I was born in Dallas, Texas and raised in a 70s ranch-style home in the suburbs. The back of the house featured a spacious L-shaped deck – my favorite childhood spot. The deck was stained cherry red, with a pretty lattice work above for shade, and a built-in bench and swing. My brothers and I spent hours upon hours playing on the deck in the summertime – skipping rope, swinging and reading books, and propping the hose on the lattice work just right to create a cool water spray we considered as fun as any water park in town. We also gathered wooden spoons from the kitchen and used them outside as microphones for “singing competitions.” I confess, I always gave one brother a perfect 10, but downgraded the other’s score. Don’t ask me why I did it. They still give me grief for it.
In Dallas, the weather was favorable for grilling year-round. My parents hosted parties on the beautiful deck and my dad would grill up hamburgers, ribs, chicken, and his famous fajitas. The food was always wonderful, but the grilling added family stress because of the legendary flare-ups. I’m not sure if that particular gas grill was poorly constructed or not, but we all knew what to do the second my dad yelled, “Get me some water!” My brothers and I immediately stopped everything else, made a bee-line for the kitchen, grabbed the first generally water-tight container we saw, filled it, and run as fast as our legs could carry us to the deck. My dad quickly doused the flame (and unfortunately the meat). I never thought the flare-up drill was strange. Well, I did question why the grill produced huge, glorious flames every-so-often, but I thought that was the price you paid for grilling.
When my husband and I were newlyweds, Pete was happily preparing to cook a meal on our new grill when I asked if I should get him a pail of water. He looked at me quizzically and asked why. ”Well, for the flare-ups of course!” I explained the entire “flare-up and douse” process and we laughed until our bellies hurt. I’d never seen the humor in the water-dousing drill before.
I haven’t seen a single grill flare-up since I left that modest Texas house with the restful back deck. My dad grills almost every time I visit without producing a single shooting flame or urgent cry for ”Water!” He has produced some amazing dinners on his new grill, though. He found a recipe for hamburgers that makes me smile just thinking about it. The beef is mixed with sour cream and fresh herbs, topped with grilled red onions, and served on a toasted whole wheat bun. I had forgotten about this creation and found it the other day in my family recipe book and decided to give it a whirl. Oh my. These burgers are good. The sour cream gives the meat a cool flavor and the herbs add a springtime touch. It makes me contemplate adding a hose to our patio roof and busting out the wooden spoons.
Grilled Hamburgers with Sour Cream and Herbs
1 pound ground beef (grass-fed preferred)
2 tablespoons sour cream
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1 teaspoon parsley
1/4 freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 red onion, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
2 teaspoons coconut oil
4 whole wheat hamburger buns
Condiments of your choice
Gently massage ground beef, sour cream, thyme, rosemary, parsley, black pepper, and salt until just incorporated. Divide meat into four portions. Flatten each portion to 3/4-inch thick. Gently press center of patty down to create a slight depression, about 1/2-inch diameter. Cover and chill patties 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Coat red onion slices with coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Remove patties from refrigerator and grill to desired doneness. While the patties are grilling, also grill the onion slices until lightly charred.
Serve hamburger on whole wheat bun and topped with red onions and any condiments of your choice.
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