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Ravens tailgate recipe | Bacon guacamole burgers

If you like a big burger with flavorful toppings, this tailgate recipe is for you. Fresh-made guacamole and thick-cut bacon are a delicious alternative to the classic toppings. Most people aren't used to having gourmet burger toppings at a tailgate, and best of all, this is easy to put together. It's a great finish for the last Ravens home game of the regular season.

Bacon guacamole burgers

Makes 10 burgers

3-4 pounds ground beef (80-85%)

10 soft potato rolls

20 slices of thick-cut peppered bacon

For the dry rub

2 tablespoons black pepper

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

For the guacamole

6 avocados (soft and ripe)

1/2 large sweet onion (diced)

4 cloves garlic (diced)

1/4 cup (packed) chopped cilantro leaves

1 small tomato (diced)

2 tablespoons hot sauce

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Form burger patties that are about 1/3 pound each. To have a better-shaped burger after grilling, push your thumb into the center of the burger patty to create a small indentation. Liberally apply the burger dry rub on both sides of the burgers. You can easily prepare the burger patties the day before the game and store them covered in the refrigerator.

No more than an hour before you leave for the stadium, prepare the guacamole by halving the avocados and removing the seed. Scoop out the inside and place in a large bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cilantro leaves and tomato and mix everything in with the avocado. Add the hot sauce, lime juice, salt and pepper and mash until you've achieved a desirable guacamole consistency. Cover tightly and keep cold.

If you have a flat-top griddle for your grill, you can cook the bacon at the tailgate. If you don't, you can easily cook it at home an hour or so prior to the tailgate.

When you arrive at the tailgate, prepare the grill for medium or medium-high heat. Grill the burgers over direct heat. When they are almost done, put the cooked bacon right on the grill to warm it up. Grill each potato roll over direct heat for about 30-45 seconds until toasted. Assemble the burger on a freshly toasted roll, and add two slices of bacon on top followed by a huge scoop of guacamole. Serve with a side of tortilla chips, which can be used to scoop up any extra guacamole.

John Thomas is the author of the Baltimore-based grilling blog grilling24x7.com.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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