Who said eating low-carb can’t be fun? BBQ Pulled Pork anyone!
One of the biggest challenges for me, keeping low-carb in the summer, is BBQ sauce. I love ribs, BBQ pulled pork and anything else you can slather that yummy, spicy, sticky sauce on. I have made my own low carb version and may perfect that recipe in the future and share it with you but for now, as my 12 year old daughter says, “Ain’t-nobody-got-time-for-that!”
There are plenty of bottled BBQ sauces on the market but most have way too many carbs to even be considered low-carb some over 20 grams per serving so read those labels carefully. I have recently found an exceptional brand – JB’s Best, that is infused with beer and has the lowest carbs of all bottled BBQ sauces – around *4-6 grams. I use several spicy and not so spicy varieties in the BBQ pulled pork recipe below.
This is not a complicated meal to prepare and it feeds around 10-12 people affordably and heavenly.
The secret is in the spices! I use the southern-style, Penzeys – 33rd and Galena, Chicken and Pork Rub which is mixture of black pepper, paprika, nutmeg, sage, cayenne, red pepper and basil.
Be sure to have all the ingredients on hand to make our coleslaw recipe to go with. This meal would not be the same without it. My wife Lisa claims she wants this to be her “last meal on earth” – no kidding.. she said that – It’s that good!
Now many hard-core BBQ enthusiasts would argue that using a crock pot is not serious BBQ but hey… don’t knock it till you try it! This is one of those quick prep time, set-it-and-forget-it deals so you can go about your day and have an amazing dinner ready 8 hrs later for a small crowd. Either that or you will just have to enjoy the left-overs for days.. and you will as it is just as good the second day. Can I get a Yeeehaa!?
- 5-6 lbs Pork Butt - fat trimmed
- 3 tbsp Pensey's - 33rd and Galena, Chicken and Pork Rub
- Salt and Pepper - fresh ground
- 1.5 tbsp Olive oil
- 3/4 cup JB's Best, Ghost Pepper BBQ Sauce - to cook in
- 3/4 cup JB's Best, Ancho Peach BBQ Sauce - to cook in (alternate - Stubbs Original)
- Extra JB's Best, Blazin Bacon BBQ Sauce - to serve over cooked pork
- 1 cup of water
- Trim fat from pork butt.
- Cut into 4 inch cubes.
- Salt and pepper all sides.
- Dust with Pensey's spice rub on all sides.
- In batches, brown each side of pork in a large dutch oven or similar pot.
- Transfer browned pork to crock pot.
- Add BBQ sauces.
- Add Water.
- Cover and set crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 8 hours depending on what you have to do that day.
- Once done, use several paper towel strips to remove oil that has collected at the top of the pot.
- With 2 forks pull the pork apart and mix in with the juices in the crock pot.
- Serve topped with JB's Best, Blazin Bacon BBQ Sauce
- If you prefer less heat top with JB's Best, Ancho Peach or one of their other less hot varieties.
- Warning - Go easy on the BBQ sauce on top - 2 tbsp have 4-6 grams of carbs. Hopefully you planned ahead and saved your daily carb intake for this meal!
- 1/2 medium cabbage - sliced thin
- 1 large red bell pepper - sliced thin
- 1/2 bulb fresh fennel - sliced thin
- 1 medium onion - sliced thin
- 2 green onions - chopped
- 1 cup of mayonnaise
- 1 large lemon - juiced
- 1 1/4 tbsp of fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large bowl add all the veggies sliced very thin - use a mandoline slicer if needed.
- In a smaller bowl wisk together the mayo, lemon juice, and pepper.
- Toss the veggies with the dressing.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
On a side note – Jonathan and crew have hit it out of the park with their Vino De Milo, line of wine-infused salad dressings that have only 1-2 grams of carbs per serving. I have yet to try these but look forward to it as they do look amazing.
As an alternate brand I have found Stubb’s, Original Recipe to have only 5 net grams of carbs per serving and they make some great BBQ sauces as well.
As a suggestion you may want to wait until you have hit a weight loss goal before trying this recipe. It’s hard to eat just 1 serving and the chances that you are gonna get kicked out of ketosis are pretty high. Hopefully you have a short cut in place to get you back on track come Monday morning!
My first Zucchini Carbonara was a huge hit.
One of the great surprises for me of this ketogenic lifestyle is the complete reversal of things, that in the past were clearly bad for you, now with a few tweaks becoming health foods. Zucchini Carbonara is one of those happy surprises.
In the past Carbonara was a decadent dish you could only order a few times a year and only at special locations that perfected the dish and only if you had a strong heart.
Carbone’s in Bloomfield is our favorite spot for to-die-for Carbonara – my daughter Brynn’s favorite dish. She’s 12 and weighs in at about 75 lbs. soaking wet so there is always extra bites of Carbonara that my wife and I sample until we are both off the keto rails. See exibit A!
As a stocking stuffer I received my first veggie-spiral-slicer for making zucchini noodles and other veggie / pasta like substitutions. After blowing out of ketosis on our last visit to Carbone’s I decided to give the spiral slicer a go – I mean everything else in the dish is keto-friendly so why not add this to our weekly possibility of menu items. Pair this with a glass of Tuscan red wine and you will be transported to another land.
- 3 large zucchini - spiral sliced as noodles - use the larger size spiral
- 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces pancetta - sliced 1/4 inch thick then 1/4 inch diced
- 1 large shallot - finely chopped
- 1 large garlic clove - finely chopped
- 1 large portobello mushroom top - sliced 1/8 inch and halved
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup Parmigiano Reggiano - grated
- 1/2 cup Pecorino Romano - grated
- 3 large egg yolks
- Fresh ground salt and pepper
- 2 tbs coarsely chopped parsley
- Put a large pot of salted water on and bring to a boil.
- In a large skillet heat the oil. Add the pancetta and cook over med heat until most of the fat is rendered, 7 minutes or so.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes.
- Add the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Cook the zucchini noodles in the boiling water for 4 minutes.
- Add the cream and simmer over med heat until thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Add the hot noodles to the skillet and stir to coat. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the cheeses - reserve some for later.
- Stir in the egg yolks.
- Sprinkle with parsley and fresh ground pepper.
- Serve with reserved cheese for the table.
- If you need more liquid in the sauce you can add a little of the pasta (zucchini) water.
- You can also add 1 sweet italian sausage patty when you are rendering the pancetta if you want to kick this up a notch!
I have been making this pork chop recipe all of my life.
Some of the best recipes we always seem to come back to become standard choices for a quick weeknight, crank-it-out dinner solution. This easy pork chop recipe I learned from a family friend when I was 10 years old. Been making pork chops this way ever since. Pork chops are generally pretty cheap which make this a really affordable option that is low in carbs but big on taste.
Every once in a while we splurge and go for a better quality locally raised pork chop that is a completely different breed all together. The pasture-raised, Berkshire Pork from Green Valley Farm in Eastford, CT is worth the extra dollars – you have not tasted good pork unless you have tried some from here. And… they ship anywhere!
Back to my youth! The cut of pork chop does not really matter so much as this recipe will elevate any variety. The key to grilling pork so that it does not dry out is to make sure of a few things.
- Be sure the pork chops are at room temp before you grill.
- Make sure the grill is very hot when you place the chops – makes for great grill marks.
- Immediately turn down the heat to low-med so the chops cook slow.
Pork chops that cook too fast will dry out easily and no one likes a dry pork chop. As a kid growing up in NY I was fortunate to have a gas oven with a salamander broiler so the results broiling these pork chops under a flame was impressive. It’s just a few ingredients so I hope you will try this soon and report back.
- 4 Pork Chops - bone in - any cut (aprox. 1 inch thick or better)
- 3 tbs. French's yellow mustard
- 3 tbs. soy sauce or tamari sauce for those gluten free folks.
- Fresh ground salt and pepper.
- Take out pork chops ahead so they are at room temperature.
- Pre-heat grill on high.
- Grind fresh pepper on both sides of pork chops - lightly salt as well.
- Spread mustard over both sides of pork chops.
- Shake soy sauce over pork chops.
- Using a fork, mop one pork chop on another until yellow mustard and soy sauce turns a little brown and are well coated.
- Place pork chops on hot grill - drizzle with any extra sauce from the plate.
- Turn down grill to med-low.
- Turn chops a quarter turn after 4 minutes.
- Turn chops over after another 4 minutes.
- Cook until done another 6-8 minutes.
- Serve hot off the grill.
As a kid you probably called it Kitchen Cacciatore too.
One of my absolute favorite dishes my mom would make when I was a kid was Chicken Cacciatore. I used to call it “Kitchen Cacciatore” and the name just stuck. Her recipe was a simple one that she got from Weight Watchers way back in the day.
Every time I have this dish the distinct flavor brings me back to earlier days.
What I remember most is that this combination of chicken, tomato and spices served with white rice was my kryptonite – I would eat the entire batch at dinner until there was none left.
Last night I made a higher end version of this amazing dish and as predicted, there where NO leftovers! Served with cauliflower mash in leu of the traditional white rice and some broccoli rabe and there where clean plates all around.
- 10 chicken thighs - skins removed and fat trimmed. Substitute in some breasts if you like white meat.
- 1 tablespoon each fresh ground salt and pepper. More to taste.
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped (I used a mix of red and orange peppers)
- 1 onion, chopped (I used leeks as an option - about a 1.5 cups)
- 1/2 cup fresh fennel, chopped.
- 1 cup fresh baby bella mushrooms - quartered.
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
- 3/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 cups fresh cherry or marzano cherry tomatoes - chopped with juices
- 3/4 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
- 2.5 tablespoons drained capers
- 2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves - chopped
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- Sprinkle the chicken pieces with 1 teaspoon of each salt and pepper.
- In a large heavy saute pan, heat the oil over a medium-high flame. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and saute just until brown, about 5 minutes per side. If all the chicken does not fit in the pan, saute it in 2 batches.
- Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add the bell pepper, onion, fennel and garlic to the same pan and saute over medium heat until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes with their juice, chicken broth, capers, oregano, basil and mushrooms.
- Place the chicken single layer in a 8x10 baking dish.
- Cover chicken with veggies, herbs and liquid from the pan.
- Place in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
- Serve the chicken over mashed cauliflower spooning the juices and veggies over the top.
- You can braise the chicken on the stove top on med high heat for 30 minutes if you start with a large dutch oven when making this recipe.
- 1 - 28oz can of whole san marzano tomatoes can also be used in place of fresh.
- This recipe assumes 2 pieces each but as I mentioned you may need to add more chicken or less people as this is soooo good.
Finally, simple pot roast weather is here in the Northeast.
Here is a relatively quick and delicious, set it and forget, simple pot roast that will make the house smell great in anticipation for dinner time. You have to plan ahead a little but once it’s in the oven you don’t have to even look at it till it’s done and time to eat – 3 hours later. Think of all you can get done in 3 hours! Served with a side of cauliflower mash and a spinach & sprout salad and you’ll be a hero to everyone at the table.
- 3 pound chuck roast - angus beef boneless
- 3 tbs olive oil
- 1.5 large onions - quartered
- 1.5 large carrots
- 1.5 cups fresh fennel bulb - quartered in large wedges
- salt and pepper - fresh ground
- 1 cup dry red wine (optional)
- 3 cups of beef broth
- 3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
- Generously salt and pepper the chuck roast.
- Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.
- Throw the carrots and the fennel into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots and fennel with the onions.
- If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot.
- Place the well seasoned meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
- With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.
- Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.
- Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours.
- The roast is ready when it's fall-apart tender.
- Much of the veggies that go into the pot are for flavor. You may have a carrot or 2 with your beef but limit yourself as they are higher carb. Stick with the fennel and some onions.
- Be sure to add some healthy fat to your side dishes to get the ratios more in line with all the protein in this dish.
Not sure how this happened… but I somehow made it 48 years on this planet without ever having tried a Lamb Burger. If you happen to be suffering from this same oversight – no worries I have a solution and a recipe for you that will correct this culinary deficiency. A tipping point must of happened sometime last year as lamb burgers began showing up as specials at some of our favorite restaurants and being a lover of lamb I had my first.
Growing up in Astoria Queens NY, I had my fair share of pita wrapped lamb Souvlaki from a region some would argue as having the best Greek Food in the city.
It’s no wonder my taste buds long for those flavors of the past done so simple and so well. The tzatziki, onions and tomatoes would blend to require extra napkins as I reached the tail end. I make different cuts of lamb in various fashions but my go-to quick weeknight favorite is this recipe below. It is actually based on a Charmoula lamb burger recipe of Moroccan origin but served with a greek salad I am home again.
Good quality ground lamb is easy to find in most supermarkets these days – my favorite is from Cedar Springs which claims, “restaurant quality”. As for the Tzatiki the folks over at Sabra (the Humus people) have nailed it so I do not bother making my own. I often add Kale to my greek salad to change things up but be aware, kale has a few more carbs than romaine.
- 1.5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 3/4 tsp ground coriander
- 3/4 tsp sweet paprika
- 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
- 1 pound ground lamb (not lean)
- 1/8 cup feta cheese - crumbled
- In a large glass bowl add the ground lamb.
- On a cutting board mash the garlic with salt with the edge of a large chef knife to make a paste.
- Evenly spread the garlic paste on the lamb.
- Mix the cumin, coriander, paprika. cinnamon, and cayenne in a small bowl.
- Evenly sprinkle the spices over the lamb.
- Add the cilantro and the crumbled feta cheese.
- With your hands mix well being careful not to over work the lamb.
- Form 2 burgers with a burger press.
- Grill on med high heat for about 8 min per side for med rare.
- 2 tbsp of the Sabra Tzatziki has - 2 grams carbs, 2.5 grams of fat, 40 calories.
My wife Lisa and her family have been making this pork tenderloin recipe for decades. We used to serve it with rice and in recent years shied away from it because like most people we were programmed to think heavy cream (fat) was the enemy. And…
If you are eating a usual high carb diet then adding heavy cream to the mix will indeed add density to your waistline.
Now that we spend most of our days in ketosis we have re-introduced this favorite to our monthly menu. The kids still get the rice but my wife and I opt for sauteed broccoli rabe or mashed cauliflower and a salad to go with. It’s good to be Keto!
- 2 lbs pork tenderloin - about 2 loins
- 1.5 tbsp EV olive oil.
- fresh ground salt and pepper.
- 1.5 tbsp fresh tarragon - chopped fine
- 2 tsp country dijon mustard
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- Make sure the pork is room temperature.
- Dust with salt and pepper.
- Drizzle olive oil and coat pork on all sides.
- Put pork on a preheated grill - reduce heat to medium - medium low.
- Grill pork on both sides about 8 minutes per side for medium.
- Remove from heat, cover and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Slice pork 1/4 inch slices on an angle.
- In a small sauce pan combine mustard, tarragon, and cream.
- Simmer on very low for 10 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir occasionally.
- Be careful not boil sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the pork.
Good friends of ours, Stan and Suzie shared this recipe years ago and I have been making Suzies Moms’ Meatballs ever since. If you can find a friend of Italian heritage that is willing to part with her family recipe – learn it and love it as we have.
It’s simple and yet authentic and always makes the kitchen smell so good.
Thanks Suzie! I have only adjusted one thing to make these lower carb and you would never know!
- 2 lbs Ground Meatloaf Mix (Pork, Beef, Veal)
- 2 eggs
- 1.5 cups Pecorino Romano cheese (reserve some for sprinkle later)
- 1/3 cup almond meal or flour
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 2 large cloves fresh minced garlic
- 2 tsp each fresh ground salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp EV olive oil
- 28oz can San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes
- 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 large cloves fresh minced garlic
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- 6 leaves fresh chopped basil
- fresh ground salt and pepper to taste
- In a large glass bowl add first 7 ingredients.
- Gently mix well.
- Heat a large dutch oven or similar large pot on medium heat with olive oil.
- Form meatballs approximately 2" round. (around 12)
- In batches brown meatballs on all sides.
- Set browned meatballs aside on a plate.
- Add onions and tomato paste to pot and cook using meatball oil still in the pot.
- Sauté 3-5 min.
- Then sauté in the garlic and parsley.
- Add the can of tomatoes and juice.
- Mash up the tomatoes with a large spoon or tongs.
- Add basil.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Place meatballs single layer in the pot and add any drippings.
- Cover and simmer on low for 30 minutes max.
- Stir occasionally.
- This is a fresh sauce and should only cook for 30 minutes max. If it gets dark it is burnt!
- 4 cups Spaghetti squash - Aprox. 1 large.
- fresh ground salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
- Cut the squash in half the long way.
- Scrape out the seeds
- Season with fresh ground salt and pepper.
- Place in a microwave safe plastic bag. Pierce the bag with a few vent holes
- Microwave on high for 10 minutes or until a fork can pierce the flesh easily.
- Shred flesh with a fork.
- Add butter. (optional)
- I'm not really a fan of Microwave cooking but my wife Lisa makes it this way and it comes out amazing every time.
- Net carb count on a cup of Spaghetti squash is only 5 grams.
My Infamous Caesar Salad has been know by family and friends for decades. I experienced my first table side Caesar Salad back in the late 80’s at La Vie n Rose on the Berlin Turnpike. I was blown away… asked the waiter for the recipe and have been mashing forks in a large Vermont hand-carved wooden bowl ever since. More recently,
I found a great version in Unionville CT, made table-side by a native New Orleans Restauranteur transplant named Matthew at his upscale restaurant of the same name.
His version was slightly different but amazing all the same. I always enjoyed our conversations as I watched his moves carefully in order to improve my skills. By chance, Lisa and I were there for dinner the night after Matthew passed away suddenly. He will be missed by many who enjoyed his stories and his creole inspired cuisine. As an homage to the former owner, his 2 large Wooden Caesar Salad bowls still adorn the new space refreshed by Cure which has recently opened in its place.
Matthew dazzling with Bananas Foster.
So my recipe below comes from years of study and has been adapted for a lower carb lifestyle and a quicker and creamier execution as we make this recipe weekly. If you’re lucky, you will have some extra dressing for a lunch Caesar salad the next day. I usually add some prosciutto di parma for my leftover lunch version.
- 1 large clove of garlic
- 7 anchovies
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
- 1 tsp of dried oregano
- 1.5 tbsp mustard powder ( dijon mustard is also an option)
- 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 egg yolk - coddled
- 1/4 cup EV olive oil
- 1/4 cup avocado oil
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 1.5 cups grated and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 10 fried pork skins (chichamarrones)
- 2 hearts of romaine
- In a mini-prep processor add the garlic, anchovies, ground pepper, and lemon juice.
- Blend until well combined.
- Add oregano, mustard powder, worcestershire sauce, and egg yolk.
- Blend until well combined.
- Drizzle olive oil and then avocado oil slowly as you blend until creamy.
- In a large bowl - tear lettuce, by hand only to large bite sized pieces. Discard green tops.
- Grate 1 cups of the Parmigiano cheese. Shave the other 1/2 cup - set aside.
- Toss the salad with dressing until well coated.
- Add the grated Parmigiano - toss well.
- Sprinkle the red wine vinegar and toss again.
- Add the shaved Parmigiano - toss well.
- Add the croutons - fried pork skins - break them each in 2.
- Add fresh ground pepper to taste.
- Serve right away.
- To make it a meal on its own add sliced grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp or steak.
- Extra dressing may be enough for a lunch salad the next day - so nutrition info per serving may be off (high) a bit.