Bertrand Russell once wrote that idleness can be very praiseworthy. In college football, it can be not just praiseworthy but also highly productive, boosting your team in the polls while attrition takes its natural toll on the field. Just this past weekend in the AP Poll, Michigan State jumped two spots and Clemson jumped one while sitting around doing a whole lot o' nothing. Closer to home, the Irish have often gained in the polls during a bye week in recent years and hope to do so again this weekend. As many a downtrodden GM will tell you, sometimes the very best thing you can do is nothing.
That being said, scoreboard watching can be dangerous and arduous work and can lead one to build up a serious appetite. Enter a hearty American classic: the cheeseburger. Nothing says "it's football watchin' time" like some red meat, we always say; toss in some cheddar, lots of flavor, and a brew or two, and it's as much of a no-brainer as you can get. This particular recipe is from grill savant Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook; deceptively simple, the heartiness and flavor are both real and spectacular. The key is to get high-quality meat, to not mess around with it too much, and to count on the fixings for your flavor. And always, ALWAYS dip on the downbeat. Wait...
Mesa Grill Cheeseburger
Ingredients (makes 4 1/2-lb burgers):
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained (don't overthink this - just fill the tablespoon and hold it in there with your finger while you gently squeeze off the excess liquid)
- 1 large onion (I prefer red onions, but go with whatever you like), cut into 1/2-in. slices
- 2 tablespoons oil (whatever kind you like)
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 pounds ground chuck, at most 80% lean (feel free to substitute leaner beef or ground turkey, but if you do make sure to acknowledge that you're sacrificing flavor for "health," whatever that means)
- 8 1/4-in slices of cheddar cheese, two for each burger (Bobby says to mix white and yellow on each burger, but this is more of an aesthetic thing - I usually just go with yellow)
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 4 lettuce leaves
- 4 hamburger buns (no need to get too fancy, but try to make it decent bread)