Not that I need to reinforce it, but hot and dry are about the only descriptors that come to mind when I think about the early summer season we’re experiencing. I’d maybe add some adjectives like “freaking” and “relentless”. Rancher uses an expression I hadn’t heard before that fits, he says “it’s dryer than a popcorn fart.” True that.
We aren’t super mega droughty California, but here where we raise cattle and farm in what I like to call this rocky patch between the Columbia Basin and the Palouse, we do not have enough water this year to irrigate all of the crops we planned. Enjoy this Patrick Stewart narrated geology lesson on YouTube if you’re curious about our land. We planted barley in the deeper canyon soil we irrigate from the creek that flows through those meadows. Right after firing up the wheel lines, we got official notice to shut them down. Ouch.
The irony of ironies? Our thin, dry, rocky soils that are only equipped for grazing cattle and raising some feed were carved by a giant FLOOD. Nature is the silent but managing partner on every farm and ranch. And the one that humbles you when you feel like you’re on your game!
Before we move on completely from the weather and the related outcomes, I’m gonna get all Smokey the Bear on you. The 4th of July is coming up this weekend. And look, I’m not a big Nanny-State-law-up-the-place with fun-hating restrictions kind of gal. I shoot (from a safe distance) exploding targets with my legally supressed AR-style rifle out of my hot tub for fun. As you might expect, we love a real excuse to blow stuff up! But the dry conditions already sparking fires across our fair state make that a DUMB idea. It just isn’t worth the risk. For the love of common sense, enjoy your local community display, where legit precautions for fire are already in place. That is freedom. Freedom from the potential destruction of homes, property, pets or limbs.
Okay, lecture over, on to tasty things…You can and should light up your grill! Get your oooohhhs and aaahhhs by creating a burger that is as unique and special as the Constitution was at the 1787 signing. Here’s one we at WABeef created for the upcoming PROOF Washington Distillers Festival in Seattle. Certified Angus Beef patties meet fresh, local Bing cherries soaked in 2bar Spirits Bourbon with mild provolone cheese. This is the deluxe, all dressed up version. Feel free to knock the ingredient count down, or incorporate your family’s favorite burger toppings. Don’t forget to share your family celebration burger creations on social media with #WABeefLove!
Cherry Bomb Burgers
Sizzling Beef Sliders with Bourbon Cherry Relish on Rosemary Rolls with Lemon-Rosemary Mayo and Provolone cheese. Prepare the cherry relish and mayo in advance and store in the fridge for easy entertaining on the 4th.
by Jackie Madill for the Washington State Beef Commission
1 cup bourbon (2bar is a great local choice. Their tasting room is in Seattle)
1 cup fresh Bing Cherries, washed and pitted
1/2 cup diced Walla Walla Sweet Onions
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup light mayonnaise
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pound ground beef
8 small rosemary ciabatta rolls
4 Provolone cheese slices, cut in half (optional)
1. Place cherries and bourbon in a glass jar to marinate 2-8 hours, or overnight.
2. Strain bourbon from cherries. Rough chop marinated cherries and set aside.
3. Pour strained bourbon and onion in a medium stock pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and hold until onions soften and become translucent. Add chopped cherries and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes while bourbon reduces. Finish with brown sugar and butter. Allow to cool to room temperature before serving. Or store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
4. Combine mayonnaise, lemon juice, lemon zest and chopped rosemary in a small bowl. Store in refrigerator.
5. Form slider-sized (2 ounces) beef patties, approximately 8 per pound of ground beef. Grill over medium heat until 160F internal temperature. If adding cheese, place on patties over grill during last two minutes of cooking to begin melting.
6. Spread Lemon-Rosemary Mayo on split Rosemary Buns. Top with hot Beef Patty and Bourbon Cherry Relish.
You guys, recipe testing is super hard. But somebody has to. This pairs nicely with the remainder of the bottle of bourbon and some ice cubes. And since common sense tells us drinking bourbon and lighting fireworks DO NOT mix, you’ll be officially disqualified from starting a wild fire. Boom. We just owned that like Will Smith took down the aliens in 1996! Have a wonderful Independence Day everyone!
And a sneak peek at the next beefy local booze infused recipe that will hit the blog this month, take a look at these Cowboy Steak Sliders. Grilled Certified Angus Beef Tri-Tip with whiskey BBQ sauce sandwiched between grilled sweet potato slices. These are yum.