Cooking regularly on game day, I have made countless dishes that incorporate beer and even when I don’t, I highly endorse throwing a few back during preparation. And with college football kicking off this week, I decided that my regular beer can burger needed an upgrade, something worthy of the title, Kickoff Classic.

So I experimented a little and Frankensteined the following mad creation. Not for the faint of heart, this version includes bacon, pulled pork and mac and cheese, making your standard burger look like pee wee football. Oh and as a bonus, you can drink the entire beer you use while watching the games.

forming patties

The Meat: When it comes to a good hamburger, you want a combination of beef that is 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat. This will yield the best results when cooking to temperatures between medium rare and medium well. You may choose to grind your own with a combination of beef cuts like brisket and short ribs, or simply purchase the meat pre-ground at those percentages. For the pulled pork, use a combination of pork belly and pork butt.

The Method: These burgers are huge, so you’ll want to use an indirect cooking method—otherwise the outside will burn before the inside is cooked to temperature. So this time around I used my Weber. Preheat the entire grill and then turn off two of the three burners in order to create a temperature around 300 degrees. Once you are at this temperature, cook the burgers low and slow on the side of the grill with the burners turned off.

The Meal: It is doubtful that you will be able to eat this like a traditional burger on a bun, but that is how I suggest you start. Serve it on a nice Kaiser roll with a sliced tomato and some lettuce. Be prepared to switch to a fork and knife, since it might be too big to continuously pick up and shovel into your mouth.

adding pulled pork

Beer Can Pulled Pork Macaroni and Cheese Burger
Makes four insanely large burgers.

4 pounds of ground beef 80/20
1 full beer can
8 slices of thick-cut smoked bacon
1 Beefsteak Tomato sliced thick
Half a head of Romaine Lettuce, Sliced
4 Kaiser rolls
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon pepper
2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons of lemon juice
1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs

For the pulled pork and macaroni and cheese recipes visit my website,, or use your own favorite methods.

mac and pork

The Burger:

  1. Prepare your pulled pork.
  2. Combine ground beef, salt, pepper, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce and mix until homogenous.
  3. Form the beef into four softball-sized balls.
  4. Insert the beer can into the center of the ball to hollow out the middle and then use your hands to mold the beef around the beer can.
  5. With the beer can still in the middle, wrap two slices of bacon around the burger, connect with toothpicks and remove the can.
  6. Light the grill by turning all burners to high. When grill has heated, leave one burner on and turn off the others, letting the grill come down to around 300 degrees.
  7. Place the burgers on the side of the grill that is not lit.
  8. While burgers cook, make your macaroni and cheese.
  9. A half hour in, fill the inside of the burger with pulled pork and mac and cheese and top with panko breadcrumbs. Continue cooking about 30 more minutes for a medium burger.
  10. Remove the burgers from the grill and serve on a sliced Kaiser roll topped with the tomato and lettuce. Feel free to add a bit of BBQ sauce to the mix.
  11. Drink the beer from the can used to form the burgers.

parting shot

Editor’s note: We tried Rich’s recipe this past weekend—it’s mouthwateringly delicious!—and recommend dialing the first two numbers of 911 before digging in. You know, just in case.

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