Dinner Tonight: Cheeseburgers and Watermelonade

Know this about today's menu: it is written aspirationally, by stuck-in-the-city New Yorkers who dreams of the smell of flaming hot barbeques and the perfect, irreplaceably smokey burgers that they produce. Such burgers are the stuff of hazy summer dreams -- egg yolk-y yellow cheese oozing over a juicily charred, misshapen patty, mashed between squishy white buns and falling apart at every bite. Softly pink, and fruity sweet watermelonade is just the thing to wash that marvelous mess down.

The Menu

The New Englandah Burgah by Chef Jason Royal

Makes 2 large burgers

1 pound 80-85% lean Black Angus ground beef
1/4 cup Pure New England maple syrup, plus more for basting
4 thick slices applewood smoked bacon
1 MacIntosh apple
4 slices Vermont cheddar cheese
2 Bulkie rolls
Salt and pepper to taste
2 bottles blueberry beer

1. In a medium bowl, combine the beef, 1/4 cup maple syrup, and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well using your hands. Form into 2 8-ounce patties. Set aside in the refrigerator.

2. Cook the bacon on the grill, in a skillet, or in the oven. Peel and slice the apple. Place in small bowl and sprinkle lemon juice over the slices to prevent browning.

3. Place the apple slices on grill and cook for about one minute on each side. Remove and set aside.

4. Grill the burgers over high heat, turn after 3 or 4 minutes and move to a cooler part of the grill. Drizzle some maple syrup over the burgers as they cook. Toast the buns as the burgers cook.

5. When the burgers are cooked to your liking, take two slices or more of bacon and place on top of each burger. Arrange some apple slices on top of the bacon.

6. Place a slice of cheese on top of each burger, cover the grill and let melt for about a minute.

7. Place the burgers on the buns.

8. Serve with blueberry beer.

9. Enjoy.

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Grocery List (serves 4, with Watermelonade to spare)

1 watermelon
2 pounds 80-85% lean ground beef (best quality possible)
1/2 cup maple syrup
8 slices thick applewood smoked bacon
2 MacIntosh apples
8 slices Vermont cheddar
4 Bulkie rolls (or any burger bun will do)

We assume you have lemons, sugar, salt, and pepper. If not, you might not actually own a kitchen.

The Plan

1. This meal is mostly about prep. Slice the apples (sprinkle with lemon juice), cube the watermelon, make sugar syrup, slice the cheese, fry the bacon, form the patties. All of these things can and should happen first, though the order in which they do is up to you!

2. After all that prep is finished, and the patties are chilling in the fridge and so on, I would make the watermelonade before dealing with the burgers, perhaps while the barbeque heats up! Let it chill in the fridge until you're ready, or better yet, sip while you grill!

3. Serve! Probably with a lovely sunset and lots of Wet-Naps. Expect raves and 100% pure contentment.

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