Elevate Your Burger This Summer

Umami Burgers

Summer time is all about grilling burgers and dogs.
Summer time is all about grilling burgers and dogs.

     We are deep into spring and summer time is almost upon us.For some, that means pulling out the grill, dusting it off and maybe doing a few repairs to it in order to get ready for the summer. And then there are others, like us, who grill all year round.  Regardless of which camp you fall into, we all need a good burger recipe that we can fall back on to “WOW” our family and friends.  On that note, I present to you…Fish Sauce!!

This is the brand of fish sauce we use
This is the brand of fish sauce we use

     Fish sauce? In a burger? What has this guy been smoking? Yeah, I don’t blame you for thinking those things, but hear me out. For years, I’ve been hearing on the Egghead Forum and on GreenEggers about people using fish sauce in their burgers and absolutely raving about it. Fish sauce brings that umami flavor to your burger. Not sure what umami is? It’s one of the five basic tastes…sweet, sour, bitter, salty and you guessed it umami. Translated, it means “pleasant, savory taste” and what it does to a burger? Trust me…you are going to want to try it and find out for yourself, but I will say that it elevates your burger to that next level and will make your friends think you are some kind of burger genius while at the same time wondering what you did to get your burgers to taste so good. I’ll let you decide if you feel like telling them. One word of caution, do NOT smell the stuff as you are adding it to your burger. It does NOT smell like flowers, but don’t worry. You won’t smell it in your burgers when they are done.

Burgers on the grill
Burgers on the grill

Ingredients

  • 1 lb 80/20 ground beef
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • optional – dash of Stubbs Beef Spice Rub or your favorite beef/bbq rub

 

Munster cheese added along with the buns
Munster cheese added along with the buns

Directions

  1. Mix together all ingredients together handling the meat as little as possible. Place meat in fridge to chill for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat your grill to 350-400F
  3. Grill burgers 3-4 minutes per side or until desired temperature is reached
  4. Build burgers using whatever condiments your heart desires
Burgers served up with corn on the cob and chips on our "best China"
Burgers served up with corn on the cob and chips on our “best China”

     So why did I wait so long to try fish sauce in our burgers if I had heard so many people raving about it? Honestly, it was because I couldn’t find it at my local grocery store. It wasn’t until a few months back when we went to an Asian market for some items for a stir fry that we found it. My wife got it for a recipe she was going to make, but I knew it would make it into some burgers in the very near future. I don’t think I will make burgers without it from now on.

     A few words of caution when using fish sauce. The stuff does smell. I mean it SMELLS. Trust me. You might not want to breathe it in. Fish sauce is also lo-ho-hoaded with sodium. Ours had 1800 mg per Tbsp!! Using 2 tsp per pound of meat and making four patties is going to add an extra 300 mg per burger. But it’s worth it. Trust me. Try it once, you won’t be disappointed.

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Jalapeno Ranch Dip

J
Jalapeno Ranch Dip

     Looking for a dip to bring to your next party? Then look no further. Mrs. G whipped this up for a party we attended last weekend and it was a hit. I walked outside to say hello to some people and check out what was on the grill. By the time I got back, it was all gone! And there was already three salsas and dips on the table!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of mayonnaise (we prefer Duke’s if you can get it, just for Pete’s sake don’t use light mayo)
  • 1/2 cup Herdez Tomatillo Verde Mexican Cooking Sauce
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 4-6 jalapenos, deveined, seeded and roughly chopped (we used 5)
  • 2 one oz packets dry ranch dressing mix

Directions

  1. Add the first five ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth. You may want to start with 4 jalapenos and adjust the heat level by adding more later if it’s not spicy enough.
  2. Stir in the ranch packets and whisk to incorporate.
  3. Serve chilled. The longer it sits, the hotter it will get.
4
Bet’cha can’t eat just one chip.

     Super simple dip recipe that will WOW your friends. Creamy with a little bit of tang from the buttermilk and tomatillo sauce and a bit of kick on the end from the jalapenos. Once you start eating it, you won’t be able to stop until it’s all gone. Or you run out of chips. Whichever comes first.

 

Disclaimer – I have no association with either Duke’s or Herdez and received no incentive or compensation from them. Just products we like, feel free to sub in your favorite brands.

Summer Beer

 

Summer Beer
Summer Beer. A refreshing cocktail for the hot months coming up.

     When Mrs. G and I first started dating, we would go to this pub close to her place called The Old Monk. Great pub feeling and atmosphere. Phenomenal beer and whiskey list. And the fish and chips? Out of this world. If you are ever in Dallas, I would highly recommend getting them. But that’s a topic for another time. What I want to talk to you about is a drink they have on their menu called Summer Beer. I ordered this drink one hot summer day, not really knowing what to expect. It was  recommended by our waitress and I was told it was a cool, refreshing drink which sounded perfect for if my memory can be trusted, it was approaching 100+ degrees outside. The menu simply described it as vodka, Blue Moon and lemonade over ice.

Summer Beer
Summer Beer

     I recently decided I wanted to try and recreate that drink at home as we no longer live 5 minutes away from that bar. It was a lot of hard work, and much alcohol was consumed, but I think I found a recipe that you the reader will enjoy and will get plenty of compliments for at your next barbecue or party. The things I do for you guys.  The following recipe is perfect for two good sized drinks.

Ingredients

  • 1 12 oz Shiner White Wing
  • 1.5 oz of Dripping Springs Vodka
  • 8 oz of lemonade
  • orange slices
  • ice

Directions

  1. Mix together first 3 ingredients
  2. Pour over an ice filled glass
  3. Add a slice of orange
  4. Squeeze orange into glass, sip and enjoy

     I suggested Shiner White Wing and Drippings Springs Vodka because I like to support Texas whenever I can, but feel free to use your favorite brand of vodka or Belgian White. Blue Moon is pretty common and easy to find in most areas as it is brewed by MillersCoors.

Doesn't that look good?
Doesn’t that look good?

     This just might be my choice of cocktails this summer as the heat bears down on us and becomes oppressive. Cool, crisp and refreshing. Just be careful. It does pack a punch and it will sneak up on you.