Father’s Day Food: Try a retro barbecue

By Suzanne Corbett, STLSportsPage.com Travel/Food Editor

Traditionally, Father’s Day has never been about gathering for a fancy brunch or dinner at a restaurant. It’s about gathering the kids and grandkids together for a backyard barbecue and a game of catch.  At least that’s how Father’s Day was celebrated back in the day.

Considering today’s necessary social distancing – refraining from congregating in large groups in public places – it’s time to go retro and plan retro barbecue for dad, with a menu where burgers and steaks are the star attraction. That said, let’s party like its 1955, 1965 or 1980 – any decade you like – just as long as it’s packed with memories of Dad and Grandpa and paired with a menu that will make dad smile.

When planning a retro grill party favorites fall into three categories: beef, pork and handhelds such as burgers, brats and hot dogs.  Handhelds are items like burgers, brats and dogs. And when it comes to pork, while I love ribs, I can’t forget my St. Louis roots – I love pork steaks. For Father’s Day, I prefer grilling beef – big bodacious burgers or a sirloin or porterhouse that’s big enough to slice and share.

To make that burger unforgettable, after grilling it to 160 degrees internal temperature (The Beef Checkoff’ recommended safe temperature), top it with candied bacon.  When cooking steak, grill steaks over medium-hot fire for 2 minutes per side. Move steaks to medium-low part of fire and grill to desired doneness, about 8 minutes for medium – 140°F.  Transfer steaks to platter; tent loosely with foil and let stand 5 minutes.

OmahaSteaks.com has shared the following recipes StLSportsPage readers to consider making for Dad this Father’s Day weekend.

Sirloin steak

Dry-Brined New York Strips with Grilled Brown Butter Balsamic Onions

Dry Brine:

4 tablespoons Kosher salt

1 tablespoon coarse ground pepper

4  (11 ounce) New York Strips  or 1 (1 ½ pound) porterhouse

Butter and Balsamic:

4 tablespoons salted butter

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh thyme

Grilled Onions:

2 large sweet onions

4 wooden skewers, soaked

1 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

To make dry brine: Combine salt and pepper; season steaks generously on all sides. Place steaks on elevated rack on baking sheet and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight. 

To make butter and balsamic: Heat small skillet to medium high heat. Add butter and cook until butter begins to brown and smell nutty. Remove from heat and add balsamic vinegar and thyme. Set aside.

To make grilled onions: Peel off outer layers of onions. Slice into 1/2-inch slices. Lay onions on flat surface. Push skewers through centers of onions; two onion slices per skewer. Brush onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

To cook steaks and onions: Make two-zone fire on charcoal grill with coals on one side and no coals on the other.

Place onions on cool side of grill; flip and rotate every 10 minutes until golden brown, approximately 25-30 minutes. Total time will depend on how hot coals are and how close onions are to fire. When onions are golden and tender, brush with brown butter balsamic mixture.

On hot side of grill, during last 15 minutes of cook time for onions, cook steaks to desired temperature. When steaks are 5 F from desired temperature, remove from grill and let rest 5-10 minutes.

Remove onions from grill. Carefully remove onions from skewers and place in serving dish.  Top with remaining brown butter balsamic mixture and serve with steaks.  Makes 4 servings

Candied Bcon BurgerCandied Bacon Burger, recipe below

Candied Bacon

1 pound  Applewood Smoked Steak-Cut Bacon

1  tablespoon fresh ground black pepper

1 cup packed light brown sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Place wire rack on foil-lined baking sheet. Place strips of bacon on wire rack and sprinkle with black pepper. Lightly pat brown sugar on top of bacon in thin layer.

Place baking sheet on center rack in oven and bake 25 minutes, or until brown sugar melts and bacon is crisp. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes. Using tongs, transfer bacon to parchment-lined baking sheet and cool to room temperature. Store in airtight container up to 3 days at room temperature.

Editor’s Note: Great on burgers, BLTs, salads or as a side to breakfast eggs, cooked any style.

Beyond Beef

 OK, I know what you’re thinking. The cost of fresh meats, especially beef and bacon have recently gone through the roof.  Plant-based meat like substitutes, aka the impossible burgers that server quick serve burgers joints are offering, have been going over with customers’ looking for another protein choice. Examples of such plant proteins are pea protein-based products, which are non-GMO, gluten-free and soy-free.

“I know how hard it can be to create fast and flavorful meals that the entire family will love,” said Dan Curtin, president of Greenleaf Foods. “That’s why we’re focused on making delicious food with the cleanest ingredients possible. The fact that they’re all plant-based is just a bonus.”

The following recipe is provide by  lightlife.com, which offers a number of plant-based grill-able  products and recipes that may be able to help you fill the gap when searching for solutions of meatless meals.

PIneapple (LIfelife)burger

Burger with Grilled Pineapple and Honey Garlic Barbecue Sauce 

2 rings freshly cored pineapple

2 Lightlife Plant-Based Burger patties, thawed salt

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 cup baby arugula

2 sesame seed burger buns, lightly toasted

1/4 cup crispy fried onions

2 tablespoons honey garlic barbecue sauce (any brand you prefer)

Heat grill to medium heat. Grill pineapple slices 4-5 minutes per side until grill-marked and slightly caramelized. Cut slices in half and set aside. Wipe down grill to cook burger patties.

Season burger patties with salt and pepper, to taste. Grill 4-5 minutes per side until burgers are evenly browned with internal temperature of 165 degrees. To assemble, layer handful of baby arugula leaves on toasted bottom buns, top each with burger and two cut slices each of grilled pineapple. Sprinkle on crispy fried onions, drizzle with honey garlic barbecue sauce and place toasted sesame seed bun on top.  Makes 2 servings