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SOONER-STYLE TAILGATER THETA-EXPRESS BURGER

Living in the town that is home to the University of Oklahoma and the "OU SOONER'S" football team, tailgating is a way of life here during football season, and a traditional Theta Burger is enjoyed just across the street from the Stadium at the local pub. But for Tailgate grillers everywhere, my twist on this favorite burger is a different sauce, and instead of dill pickles I use an Oklahoma garden-grown favorite - Okra, but pickled for this recipe (off-the-shelf in any store nation-wide). I add something new to native Oklahoman cuisine with Wasabi mustard, which integrates the flavors from the wide variety of culinary diverseness that Oklahoma now enjoys, thanks to an international mix of families and students in Norman, OK. This burger is simple, based on home-grown style, including our abundance of beef, is hot and spicy and is soooooo good! I think it's a winner, just like our hometown OU Sooners football team... Go, Sooners!

Ingredients 

TAILGATER BEEF MIX
2 pounds lean organic ground beef
1/2 large sweet yellow onion, minced (reserve half)
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds removed and chopped
3 tablespoons Lea & Perrins worcestershire sauce
1 and 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

THETA-EXPRESS SAUCE
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Sutter Home Cabernet Sauvignon
reserved onion
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons native Oklahoma honey (if available)
1/4 cup mild molasses
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup ketchup
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce
1 teaspoon sea salt

THETA-EXPRESS TOPPING
1 and 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup Treasure Cave Crumbled Fetta
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons wasabi mustard
6 whole pickled okra, thinly sliced (ends trimmed off)

Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil for buns and for grill grates
6 Kaiser rolls, split

Instructions 

Place a medium-sized grill-safe saucepan on the side-burner of gas grill and turn on medium heat. Melt the butter; add wine, onions and garlic and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in the rest of the Theta-Express Sauce ingredients and mix well. Turn heat to high and when it begins to boil, lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally; cover and turn off heat. This should take 30 minutes overall.

Meanwhile, for Theta-Express Toppings, mix all ingredients together in a small bowl and cover.

Pre-heat grill on medium-high.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all Tailgater Beef Mix ingredients. Hand-mix thoroughly without compacting meat. Gently form into 6 rounded patties to fit the buns and place onto a baking sheet. Brush oil onto grill grates and place patties on pre-heated grill. Cook, covered, for 5-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked medium to medium-well, turning only once. Just after turning the burgers, lightly coat the cut side of the buns with oil and place cut side down around edges of grill grates. Grill until lightly toasted.

Remove buns and patties from grill. Spread cut side of bun tops and bottoms with equal amounts of Theta-Express topping, then a Patty on each bottom bun, spoon sauce over patty and cover with bun top. Serves 6.

Comments 

I have the best results cooking sauce on the grill in an enamel-coated cast iron saucepan. Just stir often as it will become thicker at the bottom. If it isn't as thick as you like after 20 minutes, turn the heat off but don't cover. It will thicken as it cools.