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Berlin, MD 21811
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Suplee's secret to successful beach cookout

8/22/13 | By Paul Suplee, CEC PCIII

Another week brings us closer to the end.  Our clock is ticking.  We are all one day to be bereft of life.

Try as we might, we must own up to the reality that with each passing season comes a sense of mortality.  And nothing seems to remind a parent with young children of our very finality like the late summer sales.

I can't tell you how many friends have written recently of their woes of back-to-school shopping.   It is as though a doom has settled on their souls, their beings shaken to the core with fright as they reflect on what could have possibly happened to the summer.

And yet, I just don't understand the issue.  I can tell you where the summer went.  It went the way of each and every subsequent summer to date.  For countless decades, time has stalled for no one.  We are all in this together.

Maybe this is where we need to become a little tougher; a little more willing to accept our fate, whatever that may be.  Maybe we should take the time to write a thank you letter on occasion. 

Perhaps now is a good time to make sure that we sit down with our kids every night for dinner to hear about their many adventures.

Or maybe it's just time to go to the beach and grill like madmen; and women.

There is nothing like the salt air mixed with the smell of a campfire to soothe the soul and make any parent disregard both their aging souls and the wails of children as they are given their first homework assignments of the year.

Living here as we do, the joy is truly that we can do this well into October, softening the blow of the school year.  And that is an important thing to remember as we clip coupons for backpacks, Tide and Old Navy.

When we go to Assateague the truck is laden with wood and firebombs.

A firebomb is a secret fire-starting weapon that we were taught by our friend a few years ago, and it is not quite as devastating as it may sound.  Simply save your lint and used vegetable oil, old candles and paper towels and even old socks.

Squeeze them in gallon sealable bags and when the time comes to build a fire, loosely pack newsprint as you normally would (but not this paper) and then place your firebomb on the paper.

Stack the wood like you would Lincoln Logs, 2 by 2, and light.  This technique has never failed us and we are never overwhelmed with the noxious fumes of charcoal lighter and gasoline, both unfortunate favorites among fellow fire starters on the shore.

And now we'll discuss the secret of a successful cookout on the beach; on the cheap.  As we typically have cinder blocks laying around the yard, all it takes is two thin blocks and some grates from the grill that you probably have in the back yard.

When you dig the fire pit, always dig it about 2 feet in diameter bigger than you think you need it since, as the sand dries the walls will cave in.

On the downwind side of the pit, and about a foot and a half above the bottom of the pit (at ground level) dig out just enough to set the cinder blocks on edge.  Make the outer edge of your grilling pit go up at an angle, encouraging an updraft as the wind blows through the fire.

And here's the cool part.  When you start your blazing inferno, the wind naturally travels through the fire and starts to preheat the grill.  Then, as the cinders glow and the blaze has subsided, simply use your shovel to move some of the glowing logs into your cooking chamber.

It will only take a few minutes to bring the temperature up for grilling.  And the rest is in the bag.

And while a simple trip such as this won't keep us from our inevitable demise, it makes every passing moment with our family even more special.  And we have at least a couple months before we have to worry about the passing of autumn.

Firebomb Burgers

per 3 burgers 1/2 pound Chuck Steak

1/2 pound Brisket

1 whole egg

1 Tbsp. Kosher salt

1 tsp. cracked black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. granulated garlic

1. Grind the beef together twice; if you have an amiable butcher have them do this for you.  Just make sure that it is good quality beef

2. Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and press into 6-ounce patties

3. Chill to set and fire up the grill

4. Season the grill well with oil or spray and grill on both sides until the burger is cooked through.

I understand that cooking a burger like this is sacrilege, but too bad.  You could pasteurize the egg and wash the beef well before you grind it.  At that point you can eat the burgers raw if you like.  That’s your bugger

5. Serve on potato rolls if you can't find brioche, the latter being the best

6. Top with condiments and cheese, side with some salads, slop yourself down in a beach chair and enjoy the sunset, and the ocean, and the lack of city noises

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