Tue Sep 13, 2011
Last year we instituted what will hopefully be a Meatwave tradition: the Meat-a-thon. The original idea was an entire weekend of meat—we start on Saturday afternoon, go all night, then wake up and keep grilling. That's exactly what happened last year, and what was on the schedule for this year, but as the Meatwave approached and I was feeling a little burnt out from recent travelling and with a lot of Meatwavers unable to make it this weekend, I scaled back to just one day, but with two days worth of meat!
I was all about burgers at this Meat-a-thon, hint the subtitle, Electric Burgerloo. I spent most of Saturday morning grinding an enormous amount of fatty chuck, then prepping an array of toppings for all different types of burgers. The overwhelming favorite of the day were green-chile cheeseburgers, which are cheeseburgers with a big pile of roasted green chiles on top. I really wanted to bring home some hatches from my trip to Houston last week, but it didn't happen and I settled for canned green chiles—delicious none-the-less.
Along with beef burgers, I made these green-chile turkey burgers. While I won't do mix ins for my beef—no need to mess with perfection—I will go crazy with turkey. I added a load of green chiles into a couple pounds of ground turkey, then also added cilantro, garlic, chile powder, cumin, and oregano. The end result were turkey burgers loaded with flavor, so good it had my wife going for seconds—a high vote of confidence for a turkey burger.
I'll make a quick mention that I also tried to make some vegetarian black bean burgers, but seeing as they're not meat, they were a total failure. Anyone have a good recipe for grill-able veggie burgers for me?
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I got a 5-lb vertical sausage stuffer for my birthday back in January, but only first used it now. The wait was worth it though, since these spicy mango chicken sausages were pretty awesome. Although I had a little bit too few mangos for the amount of ground chicken thighs, the sweet mango flavor was still there and put into a nice balance with a hefty portion of spicy, fruity jalapenos.
Feeling a little run down, I did a lot of work for the meat, but didn't do much in the way of sides, with the exception of this pimento cheese. My Texan wife turned me onto this, and it just so happens to go great on burgers. I made a batch of this mixture of cheddar, mayo, pimentos, and cayenne as another way to extend the burger collection, although it was mostly eaten with crackers and celery.
With have Meatwavers Adam and Clair to thank for this watermelon, which came from their CSA share they kindly let us pick up this week. This was really a saving grace in a sea of fatty foods, with the watermelon providing the perfect light freshness needed. Best of all, it was yellow!
Marissa and Joe provided the hard liquor, which quickly became the running joke of the day. On their way over they picked up a bottle of Absolut Brooklyn—a Spike Lee Joint—whose apple and ginger flavor was so intense and wrong that the day was spent trying to find mixers that would either compliment or mask the flavor. Tea, ginger ale, and cranberry juice all failed, but by that time the vodka was also all gone and we the focus was more on the alcohol than making it taste good.
I was looking forward to the ice cream this week almost as much as the meat. I had made a salted caramel ice cream, which we turned into milk shakes to pair with the burgers—insanely delicious.
With such a long Meatwave season, there's always at least one that has a low turnout. Usually this happens in the middle of the season, but with such well attended Meatwaves this year, I thought this lull wasn't going to come, but it finally did this weekend. Not that there's anything wrong with that. A smaller affair is a nice, relaxing change, and this weekend we had Marissa, Joe, Matt, and Erin as great company, not to mention the right people to help us eat enough food for small army.
Just because the Meatwave was small in scale, didn't make it any less festive. After an afternoon of eating meat, we took a break to watch the insane Michigan game—a must for ex-pats Joe, Matt, and Erin—at which point the meat started flowing again. The night finally came to a close around 1am, under a full moon on a beautiful September night. If only I had the energy to get out bed the next morning, I would have certainly gone for a day two of the burger madness...I guess that'll just have to wait until next year's Meat-a-thon 3.