Give these outdoor classics just the right touch on the grill to perfect the taste of freedom.
The Ultimate American Burger
AMERICAN CUISINE IS A POTLUCK OF FLAVORS. But the often-overlooked centerpiece is grilling. Philadelphia resident Ellsworth B.A. Zwoyer patented the idea for charcoal
in 1897. Great American Henry Ford mass-produced the “fuel of a hundred uses” in 1921. By the 40s, as post-war Americans moved to backyard-filled suburbs, an American tradition had taken fire. Charcoal would fuel backyard grilling for families nationwide, with big hunks of meat appearing on paper plates in every state. (And it hasn't gone out of fashion.) Here are three tasty ways to give your Summer a truly American taste.
- 1 ½ pounds of 80/20 lean ground chuck
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 5 brioche buns
- Leftover bacon grease
- Chipotle chili powder to taste
- ¾ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Dijon mustard
- Crispy pickles (spicy okra if you're adventurous)
- 5 slices American cheese (or fresh mozzarella if you're feeling fancy)
- 5 leaves Bibb lettuce
- 5 slices tomato
There are an infinite number of killer burger recipes. But if you're going to celebrate this all-American meal, don't church it up. Instead, create a complex medley of flavors with simple ingredients. No need for moistening agents. (We're cooking burgers, not meatloaf.) Let the beef shine. While it may look basic to the eye, there's a Rocky Mountain of flavor here
that'll hit your tongue like the first note of your favorite song. Prep some homemade ketchup by adding smoked paprika and chipotle chili powder to taste in ½ cup of ketchup. Mix the ground beef, salt, and pepper in a large bowl, avoiding the temptation to over-mix, which can cause a meatball consistency. Instead, stir the meat enough to disperse the salt and pepper and call it a day. Divide the meat into five equal portions. Form your patties and then add a deep thumbprint in the center, which will keep their middles from plumping up during cooking. Cook the patties on a smoking-hot grill. Leave them on for at least three minutes before flipping, ensuring a significant crust on the bottom that will help maintain patty integrity.
Each flip costs you juice, so the ultimate goal is to flip only once or twice. Cook to your liking, typically seven to eight minutes. (Just know anything over medium makes Betsy Ross cry.) And whatever you do, don't smash your patties, as the juice that comes oozing out the sides when you do would be better served ending up in your mouth. As soon as you take the patties off to rest, apply your cheese slices. (You can do this while still on the grill, but that can get messy.) Then, slather bacon grease on your buns liberally and put over heat to toast while your patties rest. Butter works fine, but bacon grease adds the perfect subtle, smoky note to the bun. Toast until browned and crispy, which might be as little as 10-15 seconds or one minute depending on how hot your grill is. Watch closely to avoid burning. Assemble and carefully avoid overstuffing.
CheapCut Pork Butt
The secret to low-and-slow meats is that typically the cheaper the cut of meat, the better the outcome. Pork butts are perfect. Get the bone-in version for maximum flavor, and don't trim off any fat or skin until you're done cooking (and consider not doing it then either, especially if you're going to use a BBQ sauce, which will mask the fatty texture but maintain flavor. Mix dry ingredients together, then rub on the butt. Leave meat out for one to two hours to get to room temperature prior to cooking. Lightly oil your grill grates, place an aluminum pan under them, and add broth. Cook over indirect heat, ideally maintaining a consistent 225 degrees F for about five hours. You'll need to add coals or wood as you go to maintain this.
Two hours into cooking (or before, if your meat is charred more than you'd like), wrap your butt in aluminum foil to lock in moisture and avoid burning. Remove when the meat has reached an internal temperature of 190 degrees F and let rest for 20 minutes. Now the fun begins, because a pork butt is one of the most versatile cuts of meat in the world. You can add sauce after the initial cook, like BBQ, brown sugar bourbon sauce, or just your pan drippings with a liberal splash of vinegar. It's great both fresh off the grill and in leftover form for tacos, nachos, BBQ sandwiches, rice bowls, pasta dishes—basically, just about wherever you can put meat, you can put pork butt. Fry it and you've got carnitas. Slice it and you have perfect roast pork sandwich meat. Pull it apart with two forks and you've got pulled pork.
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- Liberal salt and pepper
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
- 4-pound pork butt or Boston butt
- High flashpoint oil for oiling the grill
- 2 cups beef broth
Reverse searing combines the flavor-inducing slow cook with the caramelized goodness of a great grill sear. The cowboy ribeye is the perfect cut for it because it's bone-in, with plenty of marbling. The process might sound intimidating, but it's strangely very easy. This recipe takes almost no time to prep, has an incredible wow-factor, and is the perfect main course to celebrate your freedom to enjoy delicious grilled meats.
Heat grill to 250 degrees F, with an indirect heat zone. Cook steak for about 1 hour, until internal temperature reaches 115 degrees, then remove. Set up the grill for 400 degrees of direct heat. Sear steak for about 5 minutes per side, until it reaches your desired temperature. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes with a tin foil tent. Consider adding a thick pat of butter to the top. Serve in all its cowboy-worthy glory.