Keeping it Simple: How to Grill for the Mass Populous
Rule #1: Don’t Experiment On Your Guests
The heat index hemorrhaged around 102, but of course, it felt even hotter than that. It pretty much had too. I was grilling, you see. Grilling on the hottest day of the year. I stood abreast the pit, fires blazing as if spurted up from the very bowels of Hades, sweat tumbling off my nose like a Yosemite waterfall, spatula in hand, working deftly a herd of cheeseburgers about the grate, trying to coral them all into the indirect heat, opposite the orange bed of coals. The grease spilled from the burger underbellies, igniting like Ron Howard’s Back Draft on the coals below. The casualties of burnt knuckle hair a’waft in the evening slants of golden light. I slipped the lid on with all due haste, snuffing the inferno. Vexed like a Saber Toothed Tiger who just chased a monkey up a tree. I grabbed a paper towel and drew it across my forehead. My but it was hot and sporty at the pit today. Unmercifully heated! But I worked it. I had to. I stood my ground as Keeper of the Coals. For I had people to feed today. Lots of people.
We were having some company over, you see, and my bride hereby appointed me head cook for the crowd. You can do that, I guess, when you’re a wife of a patron of the pit. There are certain privileges they enjoy, such as not cooking, and getting to sample your routine grilling spoils. It’s a good life for them, I cannot deny. But they also must endure. They oft-times are the humble recipients of your experimental meat art. Of new flavors, and coarse culinary ideas. She never quite has let me live down the smoked peach cobbler incident, that which tasted more like a rank ash tray that any peach we knew. But what can you do? Seemed like a good idea at the time. This day, however, we were going with a known quantity sure to sooth the populous tongue. Cheeseburgers! And thus, under blue skies and a rather hellish sun, so it was, and came to be.
You Seasoned it With What???
Now when cooking En masse, because of a distinct variety of tastes you’re trying to please, I find a good technique as far as seasoning is to err on the edge of simple. Keep it simple. For some folks do not care for bold, in-your-face, flavors. They just don’t. And it is a pain in the pit keeper’s hind quarter, but alas he should refrain from impregnating his beloved beef patties with his newly contrived ghost pepper sauce. Just don’t do it. Lest you enjoy hearing your name moaned in vain across three and one-half zip codes. Keep it simple.
So to season our burger patties we went about as simple, and as time-tested as you can get. Just some kosher salt and some fresh cracked black pepper. That’s it. That’s all you need when sailing the sea of many palates. Throw some smoke wood on your coals to give the burger a little something extra, patron to the pit. And your guests will know at first bite that your burgers hail from the smokey realm. And don’t forget the bacon either!
Enter The Meat Candy
Being your quintessential red-blooded man, I estimated we needed roughly two pounds of thick cut, maple-smoked bacon, give or take, for our cheeseburgers. A frying project perfectly suited for the Mojoe Griddle. We took the steel behemoth from its box and lugged it pit-side, and centered it over the 30,000 BTU burner of the Camp Chef stove. Glory be, you have never in all your days seen a mound of bacon cook so swiftly, and so effortlessly as this. And the heady aromas which pummeled your nose bordered on cardiac utopia. Once again, we are smitten with the Mojoe way of life. But then, who wouldn’t be with all that bacon.
If you haven’t yet had occasion, and if you feel like it, do go and check out http://www.mojoegriddle.com/ You can learn all about the Mojoe there, and who knows, maybe even pick yourself up one for your next meat party.Worth every dime.
Thus it was with a sweat laden reproach that we scooped the last burger off the pit, some of them cloaked in a gooey pile of medium cheddar. Man! Lightly seasoned only in salt and freshly cracked pepper, and tinted with a sweet kiss of pecan smoke, just because. And all the fixings left to the discretion of your supper guests. That’s how you do it. If you’re a good pit jockey, you might even toast the buns for them. Amen.
Thats just the way I like my burgers. Salt and pepper, simple is best. Must have bacon.
July 28, 2016 at 8:18 am
We must be great minds! I was thinking the same thing! Bacon is boss…
July 28, 2016 at 9:15 am
Far out, thanks Cheri! Thanks for taking the extra time and the hoops to jump through to leave a comment. Yeah, it was a fun day. Glad you were able to make it over for the burger bash.
July 28, 2016 at 9:13 am
Thick-cut bacon? YES! Maple-smoked, at that? YES! I’ve had my experience cooking for a large crew. Best to not experiment. Yup, tried and true is the way to go. I’m sure that your mad skills were much appreciated all around!
July 28, 2016 at 9:52 am
I think women love bacon as much as men. A universally loved protein. Maple smoked and thick cut. Can’t beat it. Thanks Mrs Deerslayer. I’ve seen hints of the cooking in bulk that you’ve done, and am suitably impressed. It’s a skill!
July 28, 2016 at 11:23 am
I like to think of it as a gift. 😉
Also, forget the Chanel! Nothing attracts a guy worth his salt more than the smell of bacon on his beloved.
July 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm
LoL, reminds me of the time my wife appointed me head cook…….. wait for it…… my own surprise party.
July 28, 2016 at 3:19 pm
Wow, she’s good! She has brought the art of being a pit junkies wife to its highest mastery ! A tip of the hat to Mrs Dodd. Bless you guys!
July 28, 2016 at 5:49 pm
Ah yes. It’s been a month of extreme warmth here as well, but that Weber keeps on smokin’ because as you say, it has to. Too hot to fire up the stove/oven on the inside, and since the grill is in a constant state of preheating anyway, well, you know, we must keep grilling. And those burgers look awesome by the way. I’m sure your efforts were appreciated.
July 28, 2016 at 9:35 pm
Loved the photo of your outhouse salt n pepper shakers! Those must be some fun conversation pieces. Full of “S” and Full of “P” indeed!
July 28, 2016 at 9:41 pm
They are indeed! They never fail to bend a smile.
July 28, 2016 at 9:49 pm
I also enjoyed your Back Draft reference. That brought back good memories of going to see that with a few buddies at the theaters. What a great movie. Amazing slow mo shots of incredible fire and flames too…
July 30, 2016 at 1:30 am
Sounds good. I haven’t seen that movie in years. Been so long I forget the particulars now. I kind of like that. Means I can now watch it again for the first time. Ron Howard knows how to make a movie!
July 31, 2016 at 7:46 am
I can relate to this one, as I’ve been the hired gun cook for several family and friend events recently, during our own little heat wave. Well said. I am often tempted to push the culinary limit, but I respect the needs of my audience who typically prefer less heat and spice than I do. It’s most important to make ‘em happy so they’ll come back for more. Cheers.
July 31, 2016 at 10:14 pm
Pretty much. I’m sure the scenario plays out the same for many a pit jockey across the country and world wide. It’s an art, entertaining for the masses. Diplomatic cooking, I guess you could say. The art of pleasing every one. But it’s fun.
Thanks Todd! Have a good one, man!
August 2, 2016 at 8:07 am