Monday, December 22, 2008

Dad’s Barbecues

The hubby and I made it to the ranch on Friday, and we had a brief but intense brush with the storm that was heading toward us. Then we burrowed inside for the rest of the weekend, decorating the tree, wrapping gifts, watching TV, and napping. It was a good weekend.

For a quick lunch on Saturday, we threw together barbecues. These sandwiches go by a variety of names; you may know of them as sloppy joes, manwiches, loose meat sandwiches, etc. (For some reason, the term “loose meat” makes me queasy. But I digress.) Here in the upper Midwest, we call these barbecues, despite the lack of barbecue sauce. If you go to any small-town event, you will inevitably see a sign at the concessions advertising hot dogs, pizza, and BBQs. They are a Midwestern staple. And every family seems to have its own version.

This version is my dad’s family recipe, and these barbecues remain, to this day, the only ones I like and will voluntarily eat. And they’re incredibly kid friendly; there are no bits of celery or onions to freak out the little ones. (I was a child once. I clearly remember this fear.) This is true comfort food; we tend to make this whenever our family gathers, whether for fun or in times of sorrow. The recipe is so simple, you probably have the ingredients on hand, and even one batch seems to expand to feed a crowd.

As always, adjust the seasonings to suit your taste. If it’s not sweet enough, add more brown sugar. If it’s too mustardy, add more ketchup. (This is actually the first time I’ve attempted to measure the ingredients, so until now, I had no idea what I was putting in. It's probaby slightly different every time.)

Dad’s Barbecues
Serves 4-6

1 lb. hamburger
Salt and pepper, to taste
Onion salt and garlic salt, to taste
1/3 c. water
½ c. ketchup
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 tsp. brown sugar

1. Brown and crumble hamburger over medium-high heat, seasoning with salt, pepper, onion salt, and garlic salt.

2. Reduce heat to medium low. Add water, ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar, and stir.

3. Bring heat back up to medium and let simmer about 5 minutes, or until mixture is heated through.

4. Serve on buns.

We apologize for the lighting and focus issues. Thanks, The Management.

1 comment:

angelinthekitchen said...

This is "Dad."

There is a special secret I have used those times when the mixture got just a little too sweet (like she said, because we never measure ingredients, every batch tends to take on a life of its own). I haven't even shared this with Alyssa yet. This is for you.

But if it is a little too sweet, add just a tish of vinegar. A "tish" is probably about a half teaspoon. A little goes a long way.