June is when Summer kicks off and Mother Nature teases us from time-to-time with hot weather days. It gives us a reason to hang out at the beach and pull that grill out, as we celebrate Pride Month, Juneteenth and Father’s Day. I know my dad doesn’t want my sister and I to make a big deal out of it, but he deserves to be treated just as special as our mom.
This blog is about fathers and sons, but my dad doesn’t have a son. He is an awesome dad to me and my sister and an incredible grandfather to my son, Tre. My dad was a workaholic while I was growing up, but he was also an active parent. Now as a retired healthcare executive, he manages to stay active in the community while he continues to be a family man. From cheering me on from the bleachers at my games to graduations and doing it all over again as a grandfather, he has not missed a beat.
One of my favorite pics of my dad with my son Tre after Tre scored a winning touchdown at the end of football season (pre-COVID).
My dad is a great cook. I can remember him cooking salmon croquettes and spaghetti. That was his dish, and it was always a hit. I would get a kick out of his excitement when he knew he mastered a recipe. His reaction was priceless. Not to mention the countless times he would grill in the backyard and invite friends, family and colleagues over just because and for holidays. My parents were the perfect duo in the kitchen where my dad would do the grilling and my mom would make the side dishes. When we dine out, he becomes this food critic where he shares feedback with the chefs, and they love it! You should see how these chefs connect with my dad. He must have been a food critic or a chef in his past life. The kitchen is definitely his happy place. When it comes to meat, he is determined to make it tender, juicy and flavorful, especially his ribs and burgers.
This Father’s Day, I thought we would focus on one of the meals my dad is best at making in the kitchen: the burger. I decided to have a father-son burger challenge (i.e. bonding experience) with a few people. So, I asked my son, his dad and some of my son’s friends and their dads to take on the challenge. To kick it off, I asked my dad to make one of his famous burgers (recipe below). There were no special rules. I just wanted the boys to bond with their dads while learning how to make a juicy burger. I also put them on the spot and asked them a few questions about fatherhood.
My dad Ronald Campbell holding a burger and Italian sausage
Photo Credit: Nadine Campbell (my mom)
Now that you know about my dad, Tre’s grandpa, checkout the burgers the boys made with their dads and what awesome things they had to say about one another. Get ready because you might need some tissue just in case you get watery eyelids.
Tre, age 8 and his dad, Johnnie made a cheeseburger with pepper jack cheese
Tre and Johnnie cooking and eating burgers on a Saturday
What do you love most about your dad?
Tre: I love that my dad shows that he cares about me. He is caring person. He challenges me because he believes that I can be great. I love when he makes time to practice football drills at home and play catch.
What is the best part about being a dad?
Johnnie: Knowing that I am molding my son into becoming a great man. It has always been important to me to make sure I am teaching him values and providing him with opportunities that will allow him to be a well-round and successful individual.
Tre and Johnnie at Tre's pre-COVID basketball party
Ashton, age 8 and his dad, Tony made a Turkey Burger with provolone cheese
What do you enjoy doing with your dad?
Ashton: I love playing video games with my dad, especially Call of Duty.
Can you share one of your proudest moments of Ashton?
Tony: Ashton overcoming his fear of competing in a Jujitsu competition and he earned second place.
Ashton and his dad making a burger.
Photo Credit: Kimberly Lewis (Ashton’s mom)
Kyler, age 9 and his dad, Geoff grilled a classic burger
What do you love most about your dad?
Kyler: My dad is smart and brave and he always gives us hugs and kisses.
Bonus Question for one of Kyler’s brothers, Neven: What do you enjoy doing with your dad?
Neven (age 5): I enjoy relaxing with my dad while watching a movie and eating popcorn.
What are your greatest moments as a dad?
Geoff: My greatest moments might sound simple to most, but I really enjoy the time I am able to spend with my boys. I love watching them grow, learn and mature, which is what brings me happiness.
Kyler grilling with his dad
Photo Credit: Michelle Mayers-Richards (Kyler’s Mom)
Kyle (age 8) and his dad, Curtis made a classic burger with all of the fixings
Name some activities you like to do only with your dad and why?
Kyle: There are so many activities I love doing with my dad, but if I had to pick one, I would say building blocks. I like building my Legos with him because he is patient and he helps me out.
Do you find similarities between how you raise Kyle and how your dad raised you?
Curtis: All the time, but one in particular is allowing Kyle to make mistakes and learn from them. I like having those teachable moments with my son and being able to witness his growth from it. I also think teaching him to always love and protect his sister Kylie as I am with my sisters.
Kyle and dad becoming real chefs in the kitchen
Photo Credit: Tina Smith (Kyle’s mom)
Ron’s Favorite Burger and Italian Sausage with Peppers
Photo courtesy of my dad, Ronald Campbell
Scroll down for a printable version of this recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12-15 minutes
One Tablespoon granulated garlic
One Tablespoon organic no-salt seasoning
1/2 Tablespoon vegetable base granules
1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup red, yellow, and green peppers
1 pound ground beef 80/20
1 pound Italian sausage – ground
Butter or olive oil
Note: These burgers are prepared on the stovetop, but they can also be grilled or broiled.
- Divide the ground beef into 4 or 6 portions, depending on the number of burgers you would like to make.
- Add pepper, cumin and no-salt seasoning.
- Add egg.
- Slice and combine the peppers and garlic with the beef.
- Shape the patties in the palm of your hands. Gently press each portion of ground beef about 1-inch thick. Press the middle to create a patty.
- Heat the pan. Heat a pat of butter or a teaspoon of oil in a griddle or large skillet over medium heat.
- Increase the heat to medium-high. Increase the heat to medium-high, and continue to watch the pan.
- Cook the burgers for 3 to 5 minutes. Place the burger patties in the hot pan, leaving a little space between each one.
- Flip burgers and cook another 3 to 5 minutes. Quickly slide a spatula under the burgers and flip to the other side. You should see a dark brown sear on the underside.
- Repeat steps #6-8 for the ground Italian sausage. You can cook the Italian sausage for about 10-12 minutes and covered.
- If making cheeseburgers, top the burgers with cheese as soon as you flip them.
- When the burgers have finished cooking, transfer them to the toasted buns and finish with your favorite burger toppings. Add condiments to your liking (ketchup, mayo, mustard, etc.)
- Buns can be round or long depending on the type of burger prepared.
- Other fixings you can add: bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, etc.
- A similar recipe can be found here.
If you are interested in celebrating your dad Father’s Day with a cooking class either virtually or in-person, here are some upcoming classes on Father’s Day weekend and throughout June:
- Virtual Take Out at Home: Philly Cheesesteak Sliders on Friday, June 18, 6pm CST
- Virtual Cook Along: Custards Workshop on Saturday, June 19, 2pm CST
- Virtual Father's Day Brunch on Sun, Jun 20, 2021 11am CST
- Virtual Sunday Dinner on the Grill: Grilled Pork Chops on Sunday, June 27, 4pm CST
Also, if you want up your grilling game, here are some upcoming grilling classes at Lincoln Square:
- Hands-On Summer in the City on the Patio on Friday, July 2, 2021 6:30pm
- Grilling Boot Camp on Saturday, July 3, 2021 10:00am
- Steakhouse Demo on the Patio on Friday, July 23, 2021 6:30pm