*My alarm goes off, blaring loudly as I finish my cup of coffee and turn it off, smiling to myself*
Monday Tuesday mornings really do feel better after a massive shellacking of an arch-rival — that 48-20 DOMINATION of the then-10th-ranked USC Trojans was so fulfilling and energizing and fun that it’s got me up and at ‘em super early to kick off this work week. Well, that and the fact that our landlord is sending guys to start remodeling one of our bathrooms at 7:30am today. There’s that, too.
Still, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team had themselves just a beautiful bounce-back from the atrocities they delivered one weekend prior against a Louisville team who we can now quote Dennis Green about with 100% certainty after seeing them get absolutely smoked by a Pittsburgh Panthers team that entered their matchup with a 1-4 record and a new QB after our favorite Jurkovec got benched.
Also, embedding that video will now allow me to embed this video, which makes me very happy:
That bounce-back has me just impervious to the Monday doldrums and anxieties and stresses today, so I’m pretty pumped to hop on this call and soak up the good vibes the whole team will be feeling as we enter the Bye week by reminiscing on a glorious October Saturday of college football.
Let’s do this, folks.
*clicks “Join Call” button*
Goooood morning team, how’s everyone doing today?
Yep, I DID catch that game — I was actually lucky enough to have been there in-person. Yeah no it was pretty incredible, huge win for them and another swing in fan opinion back in favor of Marcus Freeman, which you love to see.
Absolutely, it was pretty great — had a lot of fun. Oh by the way Jim, how did your Boilers look on Saturday — I wasn’t able to catch the game because I was tailgating. Oh, wow, sorry to hear that! *starts laughing maniacally inside my mind*
Okay, well I believe we’ve got everyone here and I know some folks are on vacation, so we can probably just dive in and we can send a recap out afterward to anyone who misses anything. Sound good to everybody?
Cool, can you all see my screen?
Awesome, I will take your silence and one person nodding and clearly trying to say “yes” while on mute as a consensus that I’m successfully sharing the deck.
The agenda this week is essentially the same as always with our weekly Project W.I.N. meetings, so I don’t think I need to hang around on this slide for too long — we’re going to review last week’s results, take a quick gander at some charts and graphs, recognize our Team Members of the Week and take a look into the degenerate, unfiltered thoughts of Pat Rick as he remembers watching the game on Saturday, and then dive into this week to preview our competition and What’s Important Now.
And I guess after saying I wasn’t going to spend a bunch of time there, I still went ahead and talked you through the entire Agenda. Sorry about that, it’s a little hard to focus when I just keep seeing Xavier Watts having an all-time performance over and over again in my mind.
Anyway, let’s skip through the next couple slides — you guys know what W.I.N. is and how this process works.
...okay awesome, so let’s go ahead and a take a look at Last Week’s Results so we can call out the positives and learn from the negatives of the Irish’s performance on Saturday.
Spoiler alert for this one: it’s basically the opposite of last week’s Negative-Extravaganza, with just a plethora of positives to be proud of and just a small handful of negatives we feel we should touch on right now.
We’re gonna ride the good vibes right into the beginning of this slide and start with the Positives, because why the hell not?
First and foremost, we need to tip our collective hats to Al Golden, his defensive staff, and the beautiful football their players played on Saturday night. What they accomplished against an absolutely stellar and productive offense was truly a sight to behold and a master-class in game-planning and execution. Caleb Williams and that offense were an absolute FORCE going into the matchup, as I noted in my preview last week — they were #1 in the country offensively in SP+ rating, #1 in scoring (51.8 PPG), #2 in yards per play (8.47), #4 in total offense (522.5 YPG), #3 in passing offense (354.3 YPG), #3 in yards per attempt (10.6), #3 in passer rating, #14 in completion percentage, #4 in interceptions (having thrown just one through their first 6 games), and #1 in passing touchdowns (23).
Simply put, no matter how bad their defense apparently was, this was a dangerous, filthy offense that no one had come even remotely close to stopping through the first half of the season. That is, until they had to take on the Irish defense on a dreary fall evening in South Bend.
Al Golden’s group was fantastic at all levels, holding the Trojans to 302 total yards and just 199 through the air, forcing Caleb Williams to go 23-for-37 passing while averaging a PEDESTRIAN 5.4 yards per attempt and picking off the reigning Heisman winner 3 times while also forcing and recovering 2 fumbles, forcing 5 turnovers in total. Williams’ passer rating on the evening was 55.7, which is a mark that Drew Pyne surpassed 7 separate times in the 2022 season.
4.1 yards per play for USC tonight vs Notre Dame. The lowest YPP for any Lincoln Riley offense at Oklahoma or USC— Jamie Uyeyama (@jamieuyeyama) October 15, 2023
The defense was able to shut down the Trojans’ passing attack via a variety of means, but perhaps the most important initiative in that regard was the pass rush the Irish were able to consistently dial up while still corralling Williams in the pocket and not letting him scramble and move the chains. Williams was sacked SIX times and the sacks came from 7 different players, with J.D. Bertrand and Rylie Mills each getting half a sack and then 5 other players picking up one apiece — Nana Osafo-Mensah, Marist Liufau, Thomas Harper, Jaylen Sneed, and true freshman Boubacar Traore.
ND was fantastic getting into the backfield across the board, finishing with 11 tackles for loss, what seemed like countless QB pressures/hurries, and holding the Trojans to 103 yards on 37 carries, which is 2.8 yards per rushing attempt. The Irish defenders were absolutely flying to the ball and did a great job going for strips as well, forcing two fumbles (and recovering both) to win the turnover battle 5-0.
Of course, anyone who watched the game is flabbergasted that I haven’t mentioned the individual performance of the evening (and one of the best-ever in Notre Dame Stadium history on the defensive side of the ball) — Xavier Watts was simply phenomenal on Saturday night. The senior converted wide receiver has had a long journey to being a starter on Al Golden’s defense, and all his hard work and persistence in making the switch to safety paid off in this game.
Watts got two first half interceptions of Williams — who you will recall had only thrown one pick all season up until Saturday night. One player picking him off multiple times in one half in a top-25 matchup of two rivals was simply incredible.
Caleb Williams threw 5 interceptions all of last season. Had only thrown 2 INTs in a game once (Vs Baylor in 2021)— Jamie Uyeyama (@jamieuyeyama) October 15, 2023
But Watts didn’t stop there with just those two interceptions.
He racked up 7 tackles (6 solo), forced a fumble, and also recovered another fumble and ran it back for a touchdown to put an exclamation point on the blowout victory in the final minutes.
Side note: shout-out to Cam Hart for forcing that fumble — that’s the second time in as many games that he’s successfully punched the ball out of a receiver’s hands as he in that exact same situation near the sideline. It’s becoming his signature move and I am HERE FOR IT, y’all.
Anyway, Watts’ performance in this one was legendary — just a wild stat line to put up against the best QB in the country.
Exactly 50 years ago Luther Bradley had two interceptions, a fumble recovery and a caused fumble in a win over an unbeaten top 10 Southern Cal team. Tonight ND defender Xavier Watts had the exact same stats in a win over an unbeaten and top 10 USC team— Tim Bourret (@TimBourret) October 15, 2023
Aside from Watts having an all-time game, there were several other Irish defensive players who were absolute studs in this one. Bertrand accumulated a game-high 11 tackles on the night, with 1.5 of those being tackles for loss, including combining with Mills on a sack. The captain was all over the place on Saturday night and really helped drive that stifling defensive effort.
Benjamin Morrison got himself an interception of his own against Williams (along with a PD, a tackle for loss, and 4 total tackles while continuing to be a dominant cover corner against great receivers), and we of course already talked about Hart’s forced fumble. Those two guys were both great in coverage as well, combining with the pass rush to force many sacks and incompletions. Thomas Harper being back in the secondary was a huge boost, too, with the starting nickelback picking up 3 tackles and a sack and doing a great job in coverage.
Marist Liufau had a really nice showing after a tough Louisville game, picking up a sack and 4 tackles. And Osafo-Mensah had one of his best games, picking up 4 tackles and a sack of his own. The middle of the defensive line was pretty damn strong at wreaking havoc in the backfield and not allowing for much of a push by USC linemen, with Javontae Jean-Baptiste, Howard Cross III, and Rylie Mills all putting forth a great effort. Jean-Baptiste also recovered the fumble Watts forced.
Howard Cross: 6 total pressures, 4 quarterback hurries, one sack— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) October 15, 2023
Javonte Jean-Baptiste: 7 total pressures, 6 quarterback hurries
These two were monsters in the passing game
Disgusting push/pull move by Rylie Mills to force Williams into Nana. pic.twitter.com/FT4usitnzQ— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) October 15, 2023
Finally, it was awesome to see Jaylen Sneed and true frosh Boubacar Traore start to usher in a new era of pass rushers and athletes on the ND defense with one sack each — it’s not hard to imagine those two absolutely ruining QBs’ lives on a consistent basis the next couple seasons as athletes like them, Jaiden Ausberry, Drayk Bowen, Brenan Vernon, Christian Gray, etc. begin to work more heavily into the rotation on the field.
Alright, a few other quick positives to note from the offensive side of the ball:
- The ND running game wasn’t dominant, but the offensive line managed to pave the way for a 4.3 yards-per-carry clip and 2 rushing touchdowns by Irish runners, and they also managed to keep a USC team known for getting sacks from sacking Sam Hartman even once. Love to see that after such a bad showing against Louisville
- Audric Estime had a modest 95 yards and 2 touchdowns while averaging over 4 yards per attempt, so not too shabby. Also, there was a very nice segment about our beloved big beefy back on Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff:
- Gi’Bran Payne opening the game with a TD catch was a nice way to get things going
- Chris Tyree had two very nice catches on the night to pick up 62 yards, with the big one being his 46-yard touchdown that was an excellent response to USC showing some life in the second half — in fact, the offense had a couple nice responses/drives that should be noted
I know it was a tough night for the offense generally, but at 17-3 after the Morrison interception the offense went 5 plays 50 yards for a touchdown to go up 24-3, then 6 plays 68 yards after USC cut it to 24-13. Those were two huge scoring drives that kept the pressure on USC.— Greg Flammang (@greg2126) October 15, 2023
- Sam Hartman didn’t exactly have a stellar night in terms of production, but he still managed to throw for 2 touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over once on the night. Plus, it appears he’s fully bought-in to the ND community, in case you were worried he hadn’t:
Sam Hartman enjoying the moment. pic.twitter.com/Q8gOkgvzC5— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) October 15, 2023
Besides offense and defense, there’s of course one other kinda sorta maybe awesome thing that happened — Jadarian Price’s NINETY-NINE YARD KICKOFF RETURN TOUCHDOWN!!!
Price is so freaking good, this return was massive for momentum at a time when USC was threatening to make it a game, and it’s great he’s able to make this kind of contribution on special teams, but MAN can we not get this kid some carries or receptions or something on offense, too?
He’s absolutely electric with the ball in his hands and we might not have even seen him at his peak yet, considering full recovery from an Achilles tear typically takes a bit longer than it’s been for the promising sophomore. Just imagine how good he might be by this time next season!
Also, shout-out to Devyn Ford, as he had a couple nice kickoff returns as well — it’s good to see Marty Biagi’s special teams guys making some big plays.* And speaking of special teams, Spencer Shrader wasn’t asked to do anything crazy, but he still deserves a shout-out for being perfect on the evening (2/2 on field goals, 6/6 on extra points).
*Pat Rick Note: I also want to use Price and Ford finding success on kick return to reminisce on past ND running backs who’ve been awesome returners for the Irish as well, mostly just to watch these returns from the 21st century again:
It’s always fun to see Notre Dame backs doing something so exciting on special teams and changing games completely with their ability to run the ball very far, very fast.
The final positive I want to mention is absolutely about Marcus Freeman and the culture he’s built in his short time as head of this program — it’s clear that his players love playing for him, he’s very adept at getting them ready for big-time opponents, and the vibes that follow are pretty immaculate and involve a lot of fun celebrations to be had.
Sam Hartman on Notre Dame football: “I hope the culture never changes. If I have kids, I hope I can bring them back here to experience it… I freaking love the Irish.” pic.twitter.com/2l0LpoJe29— Tyler Horka (@tbhorka) October 15, 2023
Furthermore, the man may still have his occasional stumbles and be learning how to do this whole head coaching thing on the fly, but damnit if the early returns still aren’t super exciting:
Notre Dame's 48-20 victory over USC was the second worst defeat of Lincoln Riley's head coaching career, trailing only the 63-28 loss to LSU in the College Football Playoff following the 2019 season.— Pete Sampson (@PeteSampson_) October 15, 2023
In just a year and a half, Marcus Freeman now has as many Top 10 wins at Notre Dame Stadium as Brian Kelly had in 12 years as ND head coach.— Tim Bourret (@TimBourret) October 15, 2023
I still believe this man can take this program to the next level, and am excited to watch him keep trying to do so as he keeps improving as a head coach.
Other quick positives to note really fast before we move forward:
- the stadium DJ blasting “California Love” as USC left the field in shame following their 4-touchdown defeat was absolutely *chef’s kiss*
- This photo and the content/memes we have begun to get from it are simply exquisite:
The three types of Notre Dame students pic.twitter.com/GHFlEg8Bo6— ts (@ts_murphy_) October 15, 2023
- Dex Williams doing Dex Williams things online
Walk the dog on usc ass— 2MUCH_JUICE (@DexterW_22) October 15, 2023
Heeeeeerrrrreeeeeeeeee Coooooommmmmeeeeeeee Thhhhhhheeeee Iiiirrrissshhhhhh ✌ …. Good Morning Today Is. Great day Bless Up Yall— 2MUCH_JUICE (@DexterW_22) October 15, 2023
- The idea of everyone I care about finding someone who looks at them like Joshua Burnham looks at Joe Alt:
Hoooookay, as much as fun as it’s been for me to just ramble incoherently about how awesome Saturday night was, we DO still need to move on in the deck, so let’s quickly knock out the Negatives from the game so we can flip to the next page:
- The Irish were 3-for-10 on 3rd down offensively and only managed 251 total yards of offense. Yes, they often had a short field because of the awesome turnovers from the defense, but Gerad Parker’s group was still not as sharp as they should have been against such a bad defense, and Parker himself still made a few head-scratching play calls.
- The ND wide receivers continued to be MIA besides Tyree’s two nice catches — this simply cannot continue, and someone NEEDS to step up so that Sam Hartman has some options to throw to.
- The Irish gave up that big return to Zachariah Branch, which was not good. Also, Marty, why the hell are you even kicking to that kid?!?
- What the hell is this? Someone better confirm to me that these were honorary game balls IN ADDITION TO the one that Xavier Watts HAD TO have received, because otherwise this is so insulting to the defense and their performance, to give game balls to these two stiffs.
Alrighty, now let’s move forward and check out some fun charts and graphs — we’ve got some fun data to dive into here.
Let’s begin with a couple slides full of graphs to show just how dominant the ND defense’s performance was against Caleb Williams on Saturday...
That was the lowest QBR, least touchdown passes, most interceptions, 2nd-most times being sacked, and 3rd-worst passing yards in a single game for Caleb Williams since he followed Lincoln Riley to USC.
Oh, and what about Williams and that super explosive offense with all the home run threats he has at his disposal? Did they still manage to rip off some big plays through the air or otherwise on offense? Actually, Williams’ longest pass of the night was 21 yards, which is his lowest “long” pass in a game in a Trojans uniform.
Al Golden’s defense went out there after a TOUGH loss on the road last week (which wasn’t their fault, but they also weren’t exactly awesome during it) and just completely ruined the night of the reigning Heisman trophy winner in a way that no other defense has done against him the last two seasons. Hot damn.
Alright, now a quick check-in on our favorite stud safety, Mr. Watts, who now ranks tied for 3rd in the country in interceptions on the season with 4. Dude deserves to be up there with the best, and hopefully he keeps it up over the final four games of this season.
Oh, one other side note — ND is tied for 8th in the nation in total interceptions with 9. For a defense that STRUGGLED to get turnovers last season, they’ve really turned it on this year to do everything in their power to win ball games.
Final two slides of graphs really just reiterate what I’ve been harping on here about the defense, but on a season level:
Golden’s Guys are in the Top 10 in the country in Yards Per Play Allowed, Pass Defense, Yards Per Attempt Allowed, Completion % Allowed, and Passer Rating Allowed — pretty good for a group who’s faced Caleb Williams and his receivers in a Lincoln Riley offense, an Ohio State offense with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeka Egbuka, and some other dangerous guys like Jamari Thrash, Riley Leonard and Jalon Calhoun, etc.
So, so impressive.
Cool cool cool, now let’s make sure we celebrate our successes after such a big week for this project — let’s go through our Team Members of the Week!!!
Of course, we have to start by giving Xavier a massive round of applause for all his contributions to this program, but especially for what he did last weekend. He was EVERYWHERE out there and put on a truly sensational show for Irish fans.
So, Xavier, congrats on your fantastic wins this week and we are so proud of you and appreciative of everything you’ve done to drive this project forward!!!
Then, leadership would also like to recognize a bunch more guys who delivered fantastic results on Saturday — congrats to J.D., Jadarian, Audric, Chris, Nana, Marist, Thomas, Rylie, Jaylen, Boubacar, Howard, Javontae, Benjamin, and Cam for all your great work!
All of you, plus Xavier, should find a California Pizza Kitchen gift card in your inboxes right after this call — a well deserved treat!!!
Okey dokey, now let’s very quickly cover Pat Rick’s live journal from Saturday before we turn our sights toward the coming week.
I’ll let you guys review this in more detail on your own time, but just a few quick call-outs:
- We bought the Big High Life, it was glorious — as was the Corona Snoop Dogg promotional statue/figurine at Belmont Beverage
- Tailgating at the library is low-key the best way to tailgate
- I got to see so many good friends on Saturday, USC games at ND always rule so much
- Vibes were immaculate in the stadium, and obviously that game was a blast
- Xavier Watts for freaking PRESIDENT y’all
Excited to announce, after having slept on it, that I will be naming my firstborn Xavier Watts Sullivan— Not a Fan of Sports (@Psully226) October 15, 2023
Awesome, with all that covered, let’s quickly take a look at our Project Timeline to understand where we’re at now...
Somehow, some way, we’ve now completed 67% of the 2023 ND football season, with our beloved Irish standing 6-2 and having given us quite the roller coaster ride of emotions the last 4 weeks.
Now, the team can enjoy a well-deserved week off as we enter the first of two “Eating Cheeseburgers” weeks. And if you don’t recall, that’s of course a reference to Charlie Weis’ greatest moment as Notre Dame head coach, where he was questioning a team that was on bye jumping his team in the rankings, saying, “Another team [Florida] that jumped us wasn’t even playing. They were home eating cheeseburgers and they end up jumping us. That befuddles me.” Great use of “befuddles” by the way, Chuck.
So on that note, let’s dive into a fun preview of this week’s opponent for the bye-week Irish: CHEESEBURGERS!!!
Here’s just a quick overview of Cheeseburgers — I won’t read all this off the slide to you, but a few highlights I think it’s worth noting on this call:
- I love that photo of Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc so much — he looks so happy and proud
- I decided the “stadium” for cheeseburgers in general is the Krusty Krab, which will allow me to first comment on that establishment’s capacity (if we’re talking anchovies — who will really pack it in for burger night — then it’s in the thousands and may just rival the Big House), and then also it just allows me to share some random favorite Spongebob clips, because that show was so good back in its prime:
- I do think I still like pizza as a food more than cheeseburgers, and thus I’d say pizza is one of the only foods undefeated against cheeseburgers head-to-head
- According to some extensive research I conducted, burger places have some pretty famous “alumni” who’ve worked there before heading off to stardom — folks like Jay Leno, Rachel McAdams, Sharon Stone, Shania Twain, James Franco, Andie MacDowell, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Jeff Bezos all worked at McDonald’s for a spell at one time or another, while Jennifer Hudson and Queen Latifah both spent time at Burger King and Eva Longoria had a stint at Wendy’s. Pink actually worked at both McDonald’s AND Wendy’s, and then we’ve got everybody’s favorite big-hat wearer, Pharrell, who worked at Mickey D’s on three separate occasions and was fired by them — you guessed it — on three separate occasions. I guess some people just go pro in things other than burgers!
Okay, now let’s double-click on these bad boys and take a look at the best burger names of all-time amongst burger chain menu items — there are probably tons of good ones I am forgetting or missing, but either way it’s always fun to see just how good we are as a society when it comes to naming cheeseburgers funny things.
Some truly elite ones on here, with my personal favorites including the Baconator, Big Buford, The Most American Thickburger, Whopper Jr.,, Mush ‘N Cheese, Classic Smash, and of course, “Dave’s Single” because it sounds like one of Dave’s buddies approaching a girl at a bar to tell them that they have a friend over there who thinks she’s cute, and he’s single!!!
“my friend over there thinks you’re cute” pic.twitter.com/DDiXdV58f9— The Notorious J.O.V. (@whotfisjovana) September 23, 2023
Anyway, shout-out to these great burger monikers — making me hungry just by reading them!
Now, let’s take a look at what other insights we can glean about burgers — namely, we’re going to power rank some burger chain mascots and also list out all the fictional burgers I can think of that I would very much like to devour during this off week.
I think this slide really says it all, but I’ll add a little commentary.
When it comes to burger mascots, I think Mayor McCheese is in his own tier all by himself. Just an incredible idea for a mascot by a chain that’s got like 20 total mascots for some reason — way to go, Ray Kroc.
Hamburglar is also elite, as are the adorable Scoopie and Curdis from Culver’s. And I am both in love with and terrified of the Fry Guys (McDonald’s) and The King (Burger King), who used to have some amazing TV commercials back in the day.
I can appreciate Whataguy (Whataburger) and Rooty the Great Root Bear (A&W, amazing name), as well as Happy Star from Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr. I am mostly indifferent to Jollibee from Jollibee and Grimace from McDonald’s (although he’s fun to make fun of), and Big Boy and Wendy are just boring ones, with Big Boy only beating Wendy by virtue of being so heavily featured in Austin Powers.
Finally, in the category of “This Mascot Gives Me Nightmares,” you’ve got Jack from Jack in the Box, Krystal Kritters from Krystal (might actually be the best choice if you’re making a horror movie about one of these mascots snapping and torturing/murdering a bunch of people), and of course the GOAT creepy burger mascot, Ronald McDonald. Nightmare fuel.
When it comes to fictional burgers, I am sure we all have several we can think of from random TV shows and movies that just looked delicious and we desperately wanted to try — similar to how people talk about wanting to eat the pizza from A Goofy Movie, etc.
Here’s my personal list, and I’d love for you all to hit the comments and let me know what other fictional burgers looked so good you REALLY wish you could try them. Because I’m positive there are hundreds more and all this burger talk has me wanting to fantasize about eating some truly amazing fictional burgers.
- the burger the chef makes in The Menu — this burger is actual food porn
- the “Krabby Patty” and also “Pretty Patties” from the Krusty Krab/Spongebob in Spongebob Squarepants — no one can resist Spongebob’s burgers, not even King Neptune...and Heinz’s failed promo with different colors of ketchup never turned me off of brightly colored foods, so I wanna give those colorful burgers a try
- the “Krusty Burger” from Krusty Burger in The Simpsons — probably the lowest quality burger on this list, but it sounded so artery-cloggingly good
- Any burger from Bob’s Burgers — love a great pun, and you know Bob makes a fantastic burger
- the “Greasy Lard Bomb” from Paunch Burger in Parks and Recreation. No explanation necessary.
- the “Good Burger” from Good Burger in All That/Good Burger — mostly for the ordering experience, but I bet it’s good too
- the “Honker Burger” in Doug — this whole restaurant just felt like a great vibe. I wanna sit there with Doug, Patty, Skeeter, and Porkchop and just down a bunch of burgers while Roger Klotz annoys us from across the room
- a burger from the Alamo Freeze in Friday Night Lights (made by Matt Saracen, or by Smash Williams if it’s when he’s started actually working hard) — I just want to support those two, I love them so much and want them to succeed in life
- Dylan’s burger from I Think You Should Leave that Professor Yurabay houses — GIMME THAT.
I’m jokin’, I’m jokin’.
Alright folks, we’re running short on time here, so I’m going to skip ahead now to the final slide so we can quickly discuss What’s Important Now on Notre Dame’s bye week.
I know you can read these in detail later today and this week, so I’m just going to very quickly summarize each point of the most important things for all of us to focus on this week:
1. “Make sure you have enough fat in your burger blend. Whether you are making a standard ground beef burger, or getting fancy with chicken, turkey, fish or vegetables, the single best thing to do to up your burger game is to ensure that you have enough fat in your burger mix. The high heat cooking needs fat to melt into your burger or you will end up with dry, rubbery, bland burgers every time. Your basic ratio should always include 20% fat. And yes, even if you intend to serve your burger covered in gooey cheese and slathered with mayo, exterior fat cannot save the texture of a burger with too little fat within. If you are using ground beef, you can buy 80/20 at the store. For other proteins, add grated butter or shortening or ground bacon or other source of solid fat into the blend to make up the difference.”
2. “Press a dimple into the center of the patties. Ever wonder why your perfectly formed patty came off the grill looking more like a meatball? Simple. While the burgers cook, the heat shrinks the exterior, while steam and juices cause the center to swell. The result is that domed puffy burger that no longer provides a flat surface upon which to pile toppings. To avoid this shaping issue, you just want the center of your burger to be slightly less thick than the exterior dimension. Press down in the center of the parry to create a crater that is about 1/3 deeper than the rest of your burger. This tip does not apply to burgers designed to be cooked straight from frozen (which are most often docked when shaped to address this issue), or for smash burgers, for obvious reasons.”
3. “Season your burgers before you cook them. No matter how much stuff goes on top, you have one shot to get the seasoning right on your patty and that is before you cook it. If your patties are store-bought, season them well on both sides with salt and pepper before cooking. If you are forming your own patties, you can season the blend as you mix and shape them. If possible, season at least 30 minutes (and up to to two hours) before cooking to let that seasoning work its way into the patty. There’s no skipping this step: Unseasoned burgers will always taste bland.”
4. “Let your burgers chill before cooking. Burgers are a high-heat, direct-heat item to cook, so there is little room for error. You want a great crusty sear on the outside, but some control over the cooking temperature, especially if you like yours rare to medium-rare. Chilling the patties before cooking gives you a bit more control over getting that exterior well-browned and crisp before the interior goes too far, and help the patties hold their shape. Give them at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to chill, but a few hours or an overnight rest is ideal. Then you can brown them well and still get a juicy pink center. If your burgers are less than 3/4-inch thick, consider freezing them for 30 minutes before cooking.”
5. “Grill them to just the right temperature. How long to cook a burger can feel like a mystery when you are staring at a hot grill, with friends and family all around you, waiting for their burgers. While you want to cook chicken, turkey, and veggie burgers all the way through, burgers made with beef, fish, or pork, require more temperature management. Here are some guidelines; use a meat thermometer for the most accurate grilling.
- Medium-rare (warm, red center): 6 minutes, or 130°F to 135°F
- Medium (warm, pink center): 7 to 8 minutes, or 140°F to 145°F
- Medium-well (hot, slightly pink center): 9 minutes, or 150°F to 155°F
- Well done (brown all the way through): 10 minutes, or 160°F to 165°F”
6. REST UP Y’ALL — we’ve still got ‘Duzzi Dawg, Dabo, Dave (Clawson), and that dumb tree left to destroy before bowl season. Get healthy, reenergize, and find a way to make this offense work again.
Sweet, so does anyone have any questions about the above or anything else we’ve covered today?
Well, as always, I will be sending out the link to this deck after the call, and encourage you all to review it in more detail on your own time and let me know if you have any questions, comments, or concerns.
Otherwise, have an excellent Bye Week, enjoy a cheeseburger or 10, and see you guys later!
*clicks “End Call” button*
I wonder what time I’ll be able to order a greasy bag of a burger and way too many fries from Five Guys this morning — I gotta satisfy this burger craving and do my part during this bye week!
See you guys later, gonna go strategize my burger toppings for the next few hours...