Top a big burger with a fried lobster tail to make a meal Dad will always remember.
Father’s Day is coming up (June 19), and this will be the 21st year without my dad. As a Golden Girls stan, I remember a scene from the episode when Blanche’s father, “Big Daddy,” dies. Blanche and Dorothy are at the cemetery when Blanche turns to her friend and solemnly declares, “I’m nobody’s little girl any more.”
I feel you, sister. I’ll bet a number of you do, as well.
I no longer celebrate Father’s Day, but while finding a suitable recipe to share with you (and it’s a doozy), I couldn’t help but think of my dad. If I may, I’d like to share a couple of stories here, but feel free to jump to the end if you just want the recipe.
Robert Reinhardt was born on Oct. 3, 1927, in St. Louis, Missouri, son of Dorothy and Lares Reinhardt. He was their only child. He went to Central High School, served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, and worked at a few odd jobs upon coming home before finding a career in ink manufacturing. Dad was a color expert and often worked with big brands to match the signature colors when formulating inks. In fact, the red on the Budweiser beer can was known for a while in town as “Reiny Red.”
Dad also was an accomplished self-taught illustrator. He drew a comic strip for his Army platoon’s newsletter, although sadly those cherished clips have been lost to time. He also was a talented musician (a drummer) and played with various local jazz groups. He was a proud member of Local 2-197, the St. Louis chapter of the American Federation of Musicians, even after health reasons kept him from playing every weekend.
Mom and Dad married in June 1955. He took great pride in our home; his lawn was always green, mowed, and trimmed. He grew outstanding roses and tended vegetable gardens in the backyard. We used the backyard as an outdoor room decades before HGTV made it a thing. I remember summer evenings around the patio table, listening to the Cardinals baseball game on the radio—Dad was a lifelong Cards fan; he played municipal ball as a young man—as the adults enjoyed the last pot of coffee for the day while I sipped a Whistle orange soda.
Dad was not stingy with hugs and affection, and as a small child, I remember him scooping me up when he’d come home from work (still see his aluminum lunch pail). Mom shared a story how he spanked me only once, a swat on the behind for running across the street in front of a car to see my friend, Kathy. And then he apologized to me while I cried on the side of my bed.
He made the poster for my class parade each year I attended Elliot Elementary School, and when I had the measles and couldn’t attend the annual school picnic at Chain of Rocks amusement park, guess who came home with a baby doll in a pink dress to cheer me up?
There was an inherent feeling that my dad always had my back. I mean honestly, my family life was like a 1960s sitcom! I’ve said this before—I had the ridiculous good fortune to be blessed with the family I had. It's heartbreaking to know there are children of all ages in this world who do not have good memories of a father (or perhaps no memories at all).
But it's a good bet that Sonora Smart Dodd saw her father as her champion. Dodd founded the first Father’s Day in Spoke, Washington, on June 19, 1910. Her father, a Civil War vet, William J. Smart, was a single parent who raised six kids.
By the 1920s, however, the observance had faded into obscurity until trade groups standing to benefit from the sale of Father’s Day gifts, picked up the cause again in the 1930s. Although President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 made a proclamation honoring fathers, it wasn’t until 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the national holiday into law.
This year, Americans are expected to spend $20.1 billion for Father’s Day, according to statista.com, compared to the $28 billion this year spent on Mother’s Day, (cnbc.com). Of course, you could get dad one of this year’s “hottest gifts” (Good Housekeeping), like the pint glasses that chill his beer or a beef jerky subscription. Or you could give perhaps the best gift: your time.
I know if my dad were still here, I’d have him over for a cookout, and we’d spend the day on my patio chatting, listening to the Cards, and enjoying good food. Dad knew his way around the grill; we were treated to his amazing barbecued ribs each July 4th, and he was known to throw some steaks on the gas grill while holding an umbrella in the rain.
Whatever I know about grilling outdoors, I picked up from Dad. And this recipe would be the perfect mashup for him. I’m sure we’d laugh about the story when he treated me to my first lobster tail for my 16th birthday. Omaha Steaks Executive Chef David Rose came up with this Fried Lobster Po’ Boy Burgers that no doubt will make your dad feel like a king for the day.
Now, I've been lucky enough to eat my way across Louisiana, but I've never seen a po' boy like this! The traditional po' boy usually features roast beef or fried seafood that's sandwiched between a lighter French bread (not the usual baguette). The po' boy's origins go back to the 1920s and brothers Benny and Clovis Martin, streetcar conductors and proprietors of a French Market sandwich and coffee stand.
This recipe—inspired by a New Orleans po' boy—will make two half-pound burgers each topped with a 5-ounce lobster tail. If you need to feed more than two people, you can either double the recipe and still go big or go home, or I think you could easily make quarter-pound burgers and top with smaller portions of the lobster.
If you have a story to share about your dad, I’d love to hear it; just drop a comment below. Those who plan to celebrate Father’s Day with your dad, what ideas do you have for him this Father's Day?