Dads and the Barbeque

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From Lisa Barnes

How is it that every father loves to barbeque? Is there a special BBQ gene that men are born with? Or is it some right of passage given from father to son, generation after generation?

The first time I met my father-in-law it was 10 p.m. and he was outside grilling steaks in a parka in 35 degree cold. (There may have even been a skiff of snow on the ground). My husband was apparently given the BBQ password and doesn’t mind grilling when it’s raining (not a downpour, but a sprinkle). I’m not complaining (the food is yummy). I’m simply curious.

I didn’t see a ceremony, but now my almost 4 year old son loves to eat anything that comes off the barbeque. Most nights when I’m starting to prep dinner, my son asks “Is Daddy going to barbeque tonight?” My son’s favorite is steak and corn on the BBQ, but he also enjoys the act of barbequing. When they light the grill there’s a bonding while my husband scrapes and cleans. Then my husband pitches balls to my son while they’re waiting (they didn’t get the patience gene). Then they bring in the food and discuss how it went. They talk about flare-ups, smoke, the standing time and of course the grill marks. They’re very proud of themselves. I’m happy for less clean-up, tasty food and hungry boys.

It’s not just my family. I recently went to a gourmet tailgating cooking class at TWO Restaurant in San Francisco. The topic of gas vs. charcoal vs. briquette was very heated among the men and I heard about the “Green Egg” (apparently a BBQ, smoker and grill all in one), as well as many other grilling gadgets and accessories. Then the men’s eyes lit up once the beef and prawns were revealed.

So here’s to Dads! Whether they’re grilling grass fed beef, tofu or vegetables – thank you for cooking.

Surprise Burgers

1 pound lean grass fed ground beef or lamb
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
4 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon fresh chopped basil
1 teaspoon chopped chives

Optional Toppings:

4 whole wheat buns
4 organic spinach leaves
organic ketchup

Heat outdoor or indoor grill. Combine beef, salt, pepper and balsamic. Form beef mixture into 4 patties. Combine goat cheese, basil and chives in a small bowl, and mix until combined and creamy. Cut patties in half lengthwise, remove top half and stuff cheese mixture onto center of burger half. Place top of burger over stuffed half and pinch together so stuffing is encased.

Grill burgers over hot indoor or outdoor grill for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Eat patties on own or in buns, with suggested (above) or favorite toppings.
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Lisa Barnes is author of The Petit Appetit Cookbook and lives in Sausalito, California.
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