More than mere cooked ground beef

Chopped steak. Hamburger steak. Smothered steak. Whatever you want to call it, a ground beef steak has hardly been a matter that would make me sit up and take notice. That is most likely because pretty much all the hamburger steaks I have had over the past years have been mostly a step-up (or down)from your plain old hamburger. Today, however, I had a smothered ground beef steak and I must admit that I took notice.

At noon I found myself in Nederland, originally a Dutch settlement which makes up part of what is known around these parts as “Mid-County,” (Mid-Jefferson County, Texas). Nederland is a quaint little town with its own windmill and whose citizens are dogged supporters of their local Nederland Bulldogs.

Just across the railroad tracks alongside Texas 347 at 11th Street in Nederland, I spotted a little eatery named John’s Grill. There is something attractive in simplicity and I was immediately attracted to the simplicity of the name John’s Grill. John is not a bad name either. My dad was a John. I have a brother named John. I have a friend named John who talks rather loudly. So my history if firmly rooted in the name John.

What I noticed first about John’s Grill was that they had plate lunches, or a steam table if you will. The lunches include a meat with two sides such as rice, blackeye peas, dressing I think, something and something else.

As I said previously, my past has not been filled to the gills with wonderful hamburger steaks but I thought the smothered steak at John’s Grill in Nederland, Texas, looked rather appealing. For one matter, it was of a nice size. And to be quite honest it looked better than the beef tips and the non-existent chicken fried steak. I didn’t know if they sold out of the CFSes for the day or just temporarily. Ordinarily, I might have tried the CFS. A great CFS is like the heroin of steaks. But I came, I saw and I saw no CFS so I had the smothered hamburger steak. And Lord, Lord, Lord was that one hell of a good steak.

Without a doubt, I have to say that is the best hamburger-chopped-smothered-ground beef-steak I have ever had. I had it with a side of rice and brown gravy, blackeye peas and lots of pepper sauce, a so-so cold roll and a better than average glass of unsweetened iced tea. I don’t know what their secret was, whether it was in the gravy or in the steak or what but that steak just knocked my socks off. Well, it didn’t really knock my socks off because if that had happened it would be difficult to explain. But it was a fantastic-able smothered steak.

If you are ever around Nederland, Texas, around lunchtime, go inside John’s Grill and have their smothered steak. It will make you want to slap your grandma. Well, it probably won’t because you’re grandma might slap you back. (Or in the case of my grandma — long dead — she would have shot me with her .410. What a dead-eye that old woman was.) Oh well. You get the point.

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