Dinner, Sides/Snacks

DIY Animal Fries (Paleo-ish)

Winner, winner, french fry dinner. If you’re here, you’ve made it.

And when I say you’ve made it, I mean you’ve made it to your new favorite recipe.

But quickly– I have not posted a recipe in FOREVER. Have I even this year? Goodness knows. A LOT has gone down in the world, in the US, and in my personal life. It would feel disingenuous to post something without mentioning the context of 2020. I truly hope that you + yours are safe and well during this time, and that cooking may offer you some comfort or distraction from the year. xx

Have you been to In&Out? Well if you haven’t you are missing out! It is delicious and in my opinion, on the healthier side of fast food restaurants. But, as it is fast food nonetheless, I go less now than I did in high school. Since I was born & raised in San Diego, In&Out was a given after dances, concerts, & dates.

I don’t go as often but it hasn’t left my life! I still go on road trips (especially with my boyfriend). Some of our first/favorite memories involved In&Out– there were no drive-throughs in our college town, so going was an outing. A 30 minute glorious drive to my usual order— hamburger protein style (lettuce wrapped) with chopped chilis, mustard, + extra tomato. Hold the other sauces (honestly I love ketchup, but ketchup with high fructose corn syrup seriously grosses me out, so I don’t get it unless I know it doesn’t have it). Sometimes one patty, sometimes two.

What I never ordered growing up was animal fries. I never really noticed it. My partner, however– it is his staple order. He LOVES In&Out animal fries.

What are animal fries, you ask? They are In & Out french fries loaded with melted American cheese, chopped up burger patty, “Secret Sauce”, and grilled onions. After the nth time watching my boyfriend eat animal fries, I had an idea/epiphany: I could make this. I could make this super delicious, + more nutritious. I could make this “paleo”! And so I held this idea close to my chest for over a year, until finally finding the time to attempt this during quarantine. & I am so glad I did because due to a whirlwind of reasons, I have just moved back to Denver, CO! And for now, there are no In & Out Burgers here. So rejoice my CO friends, and all other folks far from In&Out— this copy cat version is animal-fry-loving-boyfriend approved.

You can make the fries whichever way you would like– I suggest some combination of oven + air fryer, but I did a boil + pan fry since I had minimal cooking supplies (long story!).

This served us both for 2 meals, so you could say 4 people. If you are vegetarian you could totally do this with 3/4 lb diced + sautéed mushrooms instead of grassfed beef. You do you!

Lets get to it, shall we?!


Serves 4, prep time: 10 minutes; cook time: 30 minutes

Got all of your ingredients? Good. Now here is what to do *read before starting!*:

First: Wash + Slice

First slice your sweet potatoes into french fries. I aimed for about 1/2 an inch in width.

Then, slice up your yellow onion. You can dice it or cut it into longer pieces (like I did). It really does not matter.

Second: Cooking

Preheat your oven to 350 (optional, this will come in handy for cheese melting).

Soak your sweet spuds in hot water for 3-5 minutes. Next coat your sweet potatoes and lightly coat in avocado oil. either grab your air fryer or your hot pan.

Air fryer: Air fry your potatoes in batches for 15 minutes each. Cool on a wire rack if available, and top with sea salt.

Pan: Add additional avocado oil to the pan (or butter or tallow– whatever you want). On a medium to high heat, pan fry small batches of fries, turning so that each side becomes lightly brown. Cool/dry on a wire rack if available, and top with sea salt.

Next grab your onion and sauté over medium heat with a generous amount of avocado oil or butter (enough to ensure nothing is burnt, but we don’t want a soup or a deep fryer here!).

On another pan, start cooking up all of your grassfed beef on medium heat, breaking it up as you go. No oil needed, just a dash of sea salt + black pepper. Cook until all the pink is gone, but the meat has not started to dry out.

Third: Assembly

Once your meat is cooked, your sweet potatoes french-fried, and your onions tender, it is time to assemble! In one medium bowl, combine onions, thousand island dressing, and ground beef.

On a tray (in the oven) or on a pan (with a lid), place your desired amount of sweet potatoes and cheese. Melt for a few minutes until the fries are hot and the cheese melted.

Finally, plate your cheese fries and top with the delicious beef-onion-dressing mixture.

Finally: Enjoy at home!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe. If you do end up trying this, please tag me in your pictures!! @huntinghanger on Instagram.

Best– always,

Ps. Stay safe + wear a mask around others you don’t know/are compromised! Oh, and (Americans) make sure you are registered to VOTE! It matters.

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