One of my favorite things about football is that, unlike soccer, there are breaks built in to allow you to do simple kitchen tasks like flip burgers, add cheese, or remove something from an oven. Constant attention isn't required for the full three hours purely from all the commercial breaks. Over the past 4 years, I've become pretty good at making burgers in these time windows, and now I'm going to share some of the ones I've made that have been most popular.
Bacon can, of course, be added to any of these.
This is probably my most requested one. What you'll need:
The meat: Ground Sirloin Beef. How much? At least enough for a 1/4 pound per person. I know that this goes against the fat ratio you see in most burgers, but it becomes pretty important for what you're using in the marinade. Salt and pepper the whole thing. Sprinkle some fennel seeds throughout. Pour on some mixed dried Italian herbs (oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley combos. They usually sell this in the spice isle.) Lay on a good amount of onion and garlic powder. A couple dashes of soy. Splash it with a heavy wine (like a cabernet.) Mix it all together and form the burgers. Brush the burgers with butter on each side.
On top of this, you're adding Italian sausages. It's important to cook these sausages, let them rest, and then slice them into strips as they're going on top of the burger.
Toppings: Portobello Mushrooms and Onions
Cheese: Provolone and a Parmesan or Asiago shredded cheese
Sauce: Honey Mustard. I know it sounds kind of strange, but just go with it.
Start out by sauteing the mushrooms and onions in oil with some salt sprinkled on them. Once they get nicely carmelized, take them off the heat. Put the burgers in the remaining juices and cook those about 3 minutes on each side on a nice medium high heat. Generally, this will put most people in a nice medium rare to medium range for 1/4 pound. After you flip it once, put on the shredded cheese and then put the provolone on top. You have to do this pretty soon after the flip to make sure both melt well. Now is also the time to reheat the mushrooms, onions, and sausages. Once the time is up, let the burgers rest for about 2 minutes.
You're going to want to use toasted buns here. I like the onion cobblestone mill ones.
From bottom to top: Bottom bun, honey mustard, burger, cheese, Italian sausage, mushrooms and onions, top bun.
In-N-Out Style Burger
This is the In-N-Out style burger if you want a simple cheese burger.
Meat: This is going to be all chuck, the fattier the better. In-N-Out uses 40% fat, so if you can find it, you'll probably have the best experience. You're going to divide it into 1/8 pound patties, but you'll be using two per burger. Just salt and pepper on these and only do that right before they go on the burner.
Sauce: This is something you'll want to have done about 10 minutes before you start so the flavors blend. The percentages are 60% mayo, 30% ketchup, 10% sweet relish. Add a dash of vinegar and a little sugar as well.
Onions: To get good animal style onions, you have to dice the onions thinly. Saute them in some oil. When it looks like the oil is drying out, pour in some water. Once that water is out, pour in some more. Repeat until you have ultra carmelized onions.
Cheese: American. Don't get the kraft singles. Those taste so much shittier than the kind you can get at the deli. Get nice thick slices. Two for every burger.
Toppings: Head Lettuce, Large Tomatoes, slices of onions (very lightly sauteed), pickles.
Buns: The best buns for these are potato buns. Put them in a 400 degree oven to make them warm as you're cooking the burgers. Check every minute or so to make sure they don't toast.
Coat frying pan with oil, get up to medium high heat, and put your burgers down. Spread mustard over the side that is facing up. After 2 minutes (thinner burgers after all) flip them so they cook right in the mustard. After you flip them, put the cheese right on top so it'll start melting.
The construction is this: Bottom bun, sauce, pickles, tomato, lettuce, burger with cheese, onion slice, other burger with cheese, carmelized onions, top bun.
Chili Cheese Burger
Meat: Normal chuck will do ya fine. 1/4 pound. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and cayenne (or chipotle.)
Chili: Store bought is OK. If you want to do it yourself, by all means. Make sure it's a thick chili though.
Cheese: Cheddar and Pepper Jack
Toppings: Jalapeno slices, Bacon seriously recommended, crisp Lettuce, Ranch dressing
Bun: This is another toasted bun thing. I don't have a particular recommendation beyond it being a bit more hardy.
In a saucepan, heat up the chili. When it gets nice and hot, take it down to a simmer and put your jalapenos and burgers in a frying pan and start cooking on medium high like the rest. Move the jalapenos around so they don't get black. Spoon some of the chili onto the raw side of the burger. Flip it right on to that chili.
Once that's done cooking, assemble: Bottom Bun, pepperjack, burger, cheddar, jalapenos, chili, lettuce, ranch.
UPDATE for Sliders.
So I figured I should include sliders so you can have a burger appetizer for your burger. In my opinion, the best slider is made like this:
Beef patties: Each one should be about 2 oz or 1/8 pounds chuck. This will get you patties that are about twice as thick as white castle burgers. If you really want the thin burgers, portion into 1 oz burgers and put them in between sheets of aluminum foil, and press down to get the nice thin burger.
Buns: To get the whitecastle style buns, don't get "slider buns." Those are just mini burger buns. Instead, get dinner rolls. These are more similar to the traditional sliders.
Cheese: This is a challenge because any slice of cheese will be way bigger than any bun, and burning cheese into your pan is rarely fun. The best way is to get your American cheese cut so it portion on the burger well. Only do this for about half the sliders your making, and just spread the scrap on the other burgers. They'll melt, so it's no big deal.
Other toppings: Onions, Pickles, Mustard and Ketchup (or that special sauce I used for the In-N-Out style burgers)
The process is a little than normal burgers. First, get a real finely diced onion. Real fine. Instead of blasting them on high heat, you're going to be cooking them on medium. Put the patties right on the fine dice. You want these to cook right on the onions. After about 5 minutes, flip them over. Put the cheese on the top, and then put the bottom bun on top of the cheese. Put the top buns in the gaps between the bottom buns. This will cause the top buns to get kind of steamed giving you that great slider taste. Cook these for another 5 minutes, put on the pickles (diced or whole,) the sauce, and the top bun and you'll have solid sliders.
So what kind of gameday food do you guys have or make? I'm always interested in trying something new.