Well…with the passing of Memorial Day, barbeque season is now in full swing. I love to cook on my grill. I have a great little patio deck off my kitchen that is perfect for summer grilling. Over Memorial Day I had my parents and sister over for a barbeque. I was grilling one of my specialties…Kona Burgers. Ashley will tell you that my cooking is probably best described as creative and messy. She can’t stand the mess I create in the kitchen when I am “working”. I guess that is part of the masterpiece. Lucky for me, she usually cleans the kitchen after I cook. So for Memorial Day I set out to make my special Kona Burgers while Ashley made one of her few signature dishes, green bean casserole. My Kona Burger is something I created back in college as a Hawaiian Burger and have since renamed in honor of my pursuit for Kona Perfection. The basics are simple:

90% Lean Ground Chuck (or Round, or Beef)

Worcestershire Sauce

Minced Onion

Pineapple Rings

Baby Swiss cheese

Amana Canadian Style Bacon (or ham)

South Union Ciabatta Rounds (or sometimes just a whole wheat bun)


The grilling all begins with the grill. I only cook with propane gas grills. No need to mess around with that charcoal stuff. Go ahead and argue with me about how your charcoal Weber grill is the best ever. I don’t care. I use gas for grilling and it provides consistent heat and easy convenience. The burgers require a medium low heat to properly grill. I let the grill heat to about 300-350* before I start grilling. If you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the temp by placing your hand over the grill and if you can keep it there for 5 seconds it is ready. I start with the ground chuck and sprinkle minced onion and Worcestershire sauce on top. I blend the onion and sauce into the meat and form ½ pound patties with the meat. Any good burger is at least a solid ½ pound, that way you only need one. I place the burgers and pineapple slices on the grill at the same time. I put the Canadian bacon on the top rack of the grill to give it less heat. I close the lid of the grill and let the heat build back up to 350* usually about 5 minutes. Once I hit 350* I know it is time to flip the burgers, Canadian bacon, and the pineapple slices. I close the lid again (if you’re lookin you’re not cookin) and let the temp rise again to 350* or about another 3 minutes. I will then get out the ciabatta rounds and place them on the top rack of the grill to get them nice and toasty. I will also place the pineapple on top of the burger and the Canadian bacon on top of the pineapple and let it drip some juice onto the burger. I will close the lid for another minute then turn down the heat to low and place the baby Swiss cheese on top of the burger with the pineapple and Canadian bacon. I’ll close the grill for a minute; let the cheese melt and then place another pineapple ring on top before placing the finished burger on the toasted ciabatta round and adorning with condiments. Grill these burgers right, under a medium low heat and you should have a medium-rare burger that is sweet and savory.


Grilling a good Kona Burger is a lot like cooking up a good race. You need the right amount of heat, time, and patience. You have to trust the grill to do the work just like you have to trust your training plan to do the work. Any self doubt in the grilling and you will be lifting the lid too often and draining all the heat, any self doubt in the training plan and the second guessing leads to insecurities or overtraining. Trust the process of your training and your coach. Use the grill thermometer to guide your grilling, and your body’s response to guide your training. Keep the lid closed and build up the heat, that’s when the real cooking takes place. So if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.


Work Hard,