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Ravens Tailgate Recipe: Classic fast-food burger

This classic fast-food burger is perfect for a Ravens tailgate, says John Thomas of grilling24x7.com.
This classic fast-food burger is perfect for a Ravens tailgate, says John Thomas of grilling24x7.com. (John Thomas, grilling24x7.com)

Fast food flavors usually aren't associated with tailgates. However, when done correctly, a fast food copy cat recipe can be one of the most fun tailgates to pull off. We've all had this burger before from a popular fast-food chain and it works perfectly for tailgates. It's a big double-decker burger and it's full of flavor thanks to the classic special sauce, perfectly grilled burger and other toppings.

Classic fast-food burger

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Makes 12 burgers

Ground beef (80 percent lean, about 3-3.5 pounds)

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2 large white onions

2 heads of iceberg lettuce

12 sesame seed buns

Salt and pepper

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12 slices of sharp cheddar cheese

Sliced dill pickles

Ingredients for the special sauce

1 cup Miracle Whip

1/3 cup sweet relish

1/4 cup French dressing

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon dried minced onion

Two aluminum tins

The day before the tailgate, use a small burger press and press out twenty four 1/8 pound patties. It's helpful to layer the burgers with small squares of wax paper after pressing and stack in a container suitable for transport. Dice the white onions and iceberg lettuce very finely and store in separate zip top bags for transport. Purchase sesame seed buns and cut either the top of the bun or the bottom of the bun in half, depending on which side is the largest (you want to cut the largest in half to create the "middle bun"). Put the rolls back together and place them back in the bag for transport to the parking lot. Prepare the special sauce by mixing all of the ingredients into a bowl. Mix well and store air tight overnight in the refrigerator.

When you arrive at the tailgate, prepare the grill for medium heat. Grill the burger patties and season with salt and pepper. Remove the patties from the grill and place them in an aluminum tin. Grill 6 of the buns for about 30 seconds each and then lay them on a table with the bottom, the middle and the top separated. On the bottom and middle sections, place 2 tablespoons of the special sauce and top each with diced onion and lettuce. On the bottom bun add a slice of cheese and on the middle bun add two pickles. Place the burger patties on both the bottom and the middle section then assemble the burger by placing the middle, with toppings, on top of the bottom section and then add the top bun. In a second aluminum tin, line up all of the assembled burgers and place all six back on the grill over indirect heat for about 5 minutes (away from the hot flame) and close the grill dome. This critical step melts the cheese and allows you to present a warm and tasty fast-food style burger. Repeat the process for the final six burgers. These pair well with shoestring fries or even thick-cut salty kettle potato chips.

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

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