Nostalgia, Jack Daniel’s & Burgers

This post has been a long time coming…which isn’t fair to it because we all deserve to come *winky wink*… often!


I remember the first Jack Daniel’s BBQ event and my boo thang Shella was handling the marketing…we needed to squeeze in some actual face time and she needed to give the product to some food bloggers to create hype for the event so naturally we had a “working lunch” that is if you’d call lunch at The Alchemist on a saturday with our babies tagging along as working lunch… wait I think I just  described my perfect work scenario!….“what have I been doing with my life??!!

Footsie credit: Boo thang and I

Back to the tracks…so I remember low-key-crushing on Kaluhi of Kaluhi’s Kitchen, when she came to pick her sample … of course I did not utter a word to her…but later that night in front of my mirror I had this whole conversation with her, where I was witty, and charming and we became best friends, that is until my little Ziz whizz shattered my reverie by asking “mommy why are you talking to yourself?” to which I  replied “mommy hears voices in her head sometimes, and so she chats to them” and we had an apple and tree moment right there and then when she nodded understandingly and said ‘ Oh, that sounds like my friend Jake” and if you haven’t caught on yet, Jake is her imaginary friend.

No! that’s not Jake…Jake is not real…THIS is Tris…and Tris is real!

Most of your childhood is stored, not in photos, but in certain biscuits, lights of day, smells, texture of carpets…

I was told that my title and content should in some way tie in… kinda like how my friend Liz illustrates here, so the nostalgic bit of my post kicks in here during lunch with boo thang (and will be peppered throughout the post), right about when I had the ‘mama-rocks’ milkshake with a crunchy topping…

I got so excited coz I had tasted the crunchy honeycomb candy in my childhood but I just couldn’t recall what brand it was! It felt like i was having an alien outta body experience so I asked one of the owners (2 really cool sisters) “Human what is this crunchy thing that tickles my senses?” and she told me it’s “Crunchie” to which I proceeded to respond “Yes it’s all sorts of crunchy and it’s giving me major childhood flashbacks and I just can’t figure out what it is. So what is it?” With a smile on her faces she  reiterated “It’s Crunchie” I then relentlessly explained to her how this candy takes me to a happy place and would she pretty please with a bow on top tell me what the candy is called…and you guessed it! the candy was the cadbury’s crunchie bar!!! Well, that took me a while!

Any whoo later that evening, I came across a bottle of the Jack Daniel’s Full Smoky Flavour Barbecue sauce in a supermarket aisle and of course, it follows that I tots impulse purchased it! When the weekend came along I was having my very own Jack Daniel’s experience with the following ingredients:


The lemon verbena pictured above, I got from my shamba…which any self respecting middle aged kenyan (of which I am not…I am self-respecting…I just refuse to be middle aged) has or aspires to own one day! our obsession with plots is understandable seeing as we live in a country where every month we wait with bated breath to learn if fuel prices have gone up, which they inevitably do and we wind up kicking ourselves for not filling up the tank before the revision (big difference that would make!)…and that ushers another month where our swanky cars will remain parked and we will use public transport (forced carpooling) UNTIL our bank accounts sniff a hint of our pay cheques for the month…then our swanky cars are dusted off! I have no clue how I went from lemon verbena to the habits of Nairobians! 

The most treasured heirlooms are the sweet memories of family.

As I was preparing the burgers, *Nostalgia Alert* I got to thinking about the mortar and pestle that had once been in my mom’s kitchen and that I now had! *tears pooled in my eyelids*. To think that a good 20 or so years ago I was pounding garlic in it the same way my ziz whizz was doing at that moment in my kitchen…*insert ugly crying and snot face*. The enamel bowl that I use for most of my marinades is also from my childhood, I vividly recall attending a fundraiser for my parents colleague and my mom entered a raffle and she got this enamel bowl…years later it has prized spot in my kitchen!

The mortar, pestle and enamel bowl from my childhood!

Disclaimer: I’m about to share with you a burger recipe that will blow you away and knock your socks…and pants off, so I suggest you find an anchor and carry an extra pair of pants before reading on. Oh! and no cheese was harmed in the making of this burger.


Tip: For knock your socks off burgers, start will a good quality bun ( I LOOOVE the Bella Luna Kitchen buns…let me not get into their English Muffins-I could wax poetic…and muff-dive for those!! I literally used to call in to their bakery in Loresho Ridge and pre-order them!)

Spanish paprika & Black pepper
  • Burger buns
  • Chicken breasts
  • Pineapple slices
  • 2 Medium sized lemons
  • 4 Cloves of garlic
  • A handful of lemon verbena leaves
  • 2 tsps Sriracha sauce
  • A liberal pouring of the Jack Daniels full smoky flavour barbecue sauce (smoky barbecue sauces are LIFE!)
  • Olive oil
  • Mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbl sp spanish paprika
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • A few basil leaves
  • Salt



Squeeze out the lemon juice, crush the garlic and lemon verbena leaves into a paste, add the spanish paprika and black pepper then pour in the sriracha sauce and the  Jack Daniel’s full smoky flavour barbecue sauce.


Pound your breasts with a mallet…now I don’t know what kind of kinky stuff y’all are into but I wouldn’t be literal… because that would be painful AF! restrict the pounding to the chicken breast. Marinade the chicken in the concoction you just whipped up, the longer you do this the better, but a minimum of half an hour is fine.

Grill the chicken breast… I like to do this on my stove top, using my chapati pan (a round flat version of cast iron pans – which work just as well) because the chicken gets a slight char and the smoky flavour that comes with this…so it’s my way of faux-char-grilling!


Drizzle some olive oil onto your burgers, and toast them slightly.


I like to do this on my panini maker just so I can get the cool grill marks.

Said “cool grill marks”

Grill the pineapple and set it aside to cool.


Tip: Layering flavours and textures is the key to a gob-smackingly good burger. Also ensure you pile on your burger high…whats life if your burgers don’t require your jaw to be unhinged for an effective bite?!

Start assembling your burger by salting the inner side of your buns, smear some mayonnaise and your favourite smoky barbecue sauce (I LOVE THE HUNT’S HICKORY BBQ SAUCE) on both buns. Place your chicken on the bottom bun, top it with the pineapple slice and layer that with the basil leaves and some mango chutney. Squirt Innuendo intended some smoky barbecue sauce, sprinkle some spanish paprika and place to top bun on its throne.


I advise that you make a burger before hand for your sous-chef to munch on or you will be bombarded with an endless string of “mommy can I eat now?” as you attempt to do your burger photographic justice!


I served the burger with matchstick fries…but that’s a recipe for another day, because I suspect that by now you have lost interest in reading my rambling commentary!


Unleash your sous chef and let her go ham on the chicken burger.


and I guarantee she’ll be singing…I feel it in my fingers…I feel it in my toes…in no time.

My sous chef going ham on the chicken burger

P.S: If at this point you are clutching your pearls thinking that sous chef looks like she’s under 18 and the title of this post has Jack Daniel’s in it….you are right, she is under 18 but…the Jack Daniels BBQ sauces contain no alcohol in them!