“A Labor (Day) of Love”
Can you believe it’s Labor Day and summer is unofficially over? Here in our little corner of Montana, summer feels officially over, like forty-eight degrees and raining over. It’s curl up with a good book and cozy blanket weather. BBQ weather, not so much. Fear not, there will still be bacon cheeseburgers, but first a few reflections on Labor Day.
My paternal grandmother, Margaret, was a second generation American. She was born and raised on a farm in North Dakota to two uneducated farmers during the Great Depression. After 8th grade, the need for Margaret to be engaged in farm labor surpassed the need for her to receive an education so she dropped out of school and worked the family farm. By 18, she was married to a local farm boy and a year later she was pregnant with their first of five children. With five hungry mouths to feed and no hope for a better future in North Dakota, they left everything they knew and moved to Michigan to look for work in the auto industry. They lived in what they could afford, which was woefully inadequate for a family of seven. Margaret worked and sacrificed and saved every hard-earned dollar she ever made.
My grandmother did not die a particularly wealthy woman, but she left one hell of a legacy. Instead of grand monetary inheritances, her five adult children inherited her invaluable work ethic and ability to persevere in spite of overwhelming adversity.
The Department of Labor describes Labor Day as a “national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Well grandma, today’s for you. Your whole life was a labor of love and your lifestyle was an inspiration to all those who knew and/or knew of you. Through dogged determination alone you improved your life, the lives of your children and the lives of generations to come.
To all of you who contribute to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country, thank you and happy Labor Day!
My husband (the person this post was originally about, but who would get embarrassed if I gushed about him) and I enjoy hosting barbecues for friends and co-workers throughout the summer and especially on summer holidays, but due to today’s weather, our extremely limited indoor space, and our recent travel we decided to spend the day in the comfort of each others’ company and some good food.
These burgers are spectacularly juicy and flavorful and they only require four ingredients. If you like adding bits of onion, roasted garlic, or anything else to your burgers, feel free, I think those things would be tasty additions!
- 8 slices thick cut bacon
- 1½ lbs / 860 g Ground beef
- 2 Tablespoons Bacon drippings
- 2½ teaspoons Kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices Cheddar cheese (or your choice)
- 4 Good quality hamburger buns
- Sliced tomatoes
- Thinly sliced red onions
- Remove ground beef from refrigerator 1 hour prior to mixing.
- In the meantime, preheat oven to 375º F. Arrange 8 slices of thick cut bacon on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until very crispy, but not burnt.
- Remove bacon to a paper towel lined plate and reserve the bacon drippings.
- Using a large fork, combine the ground beef, 2 tablespoons reserved bacon drippings, salt, and black pepper. Form into 4 equally sized patties. Keep patties refrigerated until ready to use.
- Grill burgers for 6-8 minutes per side, depending on desired level of doneness.* Place cheese on burger during the final minute of cooking.
- To assemble, place the grilled patties on the hamburger buns. Top with two pieces of bacon, ketchup, mustard, lettuce, onion and tomato.