Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

All That We Need: Cherry Smoked Cheeseburgers

The rainy season continues to pummel our fair land that is Minnesota. Flash floods are common place. As are the seemingly daily thunder storms. Likewise the unruly uprooting of fallen IMG_03041trees, courtesy of the soften soils and stiff gales. It has been a decidedly sporty locale, here in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes – most of them now, and in a word, satiated. The pit-side pond has also swollen to say the least, and between the tempests, I slipped into my water proof boots, and took a stroll down there. Slowly ambling alongside the tall grasses and flooded banks. My boots sucking into wet earth reminiscent of my bog romping days of youth, where if I was lucky, my ecology professor told me, I might find the rare and highly esteemed, Trailing Arbutus. A plant so rare, I was told, that it would have put a normal man of means into serious debt should he pick it and bring it home. Should the department of natural resources catch wind that is.

What I found along the pond’s edge was something not so rare, but beautiful to behold, and equally as unidentifiable to me. I’m guessing an Iris. That’s what my botanical gut says. I wish I knew wildflowers better. It is a gaping fissure in my knowledge I’d like to fill some day. I’d rather know wildflowers than know a second language, I think. This one was of a delicate nature, like all flowers are, yet charming, and independent in the same breath. About 15 inches in stalk I should wager, and violet flavored blooms the rough stature of overly soggy potato chips. A resident token of beauty and an act of small rebellion in a land wrought by the storms. It stood ever so proudly, doing what seemed like nothing at all other than looking lovely for the benefit of photographers. Anyways, I liked seeing it there at the water’s edge. It belonged. And if one of you might know it’s true identity, and I suspect you do, do let me know.

Now onto something I do know – cheeseburgers!


Six robust patties sizzled in one accord over a beautiful bed of coals. Light plumes of cherry wood smoke curled through the cast iron grate. And sunbeams washed over the lawn in a glorious golden light. Yes, the rains had ebbed long enough for that precious glowing orb of light to burn aloft in an endless blue sky. A reprieve well-earned, snatched from soddened battlefields, and for the evening at least, all the world was right again. And dry.

The burgers today were seasoned with one envelope of Lipton Onion Soup Mix, cobbled through-out the ground beef, then lightly dusted over with a bit of Famous Dave’s Steak and Burger Seasoning. We placed them opposite the hot coals, or in-direct for you technical grill-smiths, put the lid on, dampers tweaked, and let the pit do it’s thing. In good time, flip thy meat according to your pit master instincts. You know how it works.



There is something very authentic that happens when the wood smoke curls. Every grill jockey knows it. Every pit keeper longs for it. An infallible sense of well-being and contentment seems to rise with those aromatic, wispy tendrils of smoke. It’s enough to move a man, or even a gaggle of women, to draw a lovely beverage and just sit. Legs crossed like ambassadors of high leisure, ice clinking in our glass, let us at once let up on the accelerator pedal of life, and just be. Like that showy flower down by the pond’s edge, may we revel in what is still. And just be. In a world detached with haste, rushing from one posture to another, oh what sweet respite we garner in the simple act of watching smoke taper into a blue, pastel sky. And for a while at least, it is all that we need. Amen.


Cherry Smoked Cheddar Cheese Burgers with all the fixings. Yum! Because when the sky stops falling we all need to eat. Nay we need to live.

34 responses

  1. Looks like an iris to me! And the burgers look fabulous!

    June 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

  2. Flower = Iris, Barbecue between showers = Legend, Burgers = Nom

    June 24, 2014 at 3:16 pm

  3. Oh man, that looks so good. Cherry wood, love the way that sounds and using my imagination how it smells. Cheeseburgers are the food of the gods!!

    June 24, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    • Oh yes indeed. Perhaps nothing says grilling like the perfect cheese burger. It’s where ever pit master has started.

      June 24, 2014 at 6:34 pm

  4. Kane, Erica SGT


    Dear POTP, I am unable to post on your website from this email address. But I would like to tell you something about your flower. It is a Louisiana Iris, of the common purple variety. It flowers once a year and will multiply each year with new growth from the roots. So every year you will see more flowers than the year before. Thankyou for sharing your wonderfully unique view of the world around you, please don’t stop. We dreamers are very appreciative of it. Erica from Down Under (friend of Ron Duke) 🙂


    June 24, 2014 at 7:10 pm

    • Now that was an excellent reply! I appreciate your info and kind words. I really do. Many thanks for going out of your way to leave a comment. A Louisiana Iris..Nice. I am dismayed to say it is already gone. Many of the better blooms do that I guess. Aw well. Thanks again , Erica.

      June 24, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  5. laurie27wsmith

    Botany, Burgers, and prose from PoTP. What more can we ask for?

    June 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    • I suppose you could ask for free delivery…But that ain’t gonna happen. Many thanks, Laurie!

      June 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

      • laurie27wsmith

        Yeah, it may just be out of your zip code…. You’re welcome, I look forward to seeing what you’ve all cooked up.

        June 25, 2014 at 5:12 am

  6. Oh shit! You’ve done it again. I WANT!! Nice work my friend… I feel a burger brewin’

    June 25, 2014 at 2:54 am

  7. Poetic, well constructed and thoughtful. You are certainly a master of the written word. And of the cheeseburger. BTW those craycort CI grates are mighty fine. Don’t know how I’ve lived without them until now. Except they sent me an entire case of handles instead of just the one I ordered! Thanks again for a great read.

    June 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    • Thank you good Sir. I can easily say the same thing back to you. Like wise a master wordsmith. Oh most bloggers are good writers, but you just have a style I can abide with. One that stirs me. I love delving through your prose over there, and seeing what you do with meat and flame. Always a product of patience, and superb quality.

      Glad you’re enjoying the craycort grates. They are everything a pit keeper could want. What ever to do with your case of handles! That’s funny. Aw well, there are worse problems.

      Until next time,
      Good Grillin’!

      June 25, 2014 at 2:05 pm

  8. Ah yes … ’tis wet here to my Smokie Brutha but, I guess that’s no surprise since our Latitudes are very similar. A BUMPER crop of pesky Mosquitoes this Spring to be sure … *SLAP* … Oh, and the burgers … AMEN !!
    Stay hungry Friend.

    June 25, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    • Indeed the mosquitoes have wagered on magnificent this summer. I think they are evolving carbide tipped pokers now. Able to lance three layers on a given bystander. A price we northerners pay I guess, to get to live in the north.

      Carry on man!

      June 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

  9. too … NOT to … shame on me …

    June 25, 2014 at 4:54 pm

  10. My wife and I attended an outdoor concert last Saturday night as part of our small towns’ Centennial anniversary … I foolishly wore shoes with no socks … you can guess how badly my ankles (and I) paid the piper … GEEZE !!!

    June 25, 2014 at 5:41 pm

    • Nothing quite so unbecoming than a Canadian with itchy ankles….

      June 26, 2014 at 9:39 am

  11. Stumbling and squelching in the boggy mud surrounding the lake makes this encounter with the ethereal beauty of the (Louisiana) Iris an almost spiritual experience. I say this not to exaggerate, but because it is always how I feel when nature throws up some wonder and beauty which I am totally in awe of. Thank goodness that some unexpected beauty has been born of the wet weather you are having.
    It is interesting to hear you say that you would “rather know wildflowers than know a second language”, because to me, the names of those flowers is a second language. This concept chimes in with a post I am drafting in my head, so I will let those thoughts percolate for a while. But if I wanted to include and quote (with credits), your fabulous phrase, would that be ok?
    Now onto the ultimate comfort food; your perfect burger. Full of meaty goodness and flavour which can only come when food is inbued with soul, this meal of yours outshines anything that Nathan Myhrvold could ever concoct in the lab! The Iris, the burger, the lake and even the rain all combine to make this a fabulously real experience which all your followers can share in, making this another perfect post from the POTP!
    Thank you,

    June 26, 2014 at 2:08 am

  12. Woops…..I meant ethereal!

    June 26, 2014 at 2:09 am

    • Thanks kindly, Karen. Etherel…Ethereal… I like the word regardless! Yes, I figured if any reader out there would appreciate my Iris discovery, or my innate willingness to learn wildflowers, it would be you! It is a lot of fun, I must admit, even stumbling around in my unwieldy ignorance. And yes, I would be honored henceforth if you wanted to quote my wildflower ineptness. Go for it.

      You see, the older I get, the more I seem to appreciate the little things, like a flowering Iris along side the pond. It didn’t have to be there, yet it is. Standing lovely anyhow in a sometimes cruel world. And I like that. It’s a motto to live by almost. And I admire folks like you, who seem to know these little floras with ease. You are a botanical superhero, in an apron I guess!

      Thanks Karen. As always, good things happen when you chime in here.

      Take care,

      June 26, 2014 at 9:36 am

  13. lookin’ good! burgers are on the menu for me tonight as well!

    June 26, 2014 at 2:29 am

    • Yes!! Burgers for Gusface Grillah! Good times, my friend.


      June 26, 2014 at 9:37 am

  14. For the second time today I am reminded of the scriptural admonition to, “Be Still…” There is real joy and serenity available to us all if we learn that simple truth – Sit and watch a while and enjoy the flowers, the smell of the rain, the smoke from the grill, good hamburgers, and life! God bless you and yours up there in my old homeland.

    June 26, 2014 at 10:49 am

    • Ah, thanks for that reference. Yes sir, the more my flesh advances in years, the more interested I am in doing things as the Lord subscribed all along. Be still indeed.

      And be well, John in Ecuador.

      Many thanks,

      June 26, 2014 at 5:04 pm

  15. Liz

    that sounds lovely!

    June 26, 2014 at 10:56 pm

    • It certainly was! But there should have been bacon. There was no bacon.

      Thanks Liz!

      June 26, 2014 at 11:06 pm

  16. Reblogged this on THAT DANG OL' SHOW.

    June 27, 2014 at 12:29 pm

  17. Omg so yummy. I just love the way you talk about grilling.

    June 27, 2014 at 9:21 pm

  18. One of the greatest beauties of the simple cheese burger is it’s so versatile. I can cook AND eat burgers all summer long and never do them the same way twice.

    July 12, 2014 at 7:31 am

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