Dad and The Air Fryer
On Christmas morning, 2017, my wife handed me a big box and said “I want you to make me sweet potato fries”. Holding the box and not knowing how what she said was related to anything at hand, I graciously accepted the present without questions.
Inside was a compact air fryer, something I’d wanted for a while. I love fried food, and being able to create delicious fried delicacies without using tons of oil was something that seemed fantastic.
First I tried keto chicken tenders, but the problem was that the basket was a bit too small to accommodate more than 3 tenders at a time. They were good, sure, but to make a meal would have been more time than I cared to invest. I made green bean fries next and they were fine. I tried sweet potato chips and they turned out awful – limp, terrible, unfun. Sweet potato fries turned out better, much to my wife’s pleasure, but they weren’t anything I couldn’t do in the oven.
I needed to figure out the best way to use this thing, particularly for making keto foods. We don’t eat a lot of pre-packaged, frozen, fried foods like nuggets. This makes the most “useful” part of it kind of not useful for us. So what was I to do, just let it gather dust?
Rethinking My Methods
It was clear that making a whole meal at once in this thing was a no-go. This brought me to my first lesson:
Though great at cooking fried foods quickly and cleanly, the air fryer couldn’t cook large amounts of anything efficiently.
That’s not to say a larger air fryer couldn’t cook meals, but for my little one I needed to stick to sides or snacks.
I tried some broccoli fritters and they were perfect, after a few batches. See, I learned the second lesson:
Ensure that the bottom grate thing is coated in non-stick spray or some kind of oil.
You can and will lose the bottom breading of whatever you’re frying if you’re not careful to hit this first step.
With the success of the fritters, I decided to try meat again, but what kind? Chicken tenders seemed right-out, and I did some meatballs which turned out fine. I wanted beef, though, so I came up with this recipe based on one I’d had at a friend’s party a week or so prior. The original recipe wasn’t keto, as it was battered and breaded, but I was confident I could replicate it to at least a decent degree of success.
The nice thing about this recipe is that it uses cheap cuts of beef – you can use round steak, flat iron steak, sirloin, etc. You could feasibly use pork steaks as well, something I may try another time. Ultimately, it’s cheap, delicious, and a great party food – something I plan on doing again soon.
Air Fryer Keto Steak Bites – Makes 6 Servings
For the marinade:
2 lb flat-iron, round, or other low fat, tough steak
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
The juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cracked black pepper
For the frying:
2 eggs, lightly whisked
1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup regular pork rinds, blitzed in the blender into rough powder
1/4 cup green shaker parmesan cheese
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
The first thing to do it to cut the steak into small strips, no longer than maybe an inch and a half. You could also do cubes.
Put the meat in a container with a lid, or a gallon storage bag, and add in the soy sauce, Worcestershire, and marinade spices. Let that sit in the fridge for at least 12 hours, but better off going for 24. Because the meat is so tough, you need this longer marinade to break down the fibers a bit. It will also infuse the meat with some great flavor, and you can experiment with this portion, depending on what you like. Make sure whatever spices, sauces, or liquids you use are keto-friendly, though.
Once your meat is thoroughly marinated, start the air fryer up and set it to 350. This recipe would work with traditional frying as well, so if you’re going that route, same deal; heat your oil to 350.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the almond flour, pork rinds, cheese, and spices until they’re well-incorporated. Take your meat out and place it on either a rack or a paper towel to get rid of the extra marinade. From there, dredge the pieces in the dry mix, then dip into the egg mixture, then back into the dry again.
When you have enough to create 1 layer in the basket without touching, grease the bottom of the air fryer basket and start off in batches. At 350 in the air fryer, you should have them cook for about 20 minutes, depending on the size. If you’re frying in oil, they shouldn’t take longer than maybe 6 or 7 minutes.
When they’re done, put them on a plate with some paper towels to cool. Finish batching them up until they’re all cooked; I recommend keeping them in a 225 degree oven while you finish all of them, so they don’t get cold.
That’s it! They’re tangy, salty, crunchy, and delicious.
Nutrition on these looks like this:
Calories : 396
Fat : 23g
Carbs : 5g
Fiber : 1g
Protein : 41g
Lots of protein here, and this is for 1/6 of the total batch. They’re exceptionally good with some ranch, but they’re delicious by themselves, too.