As I’m not going to actually cook a dolphin, the Cuban sandwich seemed like a great idea for my Miami inspired NFL burger. The Cuban is a beautiful art-like sandwich, made with tender, favorful cuts of pork....so, instead of a beef patty, I decided to grill off a ground pork burger, seasoned with some BBQ rub.
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Recipes and Techniques
For the Buffalo Bills the choice was pretty obvious, yes, you guessed it…a Buffalo Chicken Wing-style burger. In keeping with that flavor profile, I use ground chicken (turkey would work well too) instead of beef. I sear the burger with simple seasoning, and then drench it in wing sauce (see recipe).
I gotta say an idea for a Minnesota Vikings burger didn’t jump out at me immediately, and so I ended up doing a bit of research. It didn’t take long to find the Juicy Lucy – apparently a Minnesota tradition that’s morphed into dozens (perhaps hundreds) of variations. But the original was a stuffed burger with American Cheese as the stuffing. So let’s go original.
It was pretty easy to invent an Eagles inspired burger – Philly is all about the cheese steak! I make mine with a thin beef patty, quickly seared on the stove top. Then, to fully capture that cheese steak vibe, I top it with sautéed onions and peppers, smother it in Cheese Whiz (Gotta use the real stuff!), and serve it up on a hoagie roll.
My burger for the Arizona Cardinals was another pretty easy choice. I love the flavors of the Southwest, and I bring them to bear in this burger.
There were quite a few viable options for my Cincinnati-style burger, but most of my research kept coming back to Cincinnati chili. So, let's go with it! For the Bengal’s burger I’m using a beef patty, which I grill to capture that smoky charred flavor.
Great Deli goes hand and hand with New York City, and for the Jets, I decided to reflect that with my Reuben Burger. I use a beef patty (make sure to shape it like the rye bread) which I make pretty thin and sear off in a pan. To reuben-ize it, I serve the burger on some toasted rye bread, and top it with pastrami, melted Swiss, and sour kraut.
Given there are 3 California NFL teams, I knew I’d end up making a “California Burger” at some point. The San Diego Chargers get the honor of the state’s namesake burger, if for no other reason, than it’s probably the healthiest burger on the menu, and given San Diego has beach weather 12 months a year, they stay pretty damn fit!
New York is among the top tier fine dining cities in the world...but honesting, when I think NY food, I quickly go to the New York Pizza slice. And how can you go wrong w/ anything pizza related; so that’s where I took my NY Giants burgers. To get as many pizza toppings in as I good, I mixed some Italian sausage with the ground beef to form the patty.
Once I saw that Fritos got their start in Houston, the direction for my Texans inspired burger was pretty well set. The burger itself is a straight forward beef patty, seared off on the stove (although the grill would be great too). But of course, we're not going to stop there. The real action comes in the topping.