While we always love a good, unadulterated steak cooked medium-rare, every once in a while, we like to mix things up. These little open-faced steak sandwiches are our new favorite way to screw with a steak because they’re sweet, savory, tangy and a little bit spicy. Oh, and we make the topping with booze.

Flavored bourbons generally aren’t our thing, but the Smoked Maple bourbon from Knob Creek works perfectly in this dish to add another layer of flavor to a salty-sweet mixture of bacon and onions. The smoky maple flavors work really well with the bacon and amp up the umami flavor in the onions. Tangy goat cheese and a spicy pepper jelly take these little two-bite treats to the next level.

If you don’t want to take the time to make the sandwiches you could just grill the steaks and cover them with the onions, but we promise the sandwiches are worth the extra few minutes it will take to put them together.

knob-creek

Steak Bites With Bacon-Bourbon Onions
2 strip steaks
2 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into lardons
1 onion, sliced
1 shot smoked maple bourbon
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
½ tablespoon balsamic vinegar

For serving:
Baguette
Goat cheese
Pepper jelly

onions

Season the steaks with olive oil, salt and pepper. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour, or overnight. About half an hour before you’re ready to cook, remove the steaks from the fridge and prepare your grill for grilling over direct heat. Grill the steaks for about 8 minutes for medium-rare, flipping once, then remove them to a plate, cover with foil and set aside.

Warm a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the bacon lardons to the pan, along with a tablespoon of water, and cook the bacon for about 12 minutes, until the pan is filled with crispy brown bacon and a pool of bubbling bacon fat. Add the shot of whiskey, then deglaze the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the onions and some salt and pepper. Stir often, until the onions become transparent, about 8 minutes. Lower the heat and allow the onions to cook for about 15 minutes longer. Add the brown sugar and stir. Remove from the heat, add the balsamic vinegar, stir and set aside.

To assemble: slice the baguette and grill the slices for about 60 seconds, constantly turning to make sure you don’t burn the bread. Slather each slice with goat cheese and a dollop of pepper jelly.

steak