On a recent Friday, I found myself restless and in need of inspiration. Blame it on a full year of relative quarantine, or the recent ice storm that brought Austin to a screeching halt. Either way, I needed to break out of my daily orbit and see something, anything, new. So, I swung by Salt & Time, an upscale butcher shop, salumeria and restaurant that features fresh cut meat from sustainable Texas ranches (bonus: they were also selling fresh produce, and many of the grocery stores were wiped out after the storm).

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In this recipe, a few easy steps elevate grilled beef patties from great, to Holy Garlic! First, the outside of the burgers are generously seasoned in Holy Garlic (think garlic salt, with a lot more depth and dazzle), of our newest spice blends. To echo that lusty flavor, whisk together a quick aioli, or garlic mayonnaise, spiked with lemon zest and black pepper. The rest of the burger can come together as you please, but you can’t go wrong with toasted buns, lettuce (or your favorite greens), and crisp, tangy pickles or pickled peppers.

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Grilled meats are typically slathered with sauce towards the end of cooking, so added sweeteners (sugar, honey, molasses, etc.) don’t blacken and burn over the fire. This time-honored thinking is solid, but what if you want your chicken to sing with more sauce? Marinating chicken thighs (or drumsticks) in Major Mustard infuses the meat with a bright, tangy flavor and results in a richer texture. To avoid the scorched skin scenario, “grill-roast” the chicken over indirect heat in a closed grill.

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Steak nights are an occasion at our house, a meal that typically happens on Saturday night. Firing up the grill for steaks is a celebratory event engrained from childhood, when my grandfather would splurge on massive T-bones, fry potatoes and onions, haul out the horseshoes and douse a pile of coals with lighter fluid (a tradition I have not adopted). Serving your people, “a nice, big steak,” is a reward for a productive week of work, and a way to savor the slower pace of weekends.

On Saturdays, I don’t give much thought to rounding out the meal (a salad and grilled toasts suffice as supporting players). The meat is the main event, so I seek out the best cuts from my local market. For me, that means a well-marbled cut, dry-aged steak sourced from a particular farm or ranch. Dry-aging, or cooling the meat for an extended period of time concentrates moisture and results in a rich, beefy flavor.

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