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Dine-In: The smell of smoke

My father’s job required him to keep crazy hours. Well, it was actually the babies he delivered who had the say-so of when he needed to show up for work. Somehow Daddy made it to almost all of our piano recitals, tennis matches and baseball games – even just for a moment. He always made the effort.

When my father was home, he was continually working on some project around the house, from hand-waxing our old pine floors to pruning every bush in sight.

Another thing Daddy enjoyed in his spare time – and still does – was firing up the grill or the huge charcoal smoker he has parked in our back driveway. From pork butts and hamburgers to ribs and rib-eyes, we all loved it when the smell of smoke entered the woods around our home. Something good was coming to our table that night, usually on Friday evenings.

As a child, I would hang out with my father as he tended the grill, desiring to be close to him. He told wonderful stories and played silly word games with me. And of course, he taught me how to cook outdoors.

These were wonderfully sacred moments between a father and daughter, although I didn’t realize it at the time. And to this day, the smell of smoke – mixed in with a little beeswax from the floors and a hint of wintergreen from his tobacco– comforts me, reminding me of the safest time I have ever known.

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Teriyaki Burgers

1 1/2 lb ground chuck (15-22 percent fat content)
3 Tbs purchased teriyaki sauce
1 Tbs honey
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
Garnishes: Lettuce leaves, tomato slices, red onion rings, grilled pineapple rings

Combine first 6 ingredients and shape into 4 equal-sized patties.  Prepare grill by spraying grate with nonstick cooking spray and then heating to high heat. Place burgers on grill over direct heat, cooking 3-4 minutes per side (only turning once) until you reach an internal temperature of at least 165°F for medium burgers. To serve, place burgers on toasted buns, top with desired garnishes and serve immediately.

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Posted in: Cooking, Dine In

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