A burger tribute to a great man

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Sometimes, you have to go back to comfort food. When my dad’s best friend, Carl Allen, passed away last week, all I could think of was hamburgers.

The Allens have been part of my life since I was born. We celebrated countless holidays and special life events together. We kept our horse at their stable, he came to my high school track meets and we shared breakfasts at Western Bowl. Carl made our hobby horses and doll strollers when we were little, danced with my sister at her wedding and offered us a shoulder to cry when our dad passed away.

Our families usually celebrated Fourth of July together, in no small part because fireworks were legal at the Allens’ house outside of town. We spent the day playing games, sharing a dinner from the grill and then shooting fireworks until everyone was worn out. There’s a story about bourbon, bottle rockets and almost setting the stable on fire, but that is for another day.

Carl cooked up a feast for every occasion, but Independence Day called for burgers. They were the biggest hamburgers I’d ever seen – hefty, medium rare and piled high with veggies. For a 9 year old used to McDonald’s overcooked, wafer thin patties, they were a little scary. But my dad said we’d love them and we trusted him, so we dove in. They were delicious.

Since that day, I’ve never eaten a burger without thinking of Carl, and maybe that’s why I love house burgers; they are full of love and perfect to share with friends. I’ll miss you old man. This burger’s for you.

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

Kristi’s House Burgers

This made 5 decent-sized patties.

2 lbs ground hamburger or bison
1 egg
2 tbsps worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp Cavender’s Greek seasoning (this contains salt, pepper and garlic so you shouldn’t need to add those separately or you can substitute them instead)
1/3 yellow onion, diced

Combine the meat, egg and onion in a bowl. Add Worcestershire sauce and seasoning to taste. Mix the meat with your hands – no cheating and using a spoon (Carl Allen would not approve). Form the mixture into patties.

Grill the patties on a medium-high heat grill flipping once about 10 minutes depending on thickness and desired doneness. Top with cheese if desired during the last 2 minutes of cooking.

Serve it on tasty bread (my nephew is partial to the King’s Hawaiian buns) and pile it high with veggies and pickles.

Enjoy with friends!

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