J.D. Fratzke’s Base Camp Beef Bourguignon

Base Camp Beef Bourguignon

J.D. Fratzke’s Base Camp Beef Bourguignon // Photo by Wing Ta


  • 1 tablespoon smoked hot paprika
  • 1 tablespoon allspice
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds boneless grass-fed beef short ribs
  • ½ cup each yellow onion, celery, and carrots, diced
  • ¼ cups chopped garlic cloves
  • ¼ pounds uncooked bacon, chopped
  • 1 cup cheap red wine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cups butter
  • 4 ounces cremini mushrooms, clipped and washed
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 ounces roasted tomato puree
  • 1 quart beef or chicken stock


Photo by Wing Ta

This dish requires advanced prep and half day’s cooking time. Put it together after your shore lunch and it should be ready, depending on the season, for a well-earned sundowner.

Several hours before your trip, season the short ribs with salt and pepper, then mix the allspice and olive oil together and cover the seasoned short ribs. Store in a heavy duty Ziploc to marinate. If the season is warm and your drive, hike, or paddle to the site will be several hours and you’re working without a cooler, prep the ribs the night before and freeze them—same with the bacon and the stock. Use your judgment as to whether they will be thawed when you want to start cooking.

Get a good coal base going in a corner of your fire. Add the olive oil and the butter to your Dutch oven cold, then place it directly on the coal bed. When the butter has foamed and melted, add the short ribs and begin to sear on all sides until they are a milk chocolate brown.

Remove them from the Dutch oven and place them on the upturned lid of the Dutch oven as it will catch the resting juices that you will want to add back to the pot. Add your diced vegetables, bacon, mushrooms, and garlic. When onions are translucent, add the red wine and the tomato. Be careful to continue adding to your coal base to keep the heat about the equivalent of med-high on your home stovetop.

When the wine has reduced by about half, add the short ribs and their juices and the stock. Bring to a boil, then shift toward the edge of the coals and cover. Check on the process after about an hour, season to taste with salt and pepper and adjust coal base. The braising process will take about 3-4 hours depending on how you work the coals. Low and slow will take longer but you will end up with beef you can pull apart with a spoon. Higher heat and a shorter time will cook the beef, but you may have to slice it to eat it.

For more cooking tips, follow Growler resident chef Jon Wipflu @TheMinnesotaSpoon on Instagram or Facebook, or go to SlayToGourmet.com to see some previous recipes.