Sunday, May 1, 2011

Let's Go All The Way

Nah I'm not talking about this wretched song from the '80s....

Do you remember the very first time you ever thought to yourself, "Wow, that was the best thing I've ever eaten!"?

For me, the first two times both involved being at my grandparents farm near Elizabethtown, NC.  Once was the first time I ever had bbq.  The second time was when I had my first "all the way" burger from Melvin's (aka The Pool Hall).  The wonderfully greasy burger with it's slaw and chili dripping down my 7 year old hands stamped a memory in my head that has lasted a lifetime.

While "all the way" implies putting everything and the kitchen sink on it, in the Carolinas, it means only four items:  chili, slaw, onions, and yellow mustard.

Yesterday I spent the day recovering the yard and deck from the storm.  The siding of our house is totaled, we have gutters damaged, and our roof has to be replaced.  But I'm happy to have those problems because it means that I still have a house standing.  
Made with pieces of broken siding and glass in my yard.

It's weird seeing my grilling area and Big Green Eggs without a canopy but I was glad to finally be able to cook outdoors again last night.  I quickly decided to cook "all the way" burgers and dogs.  

FWOOMP - SPLAT.  That's the noise made by cleaning wet debris and muck out of a gutter and letting it fall 12 feet to the ground.  FWOOMP - SPLAT is also the sound that canned chili makes as it escapes the vacuum of the can after months of captivity and falls into the pot.  Appetizing thought, right?  That is why I don't use canned chili.

To make good "all the way" burgers, you need to make a great chili. In the past I have used this  A & W clone but I wanted to try a new one this time so I consulted one of my favorite barbecue resources -  Meathead produces an excellent website, it's truly a "resource" with it's helpful  information packed articles.  It's what NibbleMeThis wants to be when it grows up.  If you don't already use, go check it out.

After an email exchange with Meathead, I ended up picking his All-Purpose Chili Sauce recipe.  I made it as written and let it simmer for 2 hours while I finished up on the roof.  

I fired up my Big Green Egg for the first time since Thursday and grilled a few Lay's beef hot dogs.

I dressed them up "all the way" but something didn't seem right....

I know what it is!  It was too neat, you never get an "all the way" dog like this.  They wrap them up, smashing everything together in the paper.

Ahhhh perfect!  
If you don't get chili and slaw on you, you didn't use enough!

Then I grilled burgers.  Normally, I make 1/3rd pound burgers that leave me stuffed.  But Melvin's Burgers are smaller guys, that's why I can always eat two.  So I carefully weighed out the burgers in 4 ounce patties and they turned out to be the right size.  I used 1.5 lbs of 80/20 ground chuck, 1 egg, salt & pepper, and 1 piece of toast ground up.  I use toast to make bread crumbs instead of canned ones because it's more moist and I think it gives a better burger texture.  

The dogs and burgers were exceptionally good.  Everyone loved the chili sauce so I think it will be my new favorite.  The cinnamon was a unique addition and it brings a fantastic note to the chili, I wouldn't have thought of adding it to chili. 

It feels good to be grilling again! 


  1. So glad you're okay Chris. That was a very bad storm and I was worried about you and your family. Those dogs sure look good.

  2. Um, soon as I read the title, I knew I'd have the song in my head for the rest of the day...thanks for that ;). These both sound awesome...I'll take one of each. And I love the message you created from beautiful :D

  3. I am very happy to know that you're not devastated. You seem to be very resilient. Bravo to you. Keep going "all the way".

  4. That hot dog looks amazing. I don't think I've ever had an official chili sauce on a dog. Will have to take a look at that recipe.

  5. Wonderful comfort foods. Our hearts go out to you and all those in the south affected by the storms. May your recovery for the damage be swift and painless. Now off to AmazingRibs for that recipe...

  6. Thank goodness that you didn't suffer too much damage. The storms are awful and our thoughts and prayers go out for those who are hurting. Nothing picks up the spirits like a good meal. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I'm glad your family made it through the storm.

  8. Glad you guys are okay, so many stories about the storms everywhere!

    Darn you for making me hungry with that hot dog! Darn darn darn...

  9. God, that hot dog and burger looks good. After your ordeal, this is a great way, to be reminded of all those things in your life that are good, including good eats.


  10. Glad to see that you survived the storm, but sorry to hear about all the damage. At least the egg survived...

  11. Good to see that you survived the storm! We didn't have any damage - we were lucky.

    The burgers and dogs look great! Looking forward to trying them.

  12. Well, at least I have that song stuck in my head now :P Sorry your house got trashed...hope things get back to normal soon. Oh yeah, that dog looks delectable!

  13. glad to hear that you're doing alright. you have such a good outlook and attitude to already be back on the grill doing what you love. the dogs and burgers look fab!

  14. Great to see you are back up running... Way to turn lemons into lemonade!

  15. LOL.. that's for the blast from the past... I'm sure I'll be singing that song for the rest of the night now!!
    Glad your house is stills standing and that you and the family are alright.... still sucks about the damage!

    I had no idea that I love to eat my dogs all the way :)

  16. That's one great looking hot dog. You're right - it's just not the same unless it's been mashed up a little.

    Glad you guys dodged the worst of it.

  17. I thought of you when I heard about the storms... I am so glad you, your family, and your house are all still standing.

    The burger & hot dog both look fantastic. I love that you wrapped the dog up and smooshed all the toppings together. Nice touch. Your photos are so good!!

  18. Mouthwatering! Glad your house is still upright and you all weathered the storm. (including the eggs)

  19. These look great!! Amazing is awesome, just this weekend I used 3 of his recipes which will be seen in upcoming blogs to go along side my brisket! Good to see you back on the egg.

  20. Your hot dogs and burgers look so good! I love grill out food! And I am really wanting to try that chili. I love the versatility of it! What is the white topping on your burgers? Everything looks tremendous!

  21. Wonderful pics....everything looks so tasty.


  22. So sorry to hear about the damage. But glad to see it didn't hold you back from BBQ.

    The food looks good and I love the smushed wrapper look!


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