Happy Father’s Day weekend! I am blessed to be able to spend my father’s day weekend with my Pop. He is a great man. My two brothers, Ty and Scot, will also be there as we gather together for a mini family reunion. So between the four of us men folk and my wife Ally and Scot’s wife Tonya – who is a great chef – there is bound to be some good eats plated up.
The sad part is that my son Mace is serving in the Georgia National Guard and won’t be with me, but he did give me a pretty cool father’s day gift in advance of leaving for a month. It’s a great book titled Fathers & Sons & Sports by Mike Lupica from ESPN books.
Mace and I have eaten a ton of hotdogs and burgers during baseball season and I have grilled my fair share while volunteering at ball field concession stands. My dad coached all three of the infamous Whitaker boys. He taught me a valuable lesson. “If you can’t run fast, then you need to hit the ball harder or over the fence!”
That's pretty darned good advice for catchers. Many dads have a built in baseball gene.
In all fairness my lovely wife Ally enjoys the ball park as much as I do. She is my Chattanooga Lookouts bleacher buddy. Sometime Mace joins us and Ally has to listen to our stories about childhood baseball fame, and injuries, which kept both of us from playing in the majors.
I decided that this Father’s Day I would honor Pops across the globe by offering up some twists on two ball park favorites. Nothing beats taking in a baseball game with your dad, or your son, during the spring and summer.
Stuffed Home Run Stuffed Burgers!
Ground Beef – Enough for 4 HUGE patties
Dash of Hot Sauce
Lots of Ground Black Pepper
Pepper Jack Cheese
Fine Sliced Onions
Combine the meat with some minced garlic, a few dashes of olive oil, Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix well by hand and separate into four LARGE portions. Split each portion in half to make eight equal portions. Flatten these into eight wide patties that are a bit thin and wide. Sprinkle with pepper and place an equal portion of pepper jack cheese in the center of four patties leaving an edge around the outside. Place other four patties over the four covered patties and press the edges together to seal. You should have four good sized stuffed burgers. Grill over medium high heat turning as few times as possible. Serve hot on fresh bun, toasted French Bread Slices or toasted Texas toast with your favorite toppings.
You can stuff this burger with all kinds of other stuff such as mushrooms, Blue cheese, peppers… whatever you like.
Marinated Hot BBQ Hotdogs and Smoked Sausage
Diced green pepper
Diced sweet onion
Combine everything in a couple of zip close bags or a covered dish. Poke a few holes through the skin of the hotdogs. Or, make small cuts along the dogs lengthwise. Just enough to allow the sauce to seep in. Marinate overnight or for a few hours. Cook the dogs and sausage on the grill and brown them up with nice grill marks. Place the remaining sauce in a foil loaf pan, you may need to make some more, and place the pan on the grill over medium heat. Once the dogs have their grill marks transfer them to the pan with the sauce to finish cooking. Cover lightly with foil.
Before serving you can place them on the grill for a few seconds to glaze the sauce a bit. The amount of ingredients depends on how many you are feeding. Serve on buns or deli rolls with your choice of toppings.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and from Ally, Mace and I – Happy Father’s Day!
(Kent Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He is the winner of the Emeril Live BBQ contest and winner of an American Authors Association Gold medal. Kent’s books are in bookstores nationwide and are available online. Kent lives in Chattanooga. Visit him online at www.thedeckchef.com)