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Remember: Pa Dutch Hamburger Barbecue

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pa Dutch Hamburger Barbecue

Trying to determine a definition for barbecue is as difficult as trying to discover the theory of everything. Here in Pennsylvania, there has been no storied history of brisket or pulled pork. Most of what we would consider local barbecue is made from hamburger and lurks in a crock pot or Dutch Oven.

Traditionally “PA Dutch” barbecue is usually made following this recipe:

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion (3 3/4 ounces), diced
1/2 cup (5 ounces) ketchup
1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
a pinch each of salt and pepper
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) vinegar
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) brown sugar
1 teaspoon mustard, yellow or golden
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

In a large frying pan fry the hamburger and onions until browned, stirring often. Drain off the fat. Add the other ingredients and stir until well-mixed. Simmer mixture for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring frequently. Serve hot on a bun. Yield: enough for a family of four.

I make hamburger barbecue frequently and my recipes have varied from that many times while trying to stay true to its “Dutch roots.” The great thing about the sauce is that using a little more or less of some of those ingredients can add many different regional spins to its flavor. A bit more mustard and you can get the vibe of the various mustard base barbecues in you can find in Alabama. Throw a little molasses in there, a little less vinegar, and a little liquid smoke and you can make something similar to Kansas City Barbecue.

The way I make it, I start with half an onion and three cloves of garlic:

(I bought those yesterday from a local farmer at the market for 1.25$)

Render in a pot with a bit of butter and olive oil until translucent:

Add ketchup, mustard, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, a dash of hot sauce, and the dry ingredients. You can adjust the ratios from that base recipe however you like. I use hot chili powder, cumin, ground mustard, dried Mexican oregano, Brown Sugar, and allspice as the dry ingredients. Again, as much or as little as you want. If you want to add any at all.

Once it is all in there make sure to salt and pepper and taste it. You can change the sauce in any flavor direction from this point one by adding more of any of the ingredients.

In a frying pan, brown two pounds of hamburger. I season the hamburger with more hot chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper.

When all the pink is gone, drain excess fat and then add the sauce.

Serve on a potato roll (the only roll if you ask me). And I recommend a couple bread and butter pickles and diced raw onions on top.

That is my twist on Pa Dutch hamburger barbecue for Friday morning because it rained yesterday and I couldn’t get out to the parks.

If you haven't seen out latest Allentown from The Ground Up update, check here. I hope you can make it out to our events.

And if you missed last night's Pool Wildlife Sanctuary Part One.



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