by flattening and pushing them toward the open corner and then flipping it over as necessary to complete the process on both sides. ANOTHER PRO TIP: Be careful to avoid squeezing any meat out through the bag opening as this will result in the clogging of the Ziplock track in that corner and your bag won’t properly seal. Removing as much air as possible allows you to store the meat for much longer periods of time without loss by preventing freezer burn. Because it is now flat, I can easily stack a large number of these flattened bags in my freezer. This also keeps wasted freezer space to an absolute minimum.

I usually cook up three of the 1 lb. packs at a time and keep it in the fridge inside a sealed Tupperware storage bowl so I can heat up small portions for meals throughout the week. All you have to do to cook it is simply peel the plastic bag off the meat and place it in a lightly-oiled heated skillet for browning, which takes 5-10 minutes depending upon the temperature settings you use. The mixed in avocado oil prevents the bag from freezing and sticking directly to the meat. This method is far easier than letting the meat thaw before cooking it as it gets REALLY messy inside the bag once it thaws, making it much harder to get out of the bag cleanly. However, if you want to make hamburger patties with it you can either cut it into ‘Wendy’s’ square-shaped patties as it cooks or you will have to let it thaw and then form it into patties by hand before cooking. either way, it makes a REALLY juicy and delicious burger!! Just be sure that you are using a keto-friendly bread substitute.

It takes only a few extra minutes to make the full 3 lbs. that I usually cook at one time. After the meat has thoroughly browned you can continue cooking it uncovered for a while longer to steam off as much excess water as you can if you so choose, just don’t burn the meat! However, the excess water and oil won’t hurt anything, it just makes your tacos really runny and messier to eat if you leave too much in after cooking. You can also thicken the excess oil and water so it remains mixed with the meat by adding in almond or coconut flour during cooking. Use whatever quantity allows it to absorb the majority of the oil and water. For me, using coconut flour alters the overall flavor very little, though some folks still notice it. Be aware that this will extend your cooking time as this takes several extra minutes to accomplish. But it is still very delicious in the results. An important side-note here is that you should NOT drain the excess oil off the meat after cooking. DON’T WASTE IT BY THROWING IT AWAY!! Remember, the majority of that oil is very nutritious and relatively expensive avocado oil. It is added to the mixture not only for nutritional value and flavor, it also helps the meat remain moist instead of dried and crunchy like it would be once you cook out much of the excess water it contains. Use this excess oil by making an almond flour gravy or pouring it over a salad in place of dressing (or even with your dressing), as it is very flavorful at this point. Your taste mileage may vary, however. The other benefit of this mixture is that once you cook it you can’t really even tell that it has vegetables mixed in, making it easy to feed children and adults who normally won’t willingly eat their veggies. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

This 3 lbs. of browned Bork will usually last me for about an entire seven-day week (sometimes more). I usually eat just one or two meals a day, which is usually in the form of soft tacos. I spoon out about a 1-1.1/4 cup portion of the meat mixture into a smaller bowl to reheat and eat on the tacos. I use even less when cooking it to eat on top of nachos or in queso, or when eating it mixed with or alongside eggs for breakfast or dinner.

Besides Bork soft tacos, I also eat either venison and pork kielbasa sausage, pork chops, chicken, or various kinds of steak a couple of times a week for a change of pace and flavor, but Bork has become my main mealtime go-to.

When eating, keep your portions reasonable in size and EAT SLOWLY so that your body has time to register how much you’ve actually consumed. It normally takes your stomach twenty minutes to register just how full it is, so the faster you shovel food in the more you will consume before your stomach says stop. This is how people wind up feeling totally stuffed shortly after eating a big meal. The stomach finally caught up with the brain. Because of this time lapse, eating your food more slowly goes a long way toward preventing overeating. Stop eating when your stomach tells you it feels full, even if you think you have not eaten all that much and your mind is telling you that you should still need more in order to actually be full. For me, one meal is usually 4-6 of the 4″ soft corn taco shells you can see the package of in the last picture, filled with 1 – 1.5 tablespoons of the Bork mixture, a small cluster of leafy greens, and a small amount of shredded cheese per soft taco shell.

I also make my own sandwich spread to put into the tacos. The spread is made with a small amount of sweet pickle relish, Miracle Whip, Ranch Dressing, spicy brown mustard, a dash of Cayan pepper, minced garlic, 4 tablespoons of lemon/lime juice, and several other herbs and spices all mixed together. I store this in a gallon jug in my fridge and spread it lightly on the taco shells before putting everything else on them. Then you just roll them up and chow down!

Okay, here are the pictures of the process if you want to try this for yourself. Everyone that has tried this mixture has REALLY liked it and wanted me to make enough to sell them several pounds of it each time I make it. Your opinions and preferences may vary, but that isn’t my problem. πŸ˜€ I happen to find it very tasty and nutritious and eat it for just about every meal throughout most of the week.

Enjoy!

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