by Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff

This week the Patriots are facing off against the Jets for the second time this season. Things look quite a bit different from week 2. With a win the Patriots will have a 3 game lead over the Jets and at least a 2 game lead in the division.

With a loss Rexy has to find a new target to throw under the bus. He’s already blamed the offense and special teams for losses, so it will take some creativity to find a new scapegoat this week.

What to Eat?

Rex Ryan’s chili burgers

Usually a chili burger is a regular cheeseburger with chili added on top. Like Rex Ryan, the Kitchen Staff is bad at reading directions. So our chili burger is a burger flavored like chili. The usual chili burger falls apart and becomes impossible to eat after 10 seconds.

Much like the Jets who fell apart about 10 seconds into week 4.

Serves 6 to 8

2 pounds 80% ground beef – do not use anything leaner for burgers, they’ll be dry
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 jalapeno, diced
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teapsoons cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1.5 teaspoons cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 ounces cheddar cheese
1 pack burger rolls
6 to 8 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 that is done start to press it into a patty between your palms. When it’s done press your thumb into the top to make an indentation. The indentation 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.

You will have to go by cooking times or a sense of touch for these burgers. The chili seasoning will turn the meat a dark red. This color will not change during cooking. So if you usually cut a burger open to see if it is still pink inside that will not work with these.

What to drink?

We need a beer that can stand up to a flavorful burger, but not clash with the spice in the way a very hoppy beer would. We’re going with Alt beers. Alt is one of the few ale styles native to Germany. “Alt” is the German word for “old”. The beer itself isn’t old, but the ale brewing tradition was the “old way”. Lager brewing was the “new way”, so when that took off the “Alt” name was applied to the beers already being made.

Although the old beers were still fermented as ales, the brewers adapted the cold aging process from the lager brewers. This resulted in a hybrid style. Retaining some of the fruity esters of an ale, while introducing the smooth fully fermented body of a lager.

Alts can resemble a german version of a pale ale or a brown ale. Each brewer will make them a little bit differently. They may also be similar to an American Amber Ale. In fact many brewers will call their Alt an Amber. American brewers hate to call their Alts by the name Alt. Seems like they’re worried about the “Alt=Old” connontation.

There is a special stronger version of Alt beer called ‘Sticke’. This is the German word for “secret”. Sticke beers are brewed a few times during the year as a reward to brewery customers. The beers are never advertised so you have to be in the know to order them hence the name “Secret”. Some American brewers have followed this tradition, but these special offerings aren’t so secretive over here.

Located on Long Island in Southampton brewer and author Phil Markowski keeps a range of beers on offer. Southampton Publick House brews both a Sticke and a regular alt. The Sticke is called Southampton Secret Ale, while the alt is simply called Alt.

long-trail-double-bag-aleIn Vermont, Long Trail also gives us both a sticke and an alt. The standard Long Trail Ale is an Alt, at 4.6% ABV and 30 bittering units. Doublebag is a sticke much stronger at 7.2% ABV but is less bitter at only 25 bittering units. Bitterness isn’t truly measurable in the way an ‘International Bitterness Unit’ (IBU) implies. The 25 IBU from Doublebag will seem much less bitter than the 30 IBU Long Trail Ale. Even though they are only 5 bitterness units apart. The Doublebag is stronger, and would need close to 50 IBUs to taste as bitter as the Long Trail Ale at only 30 IBUs.

Otter Creek also makes an alt, keeping with not naming it ‘alt’, they call it Copper Ale. This is a simple drinkable beer, on the malty side at 5% ABV.

One of New England’s newest breweries, Manchester Brewing calls their Alt “Alt-Ctrl-Delete”. Someone obviously spent too much time using Microsoft Windows at Manchester Brewing.

From the newest to one of the oldest. Sam Adams Boston Ale is one I consider to be an Alt beer. Sam Adams considers this to be a ‘Stock Ale’, identifying it as copper, with caramel malt, herbal hops and aged in cool “stock cellars”. That just happens to be the definition of an Alt beer.

Back to the new entries. Frosty Knuckle Brewing company only makes the one beer, and their Frosty Knucle Ale is in the Alt style.

Tuckerman Brewery from North Conway, NH  named their Alt after the Headwall on Mount Washington. It tastes especially good after climbing it’s namesake mountain.

Closely related to Alt beer is the American Steam beer or California Common style. 100 years ago these were common throughout San Francisco as lager brewers tried to use their traditional methods but were stuck with the California climate. The only surviving example claimed the trademark on ‘Steam beer’ leaving ‘California Common’ as the name for the rest.

That original is Anchor Steam, grandfather of the American craft brewing industry. Different from an alt through it’s use of the woody, minty Northern Brewer hops. But very similar from hybrid lager-ale standpoint. Where an Alt is an ale that is aged like a lager and may be brewed at a low temp like a lager. A Steam Beer is brewed with lager yeast but at ale temperatures. Traditionally they would not be cold aged, as there was no refrigeration or natural cooling available in San Francisco.