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~ One Slider for a Meal? MEAT "The Thurmanator" ~

6a0120a8551282970b017ee4722750970dI admit to having neglected posting any hamburger recipes here on Kitchen Encounters.  This has happened for no other reason than every time I think about posting one of my favorite burger creations, due to a foodie duty, holiday, or a request from a friend or reader,  some other recipe gets put on the top of my "to post" pile.  Today, thanks to a suggestion from a real-deal foodie friend, the hamburger is getting its own day today here on KE.

ImagesThis coming Saturday Penn State is playing Ohio State here in Happy Valley's Beaver Stadium.  Whenever our tailgate is hosting guests from the opposing team, we like to serve one dish that represents their school or the area where they live. Except for those little "Buckeye Balls", which they sell at Walmart (chocolate-dipped peanut butter candies), I had no grand ideas.

6a00e398274e398833017d3c825d84970c-320wiThankfully, I had the sense to ask one of my foodie Facebook friends, Jill Moberg, who just happens to live in Ohio, and, just happens to be an Ohio State fan.  In less than five minutes, she told me about an Ohio State fan hangout in Columbus, The Thurman Cafe, which is rated in the top 5 burger joints in Ohio, most notably for:  

The Thurmanator

a super-sized burger that was featured on an episode of Man vs. Food on The Travel Channel!

It consists of two 3/4 pound beef patties under a half pound of ham and bacon, covered in mozzarella and American cheeses, lettuce, tomato, sauteed mushrooms and onions, pickle slices, pepper slices and mayonnaise.  It was created for the bodybuilders who come to Columbus each year to compete in the Arnold (Schwarzenegger) Fitness Classic!

Woman vs. Food = Thurmanator Sliders

MANageable sandwiches I can tackle for tailgate.

For 12 Thurmanator sliders:

IMG_38903  pounds ground beef (90/10), or, your favorite mixture (Note:  This allows for 2, 2-ounce patties per slider.)

1  pound (8-10 slices) thick-sliced bacon, fried crisp and each slice cut into 3 shorter strips

12  ounces thinly-sliced white button mushroom caps

12  ounces chopped yellow or sweet onion

2  tablespoons butter, for frying mushrooms and onions

2  tablespoons olive oil, for frying mushrooms and onions

1 teaspoon each:  sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper + 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, for seasoning mushrooms and onions

12 slices yellow American cheese

12  slices mozzarella cheese

1  dozen slider-sized rolls

IMG_3948For the condiments:

1/2-3/4  cup mayonnaise

1 1/2  cups chiffonade of baby greens 

12 small tomato slices (Note: No garden tomatoes?  Use small Campari tomatoes.)

24 dill pickle slices

24 banana pepper slices, or any pickled peppers you like

To prep the meat, fry the bacon & saute the 'shrooms 'n onions:

IMG_3884Step 1.  Line 2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans with parchment paper. Using a kitchen scale as a measure, divide the meat into 2-ounce portions.  Form the portions of meat into 3" round discs, placing each disc on the prepared pans as you work.  For even size and cooking, I like to pat each portion into a 3" round cookie cutter to make the patties.  Cover with plastic and refrigerate until you're ready to broil, grill or pan-fry the burgers.

IMG_3840~ Step 2.  Place one pound of thick-sliced bacon (8-10 slices), slightly overlapping is fine, in a disposable aluminum broiler pan (the kind with the corrugated bottom).  Place on center rack of preheated 375 degree oven, 20-25 minutes, or until the bacon is golden brown, crispy and desired degree of doneness is reached.  There is no reason to turn the bacon over. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain and cool.  Cut each bacon slice into thirds.

IMG_3873~ Step 3.  Chop the onions and slice the mushroom caps as directed.  In a 12" skillet melt the butter into the olive oil over low heat.  Add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper, adjust heat to medium-high and saute until cooked through, almost no moisture remains in the pan, and, they are turning nicely brown, but not completely caramelized, about 20 minutes.  Set aside.

IMG_3857~ Step 4.  This is an optional step, but when it comes to slider-sized sandwiches, it is a great Tip from Mel:

Use the 3" round cookie cutter to customize the cheese to fit the tops of the patties.

This is going to prevent flare-ups from excess cheese.  You can thank me later.

As for the excess cheese, chop it up and throw it in a food storage bag. Use it to top a few snack pizzas after the game!

It's time to cook the burgers (& I'm grilling 'em today).

IMG_3905~ Step 1.  Place them on the grill grids over indirect heat and cook them about 3 1/2-4 minutes per side...


... until golden brown on both sides, turning them only once.






~ Step 2.  Put the cheese on top. Top half of the burgers with yellow American cheese and the other half with mozzarella cheese...





... turn the heat off on the grill, close the lid and wait about a minute for the cheeses to melt.

Transfer to a large plate or platter.

It's time to assemble the sliders.

IMG_3960~ Step 1.  Give the bottom of each slider roll a slather of mayonnaise. In the following order, add two tablespoons of lettuce chiffonade, two dill pickle slices and two banana peppers to each one.




~ Step 2.  In the following order add, a mozzarella topped burger, 2 strips of bacon, an American cheese topped burger, about 2 tablesoons of 'shroom mixture and a tomato slice.

Secure each sandwich with a 3"-4" long sandwich pick or wooden skewer.  Pop the top off of your favorite beer and enjoy the game.

One slider for a meal?  You betcha! 

IMG_3999One Slider for a Meal?  MEAT "The Thurmanator":  Recipe yields 12 hearty slider sandwiches.

Special Equipment List:  2, 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" baking pans; parchment paper; kitchen scale; 3"-round cookie cutter; plastic wrap; 11 3/4" x 8 1/2" x 1 1/4" disposable aluminum pan w/corrugated bottom; paper towels; cutting board; chef's knife; 12" nonstick skillet; 3"-4" long sandwich picks or wooden skewers

IMG_3952Cook's Note:  The original recipe called for this sandwich to get topped with deli-style ham.  After a taste test in Melanie's Kitchen, the womenfolk unanimously decided we liked our sliders without the ham.  That being said, you menfolk out there have a right to ham if you want it.  Plan on needing 12-ounces, or, 1-ounce per slider.  

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2012)


Ohio is well represented here! Go Bucks!

I agree Jill. I mentioned it (above) in the beginning of blog post. "Terminator" - "Thurmanator"... it's a perfect name in direct association with the name of the cafe & the Terminator himself!!!

P.S. Thurman's has been a part of the German Village since 1942 ... I think they have dibs on the name :) Go Bucks!

If I may chime in Mel ... Thurmanator's burger name came about from the name of the cafe, but also the burger was originally made to feed the competitors of the Arnold (Schwarzenegger, ie., Terminator) bodybuilding competition, held every Feb/March in Columbus, Ohio and was later feed also to OSU in-training football players. It has recently been added to the public menu. What else would Thurman's Cafe call such a beast?

Thanks for that info and feedback Scotty! He was indeed a great football player. That being said, since this sandwich recipe is a version of The Thurman Cafe's, in Columbus Ohio, I can only assume they either have the same last name as him; they are distant relatives of his, or; they are paying tribute to him because they are huge fans of his. They also have other items on the menu that have the "Thurman"-theme-name. In any case, it is the name of THEIR establishment and past that, they get to name their food accordingly. The lesson: "We are all in this food world together."

With apologies, as a proud son of Western New York I must respectfully object to the use of the term "Thuminator" to refer to a chopped beef patty. The Thurminator refers then, now and always to Hall of Fame Running Back Thurman Thomas, No. 34 for the Buffalo Bills 1988-2000, February 27, 2001. Here endeth the lesson.

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