Wednesday, October 14, 2009
The Tailgate: Bacon-Cheddar Tailgate Burgers
Ed. Note: This post serves as the introduction to Man-B-Que's newest food writer, Stuart. Yet, as we all know, there is no Man-B-Que without kickass nicknames. Seeing as how Stuart made his bones as a grounds intern for the 2007 Boston Red Sox and now works as a head groundskeeper in the minor leagues, I dub him Dirt Man. Man makes his living in the dirt, and I'm feeling literal today. Feel free to call him Old Dirty Bastard, Dirt McGurt, Big Baby Jesus and all other such nicknames. So shall it be written. Man-B-Que!
What is a tailgate? Some would say that a tailgate is the part of a truck that keeps things from falling out the back.
Others, like myself, cannot deny this definition, but might also say that a tailgate is any party outside that precedes a larger event. Whether it is a group of friends reminiscing together in a parking lot before a class reunion or a lavish tent complete with a chandelier, fine wine, and homemade croissants(as witnessed in “The Grove” of The University of Mississippi).
I submit that tailgating has become the new American pastime. The tailgate can be humble and simple, but it can also be extravagant and highbrow. In travels around the NCAA, MLB, and NFL, I've noticed the best tailgates all have one thing in common - the best food. Tailgate food is most often charred to perfection over open flame. People seem to be cooking up anything of the right size to be placed on the grill. Some of the grilled delicacies that I have seen at tailgates include everything from generic burgers and hotdogs, to full-on slow cooked Bar-B-Que, to any assortment of vegetables, jalapeños stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon, shrimp in a sweet spicy mustard base sauce, marinated gator tail, and fresh venison roast.
Anything you can think to grill and serve as tailgate fair probably already has been or soon will be. My advice is to join in and grill with some friends before any event - not just concerts and sporting events, but also academic competitions, municipal board re-zoning hearings, and the funerals of one's enemies. Here is my favorite burger recipe to get you started:
Dirt Man's Tailgate Burgers
4 lb. ground chuck
4 andouille sausages, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 Vidalia onion, diced
Grilling seasoning (recommended: Montreal's Grilling Seasoning)
1/2 c brown sugar
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce
8 good hamburger buns (none of this $0.99 store brand shit - you'll end up with two handfuls of mushy bread and condiments)
About 4 c sliced mushrooms, sauteed ahead of time
16 slices smoked bacon, cooked ahead of time
8 thick slices smoked cheddar
1. Preheat the grill to medium-high.
2. Combine diced sausage, pepper, and onion. Sweat mixture in large skillet add a quarter cup of Worcestershire sauce 8 tablespoons of grilling seasoning, and brown sugar cook until thick and combined. Let the mixture cool and combine with ground chuck. Shape into patties.
3. Place burgers on the grill. Brush the burgers with your favorite barbecue sauce as they cook.
4. Once they are almost cooked to your desired degree of doneness, divide the following toppings over the burgers: the sauteed mushrooms, 2 slices of bacon, and 1 slice of cheese, in that order. Cook just until cheese is melted and toppings are heated through.
5. Now shove into face. Repeat.