Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Pretty much a tailgate staple, whether watching the game at home or on the road. But why not make them interesting and offer an array of toppings so that everyone can customize their own. So very simple to do. If you want to go a step further, post a menu of topping suggestions to help guests out a little. Chips and dip will keep hungry fans busy while the burgers are grilling.

Be sure to offer good buns. Publix makes a French hamburger bun in their bakery. Slice them and brush them with a little olive oil before grilling a bit.

Pick up coarse grain mustard, barbecue sauce, and olive oil-- ketchup, if you must. Once you decide on the toppings you want to offer, use the burger ideas as your grocery list.

Make Mine A Salad... Burger: (Photograph above)
Saga Blue Brie Cheese (Spreads easily on bun.)
Arugula and chopped chives tossed in olive oil, salt, and pepper
Toasted Walnuts or Pecans
Apple or Pear Slices
Shortcut Aioli and coarse grain mustard

Barbecue Bacon Burger:
Cheddar Cheese
Grilled Red Onion
Cooked bacon
Barbecue sauce and coarse grain mustard

Italian Burger:
Provolone cheese
Fresh Basil
Roasted red bell pepper (Pick up a jar for a shortcut.)
Marinara Sauce (Barilla Spicy Marinara sauce is good)

Gussied-Up Traditional Burger:
For those who don't like to stray too far away from a classic.
Swiss cheese
Grilled Red Onion
Trailer Sauce or Shortcut Aioli

Simple Grilled Hamburgers:
Makes 4 servings (adjust to fit your crowd size)
Prep: 10 min., Stand: 20 min., Grill: 6 min.

Game Plan: Form patties Friday night. Slide into a zip lock bag and refrigerate overnight.

1 1/2 lb. 80% lean ground beef (I like juicy burgers. Feel free to choose your fav.)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup Dale's Steak Seasoning Sauce

Pour Dale's and pepper in zip lock bag with hamburger patties and seal; let stand 20 minutes (place them in your cooler). Grill over medium-high, direct heat for 3 minutes per side or until desired degree of doneness. Add desired cheese just before removing from grill to melt. Serve on toasted French hamburger buns with desired toppings.

The Extra Point: Serve with your favorite gravy for an easy hamburger steak weeknight meal with mashed potatoes plus something fresh and green.

Trailer Sauce:
Stir together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tsp. Dijon mustard, 1 pressed garlic clove, and 1 Tbsp. each: sweet pickle relish, finely chopped pepperoncini peppers, finely chopped green bell pepper, finely chopped green onion, fresh lemon juice. Stir in freshly ground pepper to taste. Makes about 1 3/4 cups. This is for the mayo, ketchup, and Big Mac lovers out there. (I don't care for the traditional Reuben sandwich, however I love this slathered over pastrami on a slightly chewy Italian white with melty Swiss and sauerkraut.)

Shortcut Aioli: Stir together 1 cup mayonnaise and 2 small cloves pressed garlic. Makes 1 cup.
Okay, not making my mayo from scratch, but hey, be my guest.

3 Easy Dips and Spreads
Munch on these while the burgers are a grillin' (Recipes and images below are courtesy of and

Cowboy Caviar:

Spicy White Cheese Dip:

Roasted Garlic-Edamame Spread:


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