The Primal Gourmet: Yak and Bison Ribeye Meatballs

The Primal Gourmet: Yak and Bison Ribeye Meatballs, LVBX Magazine
THE PRIMAL GOURMET with Paul Guse and Nicole Gliddon

Need some mealtime inspiration? If you think meatballs are boring, think again. This Paleo-friendly take on a classic comfort food is elevated with grassfed yak and ground bison ribeye. Accompanied by a simple but elegant BBQ sauce, garlic parsnip and yellow cauliflower purée, grilled brussels sprouts, and shaved black truffle, it’s anything but ordinary. Thankfully, it’s also easy to prepare.

1 tbsp ghee or butter
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove of garlic
2 cups beef bone broth
2 tbsp BBQ sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Heat 1 tbsp ghee and 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat until simmering.

Add onion and season with salt and pepper to taste and sautee until caramelized. Add in the whole garlic clove, beef bone broth, and 2 tbsp of BBQ sauce. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low and put the lid on the pan and let sit over low heat. The longer the better with this sauce. If you have the time to allow it to cook, then around three hours is best. About 30 minutes to an hour before serving, remove the lid and increase heat to reduce and thicken. This sauce can be made in advance and reheated. It can be reduced right away, but the depth of flavor from allowing to slow cook over a long time is worth the wait.

(yields 12 meatballs)

1 lb ground yak *We purchase from The Yak Boys, located in Colorado
1 lb ground bison ribeye, fat trimmed
1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini with liquid squeezed out
1/2 cup onion, finely minced
2 cloves minced garlic
1 oz crushed pork rinds *We use the 4505 Meats Pork Rinds
1 oz fine almond flour
1/2 tsp each of seasoned salt, fresh fine ground pepper, smoked paprika *We use Penzy’s seasoned salt

Tip: Any lean ground meat would be a good substitute for yak.

Before beginning, be certain that the liquid is squeezed from the zucchini.

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together well. Form the meatballs using a 1/3 cup measure and set aside to rest. If  resting in the refrigerator, allow the meatballs to come to room temperature before cooking.

Sear all sides of the meatballs in a hot cast iron skillet with a little olive oil to help with browning and to ensure that the meat does not stick. Add oil as needed. Browning should take 5-7 minutes. Cook the meatballs in two batches so that the pan is not overcrowded. After browned, finish meatballs in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until desired temp/doneness is reached.

The Primal Gourmet: Yak and Bison Ribeye Meatballs, LVBX Magazine

1/2 head of cauliflower, trimmed of the stem *We used the yellow variety
2 medium/large parsnips, peeled and cut to roughly same size as cauliflower
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tbsp minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup beef bone broth, any broth will work
Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking

Cook down the cauliflower and parsnip in a large skillet over medium heat until soft with a little olive oil and salt and pepper with the lid on, stirring occasionally so it does not stick or burn. Once fork tender, add the onion and garlic and cook about five minutes. Transfer all to a food processor or high powered blender and process until smooth, adding in the broth slowly until smooth.

Keep warm in pan with lid or serve immediately.


Using fresh brussels sprouts, trim the bottoms and cut in half. Try to use similar sized sprouts.

Heat a cast iron grill pan over medium heat.

With the cut side up, drizzle with a good extra-virgin olive oil. This is a good chance to use an infused olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and place cut side down onto grill pan. Cook until dark “grill marks” appear on the sprouts, about 5-7 minutes. Once grill marks appear, turn the sprouts over, add 1/2 cup of water and put a lid on the pan reducing heat to low and allow to steam until done about another 5-7 minutes. When done, squeeze a little lemon juice over the sprouts before serving.

As an option, reduced balsamic vinegar can be drizzled over the sprouts to further highlight the flavors.


To plate the dish, lay meatballs over purée and drizzle with the BBQ glaze. Finish by adding the grilled sprouts and shaved black truffle for both aesthetics and taste. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun with appearance.

To find additional Paleo-friendly dishes and health-related musings, visit The Primal Gourmet.

Images courtesy of The Primal Gourmet. 



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