Beef Alambre is a super delicious and easy cook for a weeknight meal on the Traeger. In essence, it’s all the terrific ingredients of steak tacos, cooked together in a big cast iron skillet and covered in melted cheese. It cooks up in about 30 minutes and is well-suited to feeding a crowd.
ALWAYS LOOKING FOR INTERESTING IDEAS
When we came across the concept of beef alambre, we were reminded of a dish we rarely get at Mexican restaurants, but often eye as it goes by. Molcajetes. So we were intrigued.
WHAT ARE MOLCAJETES?
From what we’ve seen (and the couple we’ve ordered over the years, Molcajetes are bubbling hot cauldrons of meats, seafood, veggies and cheeses, served with warm tortillas and all the fixings. They’re kind of like fajitas on steroids– with so much flavor and different choices that each diner can enjoy.
BUT REALLY, ITS A VESSEL
In traditional senses, however, a molcajetes are a two-piece oversized mortar and pestle used for some of Mexico’s most authentic dishes. They are made of black volcanic rock, which makes for a great surface to grind spices and herbs, create salsas and guacs, and to heat up really hot for a bubbling stew like we have seen at restaurants.
BACK TO BEEF ALAMBRE ON THE TRAEGER
So even though we saw the pictures for an alambre and had visions of molcajetes, in reality, an alambre is its own kind of traditional Mexican dish, made of grilled or seared meats and veggies, then topped with cheese and served family-style. We learned that it’s most traditional in Mexico City and the Oaxaca region of Mexico, and has variations based on what the primary protein is. Check out this wikipedia link here.
In some respects, an alambre is almost like a hash– minus the potatoes! Using our Traeger Timberline XL, this dish came out perfectly. We had the wood-fired flavor of the traditional pellet smoker for the first and last steps, and the high heat of an induction burner for the middle steps. Everything was cooked outside and ended up soooo tasty!
- Beef (we used Snake River Farms tenderloin pieces, but you could use whatever you prefer)
- Red bell pepper
- Fresh sweet corn
- Hatch green chiles (fresh roasted from a roadside stand)
- Cheddar cheese
WHY COOKING A BEEF ALAMBRE ON THE TRAEGER WORKS
Using the two modes of the Traeger Timberline XL– the wood fired traditional portion of the smoker and the high-heat induction burner on the side– cooking this dish on the grill was super easy.
We first put the still slightly-frozen steak pieces on the grill to smoke for about 15-20 minutes. We didn’t want them to cook, but did want them to get some flavor. Once they’d smoked (and were then defrosted), it was easy to chop them up with a big knife and season them for searing in a hot pan on the induction burner.
The second phase of the cook was on the induction burner. It gets a cast iron pan really hot, which is what you need for a good sear on pieces of meat like this. But it’s also easy to do this cook entirely on one of Traeger’s more traditional grills– just let the pan get super hot in the grill before you start cooking– and you’ll have great results.
Once the dish was all seared up in the pan, we covered it with cheese and popped it back in the hot grill for a final cook. The high heat of the Traeger, combined with a slight taste of wood-fired flavor, finished the dish perfectly and resulted in gooey melty cheese.
You can even heat up the tortillas on the grill- 30 seconds to a minute on the grate and you’ll have perfect warm tortillas to go with the dish. Without ever turning on the stove or oven in the house!
STEP BY STEP
- Get all your ingredients together. This dish cooks up in about 30 minutes!
- Preheat a Traeger grill to 225* with the super smoke feature enabled. Any type of pellet fuel will work for this dish.
- Unwrap the tenderloin pieces and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Put the tenderloin pieces directly on the grill grates and close the lid, letting them smoke for about 15 minutes.
- Remove the meat from the grill and use a cutting board to chop the pieces into ½ inch dice. It doesn’t need to be even pieces.
- Toss the chopped meat with cumin in a bowl.
- Preheat your cast iron skillet to medium/high heat on the induction burner.
- Turn up the heat of the Traeger to high (350*) and allow it to get really hot.
- Cook the bacon slices in the hot pan until done, then transfer the bacon to a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the pan.
- Roughly chop the bacon and set it aside for later.
- Add the seasoned steak pieces to the hot bacon grease.
- Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Cook in batches if the meat will be too crowded all at once.
- Transfer the beef back to a bowl and set aside.
- In the same pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until just translucent, about 5 minutes or so.
- Add the red bell pepper strips and corn kernels to the onions. Stir well and then cover to cook for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the lid to the pan and stir in the chopped tomatoes and chopped green chilis.
- Cook it all for 10 more minutes, until the veggies have softened and the browned bits on the bottom of the pan have released, stirring well.
- Add the seared steak back to the pan and mix to incorporate. Cook for 5 minutes until the meat is at your desired temperature.
- Top the dish with the chopped bacon and then a generous coating of shredded cheese.
- Return the pan to the hot Traeger and cook for 10-15 minutes until bubbly and the cheese has melted.
- Serve the alambre immediately with warmed tortillas, crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro and drizzles of crema and a wedge of lime.
RECIPES SIMILAR TO BEEF ALAMBRE ON THE TRAEGER
In Spanish, the word “alambre” actually means “on wire”. While this dish is definitely not skewered (but you could be creative and make it happen), here are some skewered dishes to try out:
And a couple dishes with Mexican influence for your further inspiration
Products used in this cook:
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Beef Alambre on the Traeger
- Traeger Timberline XL
- Cast iron skillet (12” or bigger)
- Knife and cutting board
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- 1 pound steak bites or tenderloin pieces
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 6 slices bacon
- 1 white onion finely diced
- 2 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 red bell pepper cut into matchsticks
- 1 ear corn cut off the cob
- 2 roasted whole chilis seeded and diced
- 1 cup fresh tomatoes diced
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
- Fresh flour tortillas
- Sour cream or crema
- Cotija cheese
- Cilantro chopped
- Jalapeno chopped
- Preheat your Traeger grill to 225* with the super smoke feature enabled
- Place the tenderloin pieces directly on the grill grates and close the lid
- Allow the meat to smoke for about 15 minutes
- Transfer the meat to a cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut into ½ inch pieces
- In a bowl, toss the chopped meat with cumin
- Preheat a cast iron pan to medium/high heat
- Turn up the heat of the Traeger to high (350*) and close the lid
- Cook the bacon slices in the hot pan until almost crispy
- Transfer the bacon to a paper towel, leaving the bacon grease in the pan
- Roughly chop the bacon and set aside
- To the hot bacon grease, add the seasoned steak pieces
- Cook until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes
- Transfer the beef back to a bowl
- In the same pan, add the onion and garlic and cook until just translucent, about 5 minutes
- Add the red bell pepper strips and corn kernels
- Stir well and then cover to cook for about 5 minutes
- Remove the lid and stir in the chopped tomatoes and chopped green chilis
- Cook for 10 more minutes, until the veggies have softened and the browned bits on the bottom of the pan have released, stirring well
- Add the seared steak back to the pan and mix to incorporate
- Top the dish with the chopped bacon and then a generous coating of shredded cheese
- Return the pan to the hot Traeger and cook for 10-15 minutes until bubbly and the cheese has melted
- Serve immediately with warmed tortillas, crumbled cotija cheese, chopped cilantro and drizzles of crema and a wedge of lime