Friday, July 05, 2019

A Glorious Fourth

     Okay, other than a small fire, we didn't take the advice of John Adams, who wrote of Independence Day, "It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other from this time forward forever more."*

     We nevertheless celebrated.  Our neighbors provided a lot of "shews ... [sounds like unto] guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations," Indiana having pleasantly few restrictions on what kinds of fireworks can be sold to the general public and the law allowing considerable leeway over the holiday in setting them off.

     Shopping Wednesday, the neighborhood market offered a special meal package for the holiday: four lovely hamburgers (USDA Prime!), big tasty ciabatta buns, choice of cheese (Colby Jack for us), ear corn and potato salad.  When they make things that easy and offer a substantial discount to boot, why fight it.  I wasn't all that sure of the potato salad -- their deli tends to err on the side of caution in terms of seasoning, but I couldn't've been more wrong: it was as good as the best home-made, rich and complex, with exactly the right amount of sweet pickles.

     Fired up the grill, which has seen all too little use in this rainy Spring and early Summer.  Tam and I cooperated to clean the corn (partially de-silked and with a bit of husk as sold; we cleared the rest of the silk, made sure the husks were clean and damp, and wrapped them in foil with a little butter, Chipotle salt and butter).  By then the coals were going well, so I put the corn on.

     The burgers had been out a while, salted, peppered and Worcestershire sauced.  You don't want to start them still cold!  Once the corn had a fair head start (it wants fifteen minutes on a hot grill; I had it around the edges, to get a little more time), I oiled up up a perforated grill pan, loaded the hamburgers on board and set it over the coals.

     Time passed.  My little covered grill is not super hot as such things go and the grill pan slows it even more.  Getting a burger to medium rare takes upwards of twenty minutes, all that lovely hardwood lump charcoal smoke swirling around them the whole time.  I took the corn off first and stacked it on a plate in the oven, then brought in three of the burgers and we prepped them, dished out potato salad, and unwrapped corn.

     It was wonderful!  Once my plate was loaded up, I fetched the fourth burger, now cooked to medium well, and prepped it like the others -- Coleman's mustard (how's that for ex-Colonial effrontery?), Heinz Chili Sauce (it'll make you sneer at ordinary catsup) and a slice of Colby Jack.

     The meal was -- if I say so myself -- delicious.  It was also way too much food.  Tam and I watched a couple of episodes of The Orville, munching steadily, and after a custard cup of potato salad each, our second ear of corn, and a few bites into the second burger, we looked at each other.  Tam spoke first, "This is great, but I don't think I have room left to finish it."

     I agreed.  I had nice sweet cherries in the fridge for dessert and never got them out.  Those hamburgers were huge!
     So it was a glorious Fourth, fireworks sizzling and popping outside and plenty of food on the table.
* Of course, he thought we'd celebrate on the Second, instead of adding in the couple of days Congress spent faffing around with the Declaration.  Alas, John, no.


Overload in Colorado said...

What are the advantages to starting your hamburgers not cold or frozen? I never learned this lesson from my dad.

Ratus said...

It's so you don't burn them on the outside way before they are even close to being done on the inside.

It's the same thing as with a steak, of course the most recent way to fix a steak to perfect doneness is sous vide to temperature you want then sear the outside.

Paul said...

glad you and Tam had a wonderful forth. Plan on some shooty goodness tomorrow in recognition of the fourth.