When I picture my dad, I picture him outside, or at least in the garage or the barn–those halfway points between domesticity and the wilds of a rambling Pennsylvania yard. When I call home and ask to talk to him, I often hear: “Dad’s outside, but let me ring the dinner bell,” or, “He’s in the barn working on the car… try his cell!”
I guess that’s why when I think of Father’s Day meals, it seems right for them to be cooked outside, over the grill, where Dad is in his natural habitat.
Burgers are a sure way to delight Dad, and they lend themselves to all sorts of new variations. With Lone Star Farm’s lean, dry-aged beef, burgers are healthy and flavorful. You can even buy Lone Star Farm Beef in ready-made patties to give yourself more time to enjoy family time on Sunday!
Here are two varieties, both of which are delicious on pretzel rolls, a particularly appropriate addition to summer picnics around here, since Lititz, in Lancaster County, is the birthplace of the American pretzel.
Here is the Basic Burger Recipe (or use ready-made patties instead):
2 pounds ground beef
2/3 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup dried bread crumbs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine all ingredients and shape into patties.
Grill 4-5 minutes per side. (Patties will take less time….and if you are making the cheese-stuffed burgers below, you will grill after adding the cheese.) Read our recommendations for cooking Lone Star Farm Beef.
For the pretzel rolls, you can start the day before and keep the dough in the fridge. Just put it in the fridge before you divide the dough into balls.
Pretzels are bread that has been through a storm. To make them at home, you create an angry-looking “storm” on your stove top by boiling water with baking soda and sugar in it. Pretzels are hearty little snacks, though, and they weather the storm even better for it, with a slightly hardened crust and soft heart.
- FOR PRETZEL DOUGH:
- 1 package instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups warm milk (not hot!)
- 1½ cups warm water (not hot!)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 6-8 cups flour
- FOR WATER BATH, EGG WASH, ETC.:
- 3 quarts water
- ¼ cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- Kosher salt
- In a large bowl, combine yeast, oil, sugar, milk and water. Test the milk and water with your finger and make sure it is warm but not hot. Add salt and gradually add flour, working the flour in with your hands and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Transfer to a bowl with a little olive oil in the bottom and flip the dough so the surface is coated with oil. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise for about 2 hours. After that, you can either save the dough in a freezer bag in the fridge to make the rolls tomorrow, or continue.
- Spread some olive oil on parchment paper and lay out the rolls on the parchment. Make them slightly smaller than the burgers you are envisioning because the rolls will grow as they rise. Let rise for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water, sugar and baking soda in a large pot.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Pick up the first roll, flip it over, and pinch the roll so it will gather into a tight ball (be careful that it doesn't deflate).
- Plop two rolls into the boiling water. After one minute, flip it over, give it one more minute to boil on the other side, and then remove the. It will be drippy--let the roll drip-dry over the pan for a second.
- Set the boiled dough on a cookie sheet lined with oiled parchment paper.
- Use the tip of a sharp knife to cut across the top of the dough (be careful again that it doesn't deflate).
- Brush the dough with the beaten egg, and then sprinkle kosher salt on top. (It's a pretzel... so don't be shy about the salt!)
- Bake for 20-25 minutes until brown but not burned.
Now that we have the rolls and burgers all set, let’s experiment with some burger varieties.
Curry-Feta Burgers with Tomato
8 hamburgers, prepared as above
8 pretzel rolls
8 tomato slices
8 slices red onion, grilled
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup Olive Oil Mayonnaise
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons basil, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
Combine dressing ingredients. Top the grilled burger with sliced tomatoes, grilled red onion, and then the dressing.
Gorgonzola-Stuffed Sun-Dried Tomato Burgers
8 hamburgers, prepared as above, or 8 thawed patties
1/2 cup Gorgonzola Cheese
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, pureed into a paste
8 large spinach leaves
8 red onion slices
Lay 4 uncooked burgers on a plate or cutting board and use your fingers to make a dent in the middle. Place about a tablespoon of Gorgonzola cheese in the center of each.
Place another uncooked burger patty on top of the one filled with the cheese, and press the edges of the two burgers together to seal them. Grill, and then top with sun-dried tomato, spinach, onion and more Gorzonzola cheese, and serve on a pretzel roll.