December 9, 2016

Patriots Daily Buffet Table, Patriots vs. Denver

logoby the Patriots Daily Kitchen Staff
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The NFL scheduled the Broncos to play at Foxboro? It seems that the Broncos and the Patriots play every year, and that they play in Denver. I’m not sure what happened here, but I’m glad the Pats aren’t out in Denver for once.

There is a lot to like about the Denver. The mayor is a brewer. There is easy access to all the skiing, hiking, and rafting that anyone could ever want. The city streets suddenly switch from North-South, East-West to diagonal for some reason. Coors Field is not only a great place to watch a baseball game, but the Red Sox won a World Series on that field. I like just about everything about Denver, except for the Broncos.

No matter what their record is, games against the Broncos worry me more than a 700 point drop on Wall Street. This is a Monday night game to boot, no normal Sunday at 1 game this week. So we’ll be going big with both our food and drink. Just as the Broncos are often a tough matchup for the Patriots, we’ll be making a big burger that is a tough matchup and would overwhelm most beers.

Patriots Daily Buffet Table Gorgonzola Burgers

Serves 6

2 pounds 80% ground chuck
grill seasoning (garlic, pepper, salt, cumin)
6 ounces gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
1 egg

The Patriots Daily Buffet Table Burger process was covered in the Patriots-Steelers game last season. But here we’ll repeat it.

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’s 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 game day and refrigerated overnight. Doing this will just make the flavors blend together more.

Here’s 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. That’s 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.

Time for a drink!

This week we’ll be drinking one of the biggest beer styles, the American Double IPA. Or as some prefer, the Imperial IPA.  It’s a Monday night game, I hope you all took Tuesday off. If you don’t respect the Double IPA you’ll need a day off, because these go to eleven.

Double IPA was invented by Vinnie Cilurzo, brewer/owner of Russian River Brewing Company. A happy mistake after he mistakenly put too much malt into a batch of India Pale Ale. To make up for the 50% increase in malt he doubled the amount of hops going into the beer. The Double IPA may be a San Diego invention but it has been taken up by craft brewers across the country. Lucky for us, as Russian River is not yet distributed to the East Coast.

Double IPA is among the most extreme styles in brewing. Featuring more malt, more hops, more flavor and more alcohol compared to the standard American IPA. American IPA, the style Double IPA grew out of is at the top of the scale in it’s own right. Double IPAs have to be paired with strong robust food, and we have a food big enough to stand up to them in our burgers.

All Double IPAs will be weighed towards the hoppy side. The only question is how far they go towards hop overload. If a beer was of a similar size to a Double IPA, but was balanced between hops and malts then that would be an American Barleywine.

The high alcohol will cut through the fat from the beef and cheese in the burger. The large amount of malt and hops used to brew these beers will complement but not be overwhelmed by the sharp and pungent Gorgonzola cheese. A smaller beer just wouldn’t stand up and would be left tasteless.

Colorado breweries have taken to the Double IPA as much as any region. Avery brings us Avery Maharaja. It’s a big 9.8% citrus and pine flavored entry in their Dictator series. Great Divide counters with Hercules Double IPA. It is a bit smaller at 9.1% ABV and 85 IBU, but smaller in a relative sense only. Hercules is also maltier than Maharaja. Boulder Brewing brings Mojo Risin’ Double IPA, the biggest of our Colorado Double IPA’s at 10.5% ABV.

There are not many Double IPAs produced year round and currently available from New England breweries.

One of the few is Blonde Hop Monster, from Paper City Brewery in Holyoke, MA. It is very hoppy and weighs in at 8.5% ABV.

Harpoon has recently released their Leviathan series. A rotating series of beers stronger than their normal year round brews. The current one just so happens to be Leviathan Imperial IPA.

You can also find Double IPAs at local brewpubs – the Alchemist in Waterbury, VT brews a number of different ones. As does Willimantic Brewing Company in Willimantic, CT.

The lack of bottled New England Double IPAs doesn’t mean we have a shortage of options. Many breweries send their examples to New England.

Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA, the big brother of 60 minute IPA, may be the most widely available Double IPA. This is the one I tried with the burger and it went great; the two together were better than either was on their own.

A number of Double IPAs make the trip from California, including: Hop 15 from Port Brewing;  Ruination IPA from Stone Brewing; and Moylans Moylander Double IPA and Hopsickle Imperial Ale.

Southern Tier Brewing of Lakewood, NY has greatly expanded their line in the past few years. Both their Hoppe and Unearthly IPA are good Double IPAs. Another up and coming brewery is Hoppin’ Frog from Akron, Ohio. Their Mean Manalishi Double IPA fits in with any of these other beers.

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