Football food has come a long way from your standard burgers, hot dogs and pizza.
“It’s a drawn-out process,” said Dan Schiferl, the Aramark Executive Chef at Paul Brown Stadium when discussing how his staff decides what food to offer Cincinnati Bengals fans. “Basically, we sit down with the general manager, the executive sous-chef, among others, and throw out ideas. We look at the prior year and see what was successful, what wasn’t. We look at trends, what was popular in other stadiums, and then we do tastings, delete some ideas, and keep others.”
After studying this “crafting” of stadium fare, the chefs of Paul Brown Stadium have unfurled a new line of concessions for the 2017 season.
Here are the six must-try items if you plan on coming to watch the Bengals this year.
TRIPLE D DOG AND THE SONORAN FOOT LONG DOG
Both of these offerings feature all beef dogs by Eisenberg, a Chicago-based sausage company that specializes in diverse styles and ingredients, from Chicago-style to Black Angus sirloin.
For toppings, the Triple D Dog carries baked beans, bacon crumbles and BBQ chips. The Sonoran Foot Long Dog is topped with bacon crumbles as well, but also pinto beans, mustard, mayo, salsa verde, queso fresco, and diced onions, tomatoes and jalapenos.
Schiferl said that both hot dogs will always be served fresh.
“People don’t want a hot dog that was pre-bagged three hours ago,” he said. “We don’t do that. We take it right off the grill, put it on the bun, and hand it to the customer.”
BRUNCHIN’ PORK TENDERLOIN WAFFLE
It’s exactly what it sounds like. A pork tenderloin sandwiched between two Belgian waffles. Smoky bacon, baby kale, and maple and yogurt sauce provide additional flavor.
“Breakfast is a big thing to have when you have a 1 p.m. Sunday game,” Schiferl said. “That’s why we have an all-day brunch.”
SPICY BAVARIAN BURGER
A true hybrid that pays homage to Cincinnati’s German roots, this standard one-third pound burger is topped with sliced ham, American cheese, and sriracha mustard (sriracha is a hot sauce that originated in Thailand). The burger is placed on a pretzel bun to give it that German twist.
“People still want ballpark fare, they just want it to have a little better quality,” Schiferl said. “That means taking something that has been served in stadiums for years and years, like burgers, and putting different kinds of toppings on it.”
TACO TOT AND LOADED TATOR TOT
Don’t let the name fool you. The Taco Tot is loaded, too. While loaded fries is a signature appetizer at many American comfort food restaurants, “the trend is tater tots over French Fries,” Schiferl pointed out.
The Taco Tot is loaded with pico de gallo, chorizo crumbles, jalapenos and queso blanco. The Loaded Tator Tot is more American in style, loaded with nacho cheese, bacon crumbles, sour cream and green onions.