Taste Tested: Chef Nick Benninger’s Fireside Steaks with Chimmichurri

All summer long, we’re sharing tips, tricks and recipes to make your outdoor cooking experiences great! This week, we went to Feast ON Chef Nick Benninger, Owner of Nick & Nat’s Uptown 21 and a self-proclaimed avid camper, for his go-to canoe trip recipe!


Chef says: “This is a day one of the canoe trip meal, a nice reward for a hard day of paddling and portaging and the only day of the trip where such a feast is possible due to a lack of refrigeration.  I take my steak marinade to my local butcher and have him vacpack them in the marinade for me so I can freeze the steaks prior to packing up, ensuring they will be safely cooled the whole time, this also provides some coldness for the other ingredients packed in the ?day one dinner? food bag!”

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Fireside Steaks with Chimmichuri
Serves 4
Chef says: Spend a good amount of time burning down lots of wood so as to end up with a large pile of coals, we want coals to cook over as the even heat they provide is perfect for cooking! After that, it’s quite easy really! Grill your pre-seasoned steaks to your preferred doneness, then serve them up with the chimmichurri crème fraiche and a side of grilled veggies.
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
50 min
  1. 4 Ontario Steaks -- Nick suggests Hanger Steaks for this recipe
  2. 1/2 cup Pristine Gourmet Cold Pressed Canola Oil
  3. 1/2 cup Taco Farm Smoked Local Chili Mix
  4. 6 cloves of Ontario Garlic, minced
  5. 2 tbsp dried Ontario Oregano
  6. Handful of fresh Mint
  7. Handful of fresh Oregano
  8. Handful of fresh Cilantro
  9. 1 Lime, juiced
  10. 1 Ontario Jalapeno
  11. Salt & Pepper to taste
  12. Optional: 1/2 cup Ontario Crème fraiche
  1. Puree canola oil, local chili mix, 4 cloves of garlic, dried oregano and salt. Take the marinade to your local butcher shop and have them vacpack the steaks in the marinade for you. Then freeze the steaks for at least 24 hours to ensure a deep freeze.
  2. Once on site, build yourself a cooking fire. Once you've built up a good bed of coals, place your grill over the hottest point.
  3. Char the Jalapenos and let cool.
  4. Remove steaks from marinade, let excess drip off. Place on the hot, hot grill.
  5. Meanwhile, chop the fresh herbs, charred jalapenos and remaining garlic cloves really fine. When the mixture is smooth, if using, fold in the crème fraiche.
  6. Flip the steak only once to ensure a nice amount of charred bits. Cook until medium rare and let rest off the heat for 7 minutes.
  7. Once rested, slice steaks and serve alongside chimmichuri mixture, grilled veggies and a nice cold craft beer!
  1. Chefs notes on packing: Wrap all the different ingredients in plastic bags to ensure any leakage won’t ruin your backpack or just make a mess of things. Pack all the small bags into one larger bag placing the frozen steaks in the middle to conserve their cold as long as possible. Label this bag “day one dinner” to avoid opening all your meal bags unnecessarily!
Adapted from Nick & Nat's Uptown 21
Adapted from Nick & Nat's Uptown 21
Culinary Tourism Alliance https://ontarioculinary.com/

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