From the time I was young, I loved Godzilla movies. Godzilla movies and the Ultraman television show, but Ultraman is for another story. I remember getting excited every Saturday afternoon to see what “new” Godzilla movie would be showing on my local television station. My seven-year-old brain delighted in the different monsters each and every week. And you can imagine how blown away I was when I saw Jet Jaguar in Godzilla versus Megalon! But again, Godzilla versus Megalon is a topic that deserves a story all to itself.
While this was a year-round thing, the absolute best time for these Saturday afternoon excursions into the high art which was, and still is, Japanese monster cinema, was in the summertime. It was summer vacation! No school, no homework.
The only reason to get up in the morning was because you had to play something. Wiffleball, kickball, street hockey, capture the Alamo… They were on the table any given day. Too hot? Well, just jump in the pool, or better yet run through some sprinklers. Maybe some Dungeons & Dragons in the air conditioning. The world was an oyster, in that you would not until later in life realize what a delicious delicacy you had on your plate every single day.
But, in those summertime months, the delicacy that you did know was always just around the corner was grilling out. Whether it was your dad, mom, grandparents, uncles, or neighbor, everybody has some experience with that irreplaceable aroma of something getting cooked on the grill over an open flame.
For me, being part of a family that was equal parts Polish/Hungarian/Croatian/Slavic, it was my father choosing from a wide selection of hamburger, hotdog, kielbasa, sausage, chicken, pork… In other words, some kind of meat. Sure, there was corn on the cob, and potatoes, and stuff like that, but the meat was the focal point.
And of all of these dishes, there was one that always stood out: Gridilla.
Now, growing up in the age just before the emergence of the Internet, I had no idea that Gridilla was not a widely known and accepted thing. I had always assumed that everybody knew of the existence of Gridilla and its dominance over all other summertime foods.
As I grew into my teenager years and beyond, socializing with more and more people outside of the family and the local community, I was shocked to see the looks of confusion on so many faces when we would be talking about camping in the summertime, grilling out for memorial day and so on and I would mention Gridilla.
“What’s that?” Would be said by whoever was the next of the unenlightened.
“What’s what?” I would respond, clearly not understanding where the confusion was coming from.
“Whatever that was that you said.”
“Yeah, that, what the heck is that?”
“What do you mean, what is Gridilla? It’s…Gridilla.”
“Yeah. I don’t know what that is.”
Exasperated, I would try to find out what was wrong with this individual. What had gone so haywire in their upbringing that they had never even heard of Gridilla?
I would explain to them how it was this amazing combination of hamburger, bacon, and onion cooked in this basket of sorts over the grill in the summertime.
“So, it’s like a bacon cheeseburger?” They would inevitably say.
Cheese? Who mentioned cheese? Where did the cheese come from?
This repeated itself perhaps the first half dozen times before it began to dawn on me; this wasn’t something everybody grew up with.
I then began treating these moments as a joyous occasion. This was my opportunity to make someone’s life better! I had hidden knowledge. I was in possession of a cryptic and arcane food preparation style. I had access to the formula that took three, simple ingredients and combined them into a meal that exceeded the sum of its parts.
I was the young child who had the mysterious, unseen understanding with Godzilla. The one who knew that Godzilla was superior to King Ghidorah and could save us all!
It was I who would yell out, “Godzilla! You must help us! You have to stop Gigan… Or Rodan… Or Kumonga!”
And Godzilla would respond, proving himself to be the King of all Monsters once again!
So it is now that my younger self cries out once again to the world. Allow me to teach you the way of Gridilla.
No extraordinary lessons are needed. No sauces of any kind. You don’t even need any seasonings! All you need is access to a grill, hamburger, bacon, onions, and a barbecue basket (similar to the one pictured at the start of this story.)
Of course, while sauces and seasonings are not necessary, this preparation style is not sacrosanct. You can feel free to experiment with simple seasoning and sauces, but I can tell you, whatever you do, do it lightly. There’s no need to overly season anything here. There’s no reason to drench this in a barbecue sauce.
What is sacrosanct when it comes to the creation of Gridilla, is the layering and the onion preparation.
First, the layering. The order from bottom to top in the basket is onions, bacon, hamburger, bacon, onions. You want to lay these one on top of the other so that you have a layer of onions on the outside of either end of the basket, hamburger in the very middle, and bacon separating both of the onion layers from the hamburger. Doesn’t matter if your hamburgers are round or square, but they should be formed into individual servings.
For the onions, you want to use entire slices. You’re not looking to chop them up or cut them into slivers. You want to cut your onions into entire circular slices. Use them like you’re building a wall as your outside layer. Put down your strips of bacon, your hamburger, your second layer of bacon, and then do the same thing with the other outside onion wall.
Then, it’s as simple as securing the basket and placing it on the grill. You want a nice hot fire, and you want to work on getting the onions nice and charred. Not burnt to a crisp but blackened is what you are shooting for. Both onion walls.
You’ll want to rotate the basket from one side to the other multiple times. There’s no set value here, and as you experiment you’ll come to what your preferences are, but you don’t want to leave everything on one side until one group of onions is charred black and then flip it over. Go back and forth a few times. As you do, the juice from both the onions and the bacon starts working its way into the hamburger as the hamburger itself starts cooking.
As a note, if there are any drawbacks to this preparation, it’s that you can’t really create your hamburgers with different levels of meat temperature during a single batch. In other words, there’s not any way to create some well-done burgers alongside some medium well burgers in the same basket. Once you open the basket and remove the first section of layers, you can’t just close it up again and cook the remaining portion a bit more. Regardless, make sure your hamburger is done well enough to be eaten.
When you’ve completed the process, there are no buns required, just a paper plate and some utensils. You can go with the hamburger bun as well of course, but I’ve never been a huge bread fan.
And that is the entirety of the wonder that is Gridilla. Try it out a few times, and then absolutely, feel free to experiment. Try some of your own seasonings, baste it in your favorite sauce, top it off with some ketchup or mustard. You will most likely find multiple, delicious combinations, but I think that you will always wind up coming back to the simple, straightforward preparation of Gridilla: King of all Summer Foods.
About the author
Briant has defied the odds for a long time. Born with MD, his parents were told he would be dead before he was 5. He turned 5 in 1977 and is still going strong. An avid reader, he is now seeking to bring his creations to a larger audience.
Very well written. Keep up the good work!
Easy to read and follow
Well-structured & engaging content
Original narrative & well developed characters