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Boomer Banh Mi with Sooner Grilled Longhorn Okra and PDQ Pickles

Boomer Sooner! A slogan oft-heard in Oklahoma and surrounding states. Hailing back to the great Oklahoma Land Run, Boomers and Sooners are a rich part of our history. In honor of that history, we enjoy these burgers, made with true Okie ingredients like Oklahoma beef, made in Oklahoma Head Country Barbecue Sauce (none better!) and home grown veggies. The veggies are the reason I call this Banh Mi – salad on a bun, essentially. But this beefed up salad is really special, with a favorite southern vegetable, one that thrives in hot Oklahoma summers, okra. Grilled okra is absolutely delicious and it adds beautiful, unique flavor to a tangy burger. But wait – why longhorn? Well that goes back to another Sooner tradition – the Red River Rivalry, also known as the OU-Texas football game. Any time we Okies get a chance to grill some longhorn, we get fired up. Plus, longhorn okra can get really big on the plant without being tough so its big enough to easily grill. Paint those longhorns red and white (pepper that is) and throw it on. Now how about PDQ pickles? These simple pickles are a staple on southern tables (at least that's what my Alabama mama told me and I'll never doubt that southern belle!). I've seen them on many tables in Oklahoma throughout my life, but I had never heard them called PDQ until a good friend, also a southern lady, mentioned them. I asked her what PDQ was and she explained "Pretty D*** Quick Pickles." I'd say that pretty much sums them up. A great way to use the bushels of cucumbers we get in mid July, they complement pretty much every meal imaginable here. Just thinking about juicy beef and these regional and state favorites makes my mouth water - I feel like I'm 8 again, picking vegetables with my daddy and dreaming of barbecue or a thick juicy steak for "supper." This is not exactly a steak, but high quality, hand ground Oklahoma beef , tangy sweet barbecue sauce and garden veggies, make this burger come Pretty D*** close to heaven on a bun. Now, pass the Sutter Home White Merlot and give me some elbow room. I am about to bite into a Great American Burger. They don't get much more local than this!

Ingredients 

1 tbsp. finely chopped baby dill
3 tbsp. mayonnaise
1 tsp. brown mustard
2 cups very thinly sliced cucumber
1/2 small sweet onion, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white vinegar
2 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. colavita olive oil
6, 5-6 inch pods longhorn okra (or 12 tender pods regular okra)
1/4 tsp. ground red cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. ground white pepper
2 tsp. salt, divided
Non-stick cooking spray or additional olive oil for grill
2 lbs. Oklahoma ground chuck (preferrably hand ground)
1/4 cup Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup Head Country Barbecue Sauce
6 5-6 inch french bread rolls or pieces of baguette, partially split
12 thin slices tomato

Instructions 

Mix dill, mayonnaise, and mustard; reserve.

Place cucumber, onion, vinegar, sugar, and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a covered bowl (or zippered plastic bag). Mix well and let stand 15 minutes (or more) in a cool or cold place.

Place remaining oil in a zippered plastic bag. Thinly slice the okra on a slant to get elongated ovals. Add sliced okra, the red and white pepper, and 1/4 tsp. salt; seal and shake well.

Heat grill to medium high heat and coat grill rack with spray or oil.

In a bowl, gently combine the ground chuck, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, the Worcestershire sauce, and the barbecue sauce. Mix gently and form into 6 elongated oval patties (similar in size to the rolls/bread pieces).

Place patties on grill and turn after about 4-5 minutes. Place okra slices on grill and grill about 2 minutes per side. Remove okra and patties from grill at same time or when patties are medium doneness (pink inside) , or to desired doneness.

Warm the rolls on grill last minute of cooking patties.

Spread rolls with mayonnaise mixture. Place a hot patty in each. Add two slices of tomato on each patty and sprinkle lightly with remaining salt. Top with the grilled okra and well-drained PDQ pickles.

Serve immediately.

Makes 6

Comments 

You can substitute other high quality beef for Oklahoma beef (it even works with pre-ground chuck), and if you absolutely can