Of all things family history, let my burgers survive the next brutal war on American soil. My secret self has always had a thing for Thor, the God of Thunder (alleged). These burgers could be the reason he steps up to save us all. If we’re ever expecting him, you better call me in.
Many people have written cookbooks & gotten famous for sharing “old family recipes”… But whose family? Did Paula Dean’s granny really invent or even tweak that divinity recipe? Don’t know, doesn’t really matter. Just know that these are MY family’s burgers. I know this because they started in my home- before internet. I would have gladly looked up a recipe to copy, but I couldn’t. I had a Betty Crocker book, but no grilling or even general burger advice could be found in there.
I was on my own. I wanted a burger that didn’t need a bunch of garnishes, nothing to fall off & make a mess with. Nothing to smash between the bun but the burger itself. A hero like Thor can’t be concerning himself with the lettuce falling off in flight or getting any secretsy sauces on his suit. Neither can I.
Since learning of my own Nordic heritage, I’ve convinced myself that I am his direct descendant, the way I wield a meat tenderizer you’d believe it too. I have no evidence, but, no matter. Evidence is overrated as far as this story is concerned.
Somewhere back in 1998ish this idea was born. I was a newlywed concerned about eating messy food in front of my new forever man. Long story short, I decided to throw everything into a bowl & mix it up. It was horrible. Worst idea I ever had. I put too much BBQ sauce, used previously frozen meat, only knew about salt & pepper, hated onions. The burgers fell apart on the grill. Fell right through to the charcoal & ash. Ended up wrapping it in foil & calling it meatloaf. It was not very good to eat.
I’m no quitter though & I’m a bit prideful. I had a husband to eventually impress with cooking prowess. Over the years, I kept at it, all the while throwing in nods to meatloaf just in case I needed to disguise my attempt at the end & mash it all together. Egg became glue. They held together but they still weren’t that good. Hush-band didn’t say a word against them, so he’s still alive to this day, swearing he loved them. Problem was that I didn’t.
Now though… These babies are ready for honorable mention.
Without giving up my exact ratios, because they still change depending on what’s in the spice cabinet & what’s freshly available (I’m not loyal to fresh, wet spices, I’ll use anything but fresh tends to kick it up a notch) here’s the gist of it:
-Ground beef that’s never been frozen (not negotiable)
-Bacon, cut in little-ish pieces
-Cheese, grated not chunks
-Carrot pulp, only a little!!!
-BBQ sauce (go easy on it though)
-Brown sugar (my new glue)
-Fresh pressed OR Freeze dried garlic (not dehydrated if you can help it)
-Freeze dried OR minced onion powder
-Crushed red peppers
Pepper, a pinch of paprika AND ginger
Throw that all into a bowl. Mix it up with your hands (on you can use a utensil if you must) just until it’s all mixed & no longer. You’re not looking to make love to this meat, you’re looking to keep it firm & as untouched as possible. Too much fondling of the mix & it’ll fall apart.
Now, patty those burgers… use a presser if you don’t think you can control your hands. You don’t want the heat from your hands melting the fat in the meats.
On the outside of the burger you’ll sprinkle salt & a little more pepper & brush a thin layer of bbq sauce. Throw them on the open fire, shut the lid while cooking.
I don’t usually add wood chips to the coals because I don’t always have the patience for soaking them however, if Thor was coming I would certainly add wood chips.
You can serve these burgers between the bun without adding anything else, but if you just can’t help yourself, go ahead & add lettuce & tomatoes & whatever. My family does not because we are savage that way. I serve these burgers with tropical fruit salad that my kids like to call Ambrosia. It’s not ambrosia, it’s far better, but they have reference to a video game called The Sims where ghosts will come back from the dead just to eat ambrosia & they’ll even choose to stay among the living so they can keep eating it. Fair enough.
This “Ambrosia” is just canned tropical fruit from Dole, coconut flakes, mini marshmallows, cool whip plus whatever other fruit I’ve got at the time (strawberries, oranges etc).
Now, maybe you can find similar recipes on the internet these days, but this one’s mine. I’ve tried to dress it up by using some tips from recipes by gourmet chefs, but frankly, they irritate me with having to make every single little seasoning from scratch, even the bbq sauce. No thanks, theirs aren’t as good as mine because the minute they admit they added brown sugar, the health food patrol comes out in full force to harass them… So you never see it in their recipes but it MUST be there, right?
This is what my non-gourmet TsBurgers look like & these are one of my recipes with a family history to them. Now my kids can make them and Christopher, my stepson, actually argues that his are better than mine but, whatever. I’m totally ok with descendants making little upgrades. Nobody wants to present a God such as Thor with an outdated dish, so I encourage their creativity in the years to come.
Variations to the burgers that my son says are good:
-celery pulp or ground up bellpepper
-little plop of butter to the top of the burger while on the grill
I feel that adding too much into the mix makes it less carnivorous, but that’s just me. The TsBurger is committed to simplicity
I didn’t talk about my dogs but they go with the burgers, they just don’t have a cool name. I brush on a layer of bbq sauce & sprinkle salt n pepper on them. And I always burn the on I intend to eat. I like em burnt.
I’m sure everybody makes theirs this way.