There are lots of good reasons to think summer is the best season of the year: longer days and warmer nights; ice cream and drinks with umbrellas; sun in your eyes and sand in your shorts; baseball and baseball. But nothing says summer quite like a hot grill cooking up some deliciousness. And with Memorial Day coming down the pike, we’d say it’s about time for your first grill of the season. What better way to begin than with one of the most traditional and most delicious grilled meals? Yup, we’re talking burgers. But not just any burgers. We’re looking at meaty, cheesy, juicy, burgers with a south of the border twist: a macho nacho this-ain’t-gazpacho burger. So get that grill going and practice the requisite “That’s Nacho Burger!” shout, because a burger this good is bound to fall victim to thievery.
MEMORIAL DAY MACHO NACHO THIS-AIN’T-GAZPACHO BURGER
Barbecue stats, which are a real thing, report that the Memorial Day is the nation’s second most popular outdoor cooking holiday. It’s time to show your patriotism and throw some meat onto that grill with this recipe that combines two of the best meals known to man: burgers and nachos. Dig in.
What to use:
- 1 avocado
- ½ red onion, finely chopped
- 1 lime
- 1 tsp. cumin
- Salt and pepper
- Hot sauce
- 3 tbsp. lime juice
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 seeded, minced chipotle chile in adobo sauce
- 3 finely diced tomatoes
- 2 tbsp. diced red onion
- 3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
- Corn tortilla chips
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 ½ lb. ground beef
- ½ lb. cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
- 4 hamburger buns
- Chopped jalapenos
How to use it:
In a small bowl, mash avocado, mix with ½ of chopped onion, juice of 1 lime and season with salt and pepper.
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.
Form beef into four patties, season with salt and pepper and brush with oil. Grill over moderately high heat. Cook one side about 4 mins., then flip and top with cheese. Cook 4 mins. more. Build burgers by layering guacamole, burger, tortilla chips, salsa and jalapenos. Bun toasting is optional.
PRO-TIP: Looking for extra burger flavor? Aburgerham Lincoln seasoning, one of the tastiest grilling gifts for men, will help make your burgers sing, while maintaining a certain level of patriotism.
BURGER MEISTERS AND BARBECUE BUFFS
So what’s the deal with burgers and why are they all the rage in the U.S. of A.? There is no doubt that Americans love to celebrate all things America with a combination of grilled meats and a backyard barbecue, especially on holidays. But how did this happen? Let’s begin where all good things start—with the meat.
WHERE’S THE BEEF (FROM)?
The path the hamburger took to get to our fair shores is not know for certain. Like many things delicious, there is an Italian connection: an ancient Roman cookbook includes instructions for one “isicia omentata,” a combo of beef, pine kernel, peppercorns and white wine, which may be the earliest version of the burger. Some say it began as a stash of raw beef tucked under Mongols’ saddles. Riding around building their empire and such didn’t leave much time to sit and enjoy a meal, so they would tuck some beef under their saddles allowing them to snack and sack! The meat would tenderize between horse and man—mmm?—and didn’t get in the way of any sort of world domination. Well done, Mongol hordes.
This minced meat made its way to Russia, courtesy of Kublai Khan, in the form of steak tartare, and then, thanks to global trade, to the port city of Hamburg, Germany. Hamburg was one of the cities in the early 19th century that emigrants embarked from to go to the new world, one of the most popular destinations being NYC. It is here that we see the Hamburg steak, a semi-cured slab of salted and spiced beef, being sold along the New York City harbor.
It was the mechanical meat grinder, which made meat shredding much easier, and some brilliant creature who decided to marry meat and bun, that made way for today’s version everyone knows and loves.
Still you may be asking yourself, “How did the hamburger make its way into the hearts of Americans?” And if you are, you should stop. It’s obvious. Hamburgers are delicious. They are easy to eat. They can be modified and personalized. They’re fun. They’ve been memorialized in TV, film and literature.
CHILLIN’ AND GRILLIN’
Learning to control fire was a major turning point in human evolution. And not just because of the heat/protection/innovation/etc., aspect. But also because of its role in socialization. Remains of ancient campfires show the existence of human groups even in the way past. And ruins of ancient grills have been discovered throughout antiquity. Before the founding of the country, early American colonists were gathering and smoking meats over pits. Eventually, political leaders began to stage huge barbecues to draw crowds for rallies and celebrations. So hanging around the fire, charring delicious meats over flame, has been part of humanity since the early days of humanity.
DO YOU REMEMBER?
There is a serious side to the fun grilling holiday that most people view as the beginning of the Summer season. Observed on the last Monday in May, Memorial Day commemorates the men and women who died in military service for the US. It originally began as an event to honor Union soldiers, but after World War I, it was extended to all men and women who died in military action. So in between going to picnics, preparing your favorite beer and putting on your first pair of white pants and shoes of the season, there things you can do to keep a traditional element to the holiday. Fly the flag at half-staff from dawn until noon; visit cemeteries and decorating graves with flags to honor those who’ve died in military service; buy a poppy to support veterans; go to a parade and other memorial services. But also don’t forget to grill. It’s the American way.