As the freezing temperatures give way to mild spring sunshine, I become more and more excited to pull out my fire pit. I know what you’re thinking, what does a fire pit have to do with food? My answer to you is that when the fire pit comes out the grill gets cleaned up for regular use. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no sissy – I grill even when the temperatures are in the single digits and the snow is falling. That being said, however, I prefer warmer weather when I’m going to be nursing delicious food from the grates of my grill.
When I was a kid my mother’s gas grill would be stored in the shed until just about this time of year. The family would get very excited when we’d hear my father dragging it out. This meant hot dogs and hamburgers, ribs, grilled chicken, steak, and so much more coming to the dinner table. My mother worked magic with her gas grill. One of my favorite meals as a child was my mother’s barbecued pork ribs – not only could I put away an entire rack of ribs on my own, but I would beg for her to make them for my birthday, which happened to fall in late July. I started getting adventurous on the grill when my mother felt comfortable with teaching me how to use it – I have yet to blow anything up.
Now, if you’re anything like me you do not have a formal meal plan for your week. Many home economists are cringing, I know, but if I plan my meals ahead of time, I can’t be as creative in the kitchen when it comes time to cook. I simply stock up my fridge with great fresh food – nothing processed. I then open my fridge, freezer and cupboards and figure out what I’m going to cook each day. Sometimes, if I need to thaw something, I’ll pull it from the freezer and let it thaw properly in the fridge about a day ahead – I then let the creative juices flow.
One particular day about a month ago I was craving cheeseburgers from the grill – apparently my palette was also sick of winter. The biggest problem I had, though, was that I did not have any burger buns. I grabbed the necessary accoutrements and set out for burger deliciousness. I don’t know about you, but I get my burgers from Hoggy’s in Windham – I think they are pretty amazing. I take two patties, salt and pepper them and put them on my grill, set to high so that I can get a good sear on the outside. While they were cooking, I buttered four slices of bread and placed them on the back of the grill to toast. I laid out one slice of Vermont cheddar cheese on each slice of bread, added some of my favorite condiments (sautéed onions, dill pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayonnaise) to two of the bread slices. When the burgers were done, I put them on top of the mountain of toppings and topped off the burger with the other slice of bread and cheese.
The problem I found with this, though was that it was huge and would be unmanageable, and fall apart. I decided to use my spatula to press the sandwiches together. Essentially it was a grilled cheese with a cheeseburger in the middle. This was paired with left over roasted sliced potatoes heated in a foil packet on the grill. From the first bite I started considering other burgers that would taste equally amazing in this format. The one I look forward to trying this weekend would be a sirloin and chorizo burger with grilled onions and manchego cheese. I’m not one who enjoys a lot of spice, but my Portuguese heritage requires me by blood-law to love chorizo. Pardon me while I fire up the grill!