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Articles Food-&-Beverage Cooking

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Grilling hamburgers is one of my earliest backyard grilling memories. Our family would get together, usually on the weekends, and have a "hamburger and ice cream supper" as we say here in Texas. I can fondly remember sitting on top of the old ice cream freezer while my dad, uncles and granddad took turns at spinning the old hand crank attached to the water soaked wooden ice bucket.

Today, the hoodless grill would resemble a throw away variety you would take to the beach, but then we were in tall cotton and in for some delicious eating. The ice cream would be flavored most of the time with a can of crushed pineapple. Or, just maybe, someone would have given us some fresh ripe peaches to mash and toss into the vanilla ice cream mixture.

Cooking out then was a real big treat for the entire family, always with a lot of laughter, running and playing.

Grilling the hamburgers soon became my responsibility, even though I was only about 10 years old at the time. Carefully building the charcoal fire in that old grill we had was a test of my better Boy Scout skills. Once the charcoal was covered in a fine white ash the grilling could begin.

The ice cream was being packed in more ice mixed with a generous amount of rock salt mixture to be allowed to season, while we all ate our terrific tasting hamburgers always topped with lettuce, red ripe tomatoes and onions. The catsup bottle would be passed around as everyone would take their turn, shaking or popping the bottom of the bottle to get the thick tomato sauce from the jar.

Ribs today are one of my favorite backyard treats, but the hamburgers still to this day come sliding across the plate for a delicious grilling feast.

Ah the ribs, good tender slab of ribs with the meat falling off the bone, slathered with a generous portion of smoky chipotle barbecue sauce. Just enough heat in the sauce to add a nice warm blanket right on top of your tongue. Did you know the chipotle is nothing more than the Jalapeno smoked and dried usually with mesquite wood? They are quite delicious giving a nice smoky flavor to your food.

Guacamole is also a favorite topping with just about any grilled meat, especially beef, pork or chicken. Creaming those fresh ripe avocados together with a nice garden ripe tomatoes, chopped green onions, try a little chopped chipotle as well. Season your delicious concoction with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, toss in some cilantro, salt and pepper and call it a meal by it self.

Thick juicy T-bone steaks are a great treat as well as chicken fajitas. Fun to do because everyone gets to pile their own into a large flour tortilla made just to suit them.

Yes grilling today is just as much fun today as it was when I was growing up. The old three legged grill has long since been tossed onto the trash heap. Replaced with a big cast iron wood smoker and grill, sure I have a handy gas grill for almost daily use but nothing is better than firing up the old trusty smoker.

My great nieces and nephews are now the ones running and playing. They are always beaming with delight as the scoops of homemade fresh peach ice cream is served up with one of "nana's" homemade cookies.

Someday though I think I will pull out the old hand cranked ice cream freezer. After all, they are missing one of the best parts of the family cookout. Sitting on the old freezer, holding it down while their dad, uncle and granddad take turns cranking the old beast.

I wonder if they would sit still that long?
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