Patriots Buffet Table – Dec 9th Patriots vs. Steelers
By BSMW Kitchen Staff

This week the Patriots are taking on old foes the Pittsburgh Steelers. Pittsburgh is known as a hardworking straightforward city. The Pittsburgh Steelers on the other hand are known for their overinflated sense of their own abilities, and an astonishing lack of attention to detail. The Steelers will always look good for awhile and then lose either by underestimating their opponent, or most likely by overestimating themselves. Luckily they get to whine that the better team didn’t win, because trivial matters such as special teams shouldn’t count.

Dear Hines Ward,

The saying is fine wine improves with age. W I N E, not W H I N E.

Sincerely, your pals at the Patriots Buffet Table

To me hardworking, straightforward food is best symbolized by the burger. We’re not going to be like the Steelers and just pick up a pack of frozen hockey pucks. We’re going to make like the Patriots and pay attention to detail. Sure it won’t be anything like the Steelers, but it will be a reflection of the City of Pittsburgh. Once they realized Big Steel wasn’t coming back, Pittsburgh started to pay attention to details and work with what they had. Now the city has smaller speciality steel businesses, efficient, more profitable, and less likely to end up shipped overseas. They’ve also taken advantage of their natural resources – the rivers running through town. The resources left by Steel Barons such as Carnegie, university halls, performing arts centers, and museums have also been put to good use. I hope the Steelers stay stuck in the 70’s and never take any of those hints from the city.

Patriots Buffet Table Burgers – serves 6
2 pounds ground beef, I do not like to use less than 80% fat beef for burgers. Fat is moisture. We’re grilling these, a lot of the fat is going to drip out anyways, use that fancy 90%+ beef and your burgers will be dry.
1 large egg
12 ounces shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp kosher or sea salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
1 tablespoon ground mustard powder
I use an additional 2 tsp of either chili powder, cayenne pepper or ground chipotle pepper in mine. Feel free to do the same, omit, or use another spice that you like. You can also add 1/2 cup of diced onions, but you’re sticking everyone with them. Save them for use as a topping and people who don’t like them won’t have to have them.
1 pack burger rolls
6 slices cheddar cheese

Crack the egg into a large mixing bowl. Add 1/3 of the cheese, seasonings, and meat.
Mix well. Once it’s mixed add another 1/3 of the ingredients and repeat. You can just add everything at once if you’d like. I think it’s easier to mix and make the burgers more consistent to do it in separate steps.

If you have a burger press go ahead and use it to make the patties. Otherwise we can form them by hand. Break off a chunk of burger meat from the bowl and roll it into a big meatball. Once thats done start to press it into a patty between your palms. When it’s done press your thumb into the top, this will prevent the burger from curving up as it cooks.

These can be made the day before gameday and refrigerated overnight. Doing this will just make the flavors blend together more.

Heres a simple trick on determining the burger size for people. Picture their hand from the wrist to the 1st knuckle. Make the patty the size and thickness of that full palm.

This works when I’m cooking for a collection of male and female friends.

The FDA recommends cooking for 6 minutes per side. Thats going to get you a medium well burger. Cook for a shorter amount of time if you like your burger less done. If you’re cooking enough burgers one will probably end up falling through the grill onto the burners or coals, that one is well done. Whatever time you decide to cook per side, halfway through the cooking turn the burger 1/3 of a turn. Do the same thing once you flip the burger over. This gives you the classic crossed grill marks and more grilled flavor. The last turn is also a good time to put cheese onto the burger.

Load them up on a bun, apply any condiments you wish, but skip the ketchup – or at least Heinz ketchup the week the Steelers are in town. When you first fire up the grill you can put on a couple of foil pouches with sliced onions or peppers. I like roasted red peppers on mine. You can even buy these already cut and frozen, just allow to defrost and add to a foil pouch with a couple tablespoons olive oil.

If you like to put BBQ sauce on your burgers, here is a quick recipe. Use it to mop the burgers while cooking, or just as a sauce when done.

Bar-Bock-Que sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup any ketchup that is not made by those Steeler loving Heinzes
8 ounces Bock beer
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 clove minced garlic
1 tablespoon of whichever ‘additional’ spice you added to the burger recipe

Combine ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes. Make the day before and put in a bottle, or just make it in a small pot on your grill.

Time for a drink!
Pittsburgh has a few brewpubs, but their brewery is the Pennsylvania Brewing Company. Penn Brewery for short. Penn produces lager beers, something common amoung the microbrewers in Pennslyvania but very uncommon outside the few traditional German areas of the United States. Most craft brewers produce ales. Ales can be produced quickly, allowing you to brew more beer without adding more expensive equipment and without the need to have large lagering tanks for aging or “lagering” the beer before sale. Those breweries will even tend to produce ales for traditional lager styles such as Octoberfest. Apart from Sam Adams there is a good chance any Octoberfests you drank over the past few months were ales, fermented at cool temperatures.

Penn’s current seasonal is the St. Nikolaus Bock. We cannot get Penn’s beers in New England but we can find some substitutes. Bock is a strong, 6 to 7% alcohol beer (compared to most German beers in the 4 to 5% range). It is malty, clean, full of rich bready tastes with toasted and some caramel flavor. The meaning of the name “Bock” isn’t entirely clear, some claim because the beer is stronger than normal it received the name Bock, German for “goat” due to it’s kick. Others point out the beer was invented in the city of Einbeck and the beer would have been called an Einbecker. Today you would order a Bock in Germany by saying “Ein Bock”. Ein being the German word for “one”. Hmm Ein Bock sure sounds like Einbeck — nah it must be the goat thing. Bocks receive a lot of their flavor from melanoidins, a fancy way of saying the ingredients were changed by the high temperatures during malting and brewing. These make Bock a great match for our grilled burgers, the same things that happened to the beer during brewing are going to happen to our burgers when they hit the heat of the grill.

Local Bocks include Stone Coast’s Knuckleball Bock out of Maine and Narragansett Bock out of Rhode Island. As always don’t forget your local brewpubs, in the past the Boston Rock Bottom has made a Boylston Street Bock, with the Braintree location rolling out their own Plymouth Rock Bock. Trinity Brewhouse in Providence’s Winterfest is a Bock beer. City Steam in Hartford, CT has put out at least three different Bocks in the past. If you’re having trouble finding a local, any good liquor store will have some German examples, just check the best by dates as they’ll be older than beer from local breweries. Sam Adams Winter Lager is a more of a specialty beer, a spiced wheat Bock, but it would do in a pinch.