Got $20? Here's The Easiest, No-Fuss, BBQ Dinner, Ever

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memorial-dayPlaying the thoughtful hostess does not have to exhaust your paycheck. For just $20, you can invite friends over for a Memorial Day “barbecue” dinner this holiday weekend...with drinks! We have the menu all planned out: The centerpiece is a Pimiento Cheese Cheeseburger, inspired by the Southern cracker spread (mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and pimentos). A handful of salt-and-vinegar potato chips on the side will cut through the creamy, oozy burger topping for only about $.35 per person.

But here’s the real trick: Turn one tallboy boy of American lager into cocktails for four by mixing it with ice cold lemonade — it’s called a Shandy and it’s super refreshing. It may not be the fanciest dinner you’ll ever make, but it sure is tasty!

Pimento Cheese Cheeseburgers
Serves 4
8 ounces cheddar cheese, coarsely grated
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup chopped pimientos
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 to 2 pounds ground chuck
1 tbsp canola or olive oil
4 potato hamburger buns, split
1 bag salt-and-vinegar potato chips

Fold together the cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, chopped pimientos, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. (Note: If you have hot sauce in the fridge already, feel free to add a few dashes of that, too). Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Gently mix the ground chuck, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper by hand in a large bowl. Divide mixture into four portions; loosely gather each into a ball and flatten into 3/4-inch-thick patties (don’t overwork the meat). Use your thumb to make a 1/2-inch-deep indentation in the center of each patty; this keeps it from puffing up when it cooks.

Heat the oil in a large skillet (preferably cast-iron) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the burger and cook three to four minutes per side, flipping once, for medium-rare.

Transfer burgers to the bottom bun halves. Top with the pimento cheese and the top bun halves. Serve with salt-and-vinegar potato chips.

Lemon Shandy
Serves: 4
1 (24-ounce) can American lager beer (such as PBR)
1 (16-ounce) bottle store-bought lemonade
Lemon slices, for garnish (optional)

Divide the beer among four chilled wine glasses (3/4 cup per glass).

Top each with 1/2 cup chilled lemonade; stir to combine. Garnish with lemon wedges, if desired.

Cost Breakdown
The cost of products will vary, obviously, from market-to-market but these are the prices in a standard grocery store in New York City. Bonus: You won’t use the full amount of pimientos, mayonnaise, or potato rolls, so you’ll have leftover supplies for another meal! 1 (4-ounce) can pimientos: $2.39
1 small jar mayonnaise: $2.59
2 pounds ground beef chuck: $5.86
8 ounces cheddar cheese: $2.99
1 package potato sandwich rolls: $2.39
1 (24-ounce) can American lager: $1.59
1 (16-ounce) bottle lemonade: $00.79
1 bag salt-and-vinegar potato chips: $1.39
Total: $19.99

Note: Pantry staples you already have at home (salt, pepper, and oil) aren’t factored into the total price.

Photographed by Erin Phraner