The “Super” Big Game Plan
Before we got started with the menu, we did a little brainstorming and asked ourselves a few questions like:
“Hotdogs skewered together like a log cabin?”
“Yep. That’s it!”
It’s not everyday you hear someone suggest making walls out of hamburger or a log cabin out of hotdogs. While we tossed around crazy ideas, we sketched them out. We were pumped with the game plan.
Only one problem…was it actually going to work?
Our field would be about 36″ long and 18″ wide. This meant we needed a LOT of meat for the field itself (not including the bleachers or the walls). And we settled on hamburger patties to make the seating. I mean, come on, who doesn’t like hamburgers?
The Grocery Store
Our initial list looked like this:
- 9 racks of baby back ribs
- hot dogs (jumbo – 1 pkg)
- 80 – 1/4 lb burger patties
- 2 lbs bacon
- 20 lbs ground beef
- large bottle of ketchup
- large cheap yellow mustard (CYM)
- large mayo
- 1 package of cocktail sausages
- 2 lbs cheese sliced
- hotdog buns
- hamburger buns
- bread crumbs
- 12 eggs
- shredded lettuce
- 3 plastic ketchup bottle
- 6 grill lights
- grilling tools
- 6 aluminum pans
- aluminum foil
- grill brush
- rib hooks for The Big Easy
As we stood in the grocery store looking at the massive mound of meat that had accumulated in our cart, it just didn’t look like enough! We had BIG plans to make this stadium 3 feet long and it only seemed that we had enough ground beef to make it from one end zone to the opposite 20 yard line. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and called my cooking comrade to find out what he thought. He and I came to the conclusion that there’s no such thing as TOO much food.
I grabbed an additional 5 pounds of ground beef, 3 more pounds of cheese, 4 more pounds of bacon, and 40 more hamburger patties for a grand total of 25 pounds of ground beef, 5 pounds of cheese, 6 pounds of bacon, and 120 hamburger patties (that’s 30 pounds of burger patties!)
We had more than 100 pounds of food to cook! With that much food, we needed an arsenal of Char-Broil grills and cookers to accomplish this with only 2 people cooking. The bacon, stuffed meat field, cocktail sausages, burgers and hotdogs would all be cooked on Char-Broil TRU-Infrared grills while the ribs would have to be cooked in the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Big Easy Smoker, Roaster, Grills (or the SRG for short).
Our Grill/Cooker Lineup:
- (1) Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Gourmet 4 burner
- (1) Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Commercial Series 3 burner
- (1) Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Performance Series 4 burner
- (3) Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Big Easy Smoker, Roaster, Grills
Grilling The Bacon:
First, we would need to cook the bacon. Grilling bacon can be quite dangerous on a normal convection gas grill with the high fat content and tendency for grease fires to occur. This was NO problem for the TRU-Infrared cooking system to handle. Using infrared heat produced by the patented cooking system, there were no flare-ups or grease fires. We cooked 6 pounds of bacon on these grills and if you have never tried grilled bacon, let me tell you, it is by far the best tasting bacon you could ever eat! Far better than microwaving, pan frying, or cooking it in the oven.
It was so good, that we had to be careful not to eat all the stuffing for the meat field. Each of us grabbed a piece here and a piece there until we realized that we had to stop eating it or there would be none left!
Stuffing The Field:
What better to make the field out of but a hamburger stuffed with loads of bacon and cheese? The 25 pounds of ground beef was mixed with some seasoning, 12 eggs, and a small amount of breadcrumbs to keep it from falling apart on the grill. Once mixed, a thin layer of burger meat went down into the bottom of an aluminum pan. Next, a healthy layer of cheese and tons of bacon were added and finally another layer of burger meat to top it off.
Cooking the Ribs:
Cooking thirty pounds of ribs is EASY with the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Big Easy Smoker, Roaster, Grill (if you have 3 of them and enough rib hooks to go around!) Before cooking any rib, you want to remove the membrane from the back of the ribs. An easy way to do this is with a spoon and a paper towel. The membrane can be slippery when just using your fingers. Use the spoon to scrape the membrane off the bone on one end, then use your paper towel to grab the membrane and just pull all the way to the other end. (If you’re lucky, the entire membrane will come off in one piece)
Once the membrane has been removed, season the ribs with whatever rub you like. The next step after rubbing them down is to insert the rib hooks just under the top rib bone. Take a knife and cut a small slit under the first rib bone, then just push the rib hook through the slit and make sure the ribs are secure and won’t fall off the hook during cooking.
Now that all of the ribs have been rubbed and hooked, simply hang the hooks on the basket and drop the basket down into the cooking chamber. For a little smoke flavor you can add some wood chips to the smoker box on the Smoker, Roaster, Grill. Cook your ribs on low in the Smoker Roaster Grill so you can begin to cook the rest of the food while you wait on them to finish.
We broke our meat field into 6 equal sized pieces in order to be able to flip them on the grill. Each of the trays full of meat field had to be flipped very quickly onto the grates of the grill which isn’t easy considering each tray weighed more than 10 pounds. After they cooked on one side for a few minutes, we decided to flip them. Luckily we had the help of our Man Cave Giant Spatula to flip these suckers. All 6 gigantic burgers shook the deck with every flip. It felt like an earthquake! No way any normal spatula would do (at least by itself). You could always try and use two spatulas or get creative and use a couple of open fish baskets as giant meat flippers.
With the pieces of the field grilling away, we had time to start breaking open the boxes of hamburger patties. There were plenty of them to go around. 120 to be exact.
We found out through trial and error that burger patties would be the best thing to use to create our stadium seating. All we needed to do was cook 120 of them! After each burger was grilled, some were kept whole and others were cut into a 2/3 – 1/3 ratio so we would have 3 different sizes of meat. The large, whole burger would go down first, then the 2/3 burger next, followed by the 1/3 burger, all staggered to achieve a nice stadium seating look.
What’s a football stadium without goal posts? For the goal posts, only one kind of meat would do. HOTDOGS. Sausage was too big and heavy to be supported by our bamboo skewers so we decided to do bun-length dogs to construct goal posts. We cooked up 24 hotdogs and used some of them to create the posts and the others to stuff in the end zones to make our rib walls more stable.
Without any players, there is no game. It would just be an empty lot of grass with some paint on it. We decided we should make the players out of cocktail sausages. They fit perfectly into our field and were ready for kick off…that is…until we ate them! You might wonder, “How would you cook something so small on a grill without them falling through the grates?” Well, the answer is simple. Just grab some aluminum foil and make a little package for them. Once they are in the pouch, just toss them on the grill, and let ‘em cook. Simple huh?
Constructing The Field
All of our meat was FINALLY cooked and construction was ready to begin.
We already created a giant serving pan prior to cooking. This was made out of four – 18 inch disposable aluminum pasta pans. Each was cut and duct taped together to create a space big enough to house over 100 pounds of food. The newly constructed pan was covered in aluminum foil to keep the duct tape from touching the food. We quickly realized how BIG this experiment was going to be after seeing the finished pan. We were in for a long day.
Each of our stuffed burger pieces were placed in first to make sure that our ribs would have something to hold them up against the outer wall of our pan. There was some room on each end between the stuffed burger field and the outside walls where we utilized some of the extra hotdogs we cooked earlier to help secure our rib walls.
We stacked each rack of ribs around the side of the stuffed meat field and made sure they were secure. Our stadium was starting to come together and it was a beautiful thing!
The hotdog goal post was the next thing to construct. 12″ bamboo skewers were partially shoved through the end of two hotdogs and then each was stuck into the field securely along side another set skewered the same way. Each double dog upright was placed about a single dog’s width apart. Another hotdog was held about half way up the uprights, skewered through the uprights and through itself from end to end and back through the opposite upright creating an H shape. We now had some meaty goal posts!
The Finishing Touches:
Our field was almost complete after several hours of cooking and constructing. Only thing left to do was to add the seating, grass, paint, and players. Burgers were stacked on top of the field just in front of the rib walls. Each was staggered to create a stadium seating look. Grass was added through the use of shredded lettuce. The lettuce was spread evenly in the area left of the field the seats didn’t cover.
Since paint isn’t really edible (by most people’s standards anyway) we decided to use ketchup, mustard, and mayo. Team ketchup made up one end zone and team mustard made up the other. The mayo was used to create yard lines. At the end, we figured the field needed a logo at the 50 yard line like most stadiums, so we drew a Char-Broil “Fleusch”.
The last and final touch was to add the players themselves along with the stadium lights we made out of flexible LED grill lights. We lined up 11 on each side of the field in kickoff and receiving formations and clamped the lights to the sides of the table. The ketchup team won the toss and decided to defer to the mustard team who would start the game receiving. The verdict is still out on who actually won…
We had a BLAST creating this field and the folks who joined us for the game had fun eating it! We will definitely continue to Grill Big Or Go Home, so be on the lookout for more over-the-top outdoor cooking from us soon.
Think you can top this? We want to hear from you! Let us know what you think of Grill Big Or Go Home and what you might like to see us do next. We also want to see what you are doing for the “Big Game”. If you think you can top us, tell us about it! We want to see what YOU are cooking for the game. Share this challenge with your friends and we may even feature you and your buds on Char-Broil Live!