Memorial Day was a special holiday when I was eleven. The coming day signified the weather was finally going to be warm enough soon to get back to my usual summer activities of staying outside till dark playing kickball in the street or hanging out in the park with my posse. Memorial Day meant the end of school was not far off. Three weeks was an eternity then, but it was an eternity with a happy end. Memorial Day weekend was the time when the neighborhood would fill with smells of wood smoke, charcoal and burning beef. This was suburbia in the early sixties and there were barbecue grills in just about every back yard, grilled hamburgers were king and Kool Aid was always red.
What with spiraling prices for gas and food, among other things, I've got the feeling many of us will be spending time in our own back yards wondering what to grill. If your like me, you've done all manner of exotica on your grill from extremely good, and expensive, steaks to the rare swimming species already. It's time, for just oh so many reasons, to turn the clock back a bit and gather the family and friends around a blazing grill covered in plump patties of ground meat. Sure it won't be the same, but with these fun burger recipes it'll be very different in a real good way. It may even be some fun to do them all and let the gang choose. Just remember to round it out with some soft buns (not the ones in your too tight shorts), a bowl of Aunt Bessie's Potato Salad, a pot of baked beans and pitcher of red...
Bacon and Onion Stuffed Burgers
Makes 8 burgers
4 slices bacon (try the pepper bacon for extra kick)
¼ cup onions, chopped
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
½ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. steak sauce (your favorite)
Cook bacon until crisp. Drain all but a couple of tablespoons of the drippings and sauté onions in drippings until light brown. Crumble the bacon and add to the skillet. Set aside to cool.
Combine the beef, pork, pepper, garlic powder and steak sauce in a large bowl. Shape into 16 patties. Divide bacon mixture and place over eight of the patties.
Place remaining patties on top and press edges tightly to seal. Refrigerate about 1 hour.
Grill over medium coals until you get an internal temperature of 165°
Makes 6 burgers
1 large egg
¼ cup Coca-Cola®
¼ cup crushed Ritz® crackers
2 Tbsp. creamy French salad dressing
¼ tsp. Kosher Salt
1 ½ lbs. ground beef
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg, Coca-Cola, cracker crumbs, dressing and salt.
Add the meat and mix well. Form into six 3/4-inch thick patties.
¼ cup Coca-Cola®
4 Tbsp. creamy French dressing
Combine the Coca-Cola and dressing.
Grill the meat over medium coals until desired doneness. Turn once, basting occasionally with sauce. Serve on buns. Remaining sauce may be used as a topping.
Beef and Lamb Gorgonzola Burgers
Makes 6 burgers
¾ lb. ground beef
¾ lb. ground lamb
¼ tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. Kosher Salt
6 ounces Gorgonzola or other bleu cheese
Mix the beef and lamb with the salt and pepper. Set aside.
Form beef into 12 3-inch-diameter patties Form the cheese into 6 1-1/2-inch rounds. Place the cheese rounds atop 6 of the patties. Top each with another patty, sealing at edges. Let the patties rest refrigerated 1 hour.
Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat) or preheat broiler.
Brush barbecue rack with vegetable oil. Grill burgers until charred outside but still juicy, about 3 minutes per side.