Turn to locals for top Super Bowl party food

Super Bowl Sunday is all about food, especially when your favorite team isn’t playing. If you are partisan fan, Philly cheese steak or KC BBQ are probably on the menu, but for disappointed Bengals fans, why not support your community by serving local food.

Early February is the perfect time to grill your main course for Super Bowl Sunday. So what if it’s colder here than in Arizona for the Super Bowl?

Recipes for grilling KC-style ribs suggest overnight preparation and 4 hours of cooking time. If that’s on your menu, you don’t need advice from me.

For Bengals fans, I recommend locally sourced hamburgers and hot dogs for Super Bowl grilling. We are fortunate to have access to ground beef from several local farmers. I get ground beef from Jana and Donald Harmon’s Caraway Farm at Oxford’s Farmers Market or from Cindy and Dan Kramer’s Brookside Family Farm at MOON Co-op Grocery.

Locally raised beef doesn’t taste like the stuff served at fast-food restaurants. The difference starts with what the animals consumed while ranging freely around the farm. As a result, the local beef is more full-flavored with a “beefier” taste.

The key to cooking a juicy full-flavored hamburger with locally sourced ground beef is minimal handling. I divide a one-pound package into six lumps, sprinkle some Dijon mustard over each, and shape into six thick loosely packed burgers. On the grill, I cook the hamburgers relatively slowly.

When I went off to college, my mother gave me a book titled “After Hamburgers, What?” I found it recently in Amazon, authored by Ruth Horowitz and Gertrude Khuner. The level of detail – perfect when I was 18 – would fill an entire newspaper page.

If you prefer sausages, you can still source locally. Jennifer Bayne’s 7 Wonders Farm has several varieties of pork- and chicken-based sausages every week at Oxford’s Farmers Market, even through the winter. Smoking Goose, over in Indiana, supplies a wide variety of sausages and other meats to MOON Co-op.

A good hamburger or hot dog is wasted on a poor quality roll. Again, local options are available, even in winter, at both Oxford’s Farmers Market and MOON Co-op. Sixteen Bricks, which was recently named Ohio’s best bakery by Food & Wood, has been MOON Co-op’s principal source of bread and rolls for several years.

Oxford’s Farmers Market has welcomed a new baker this winter, Miami grad Sasha Symon’s Birch Creek Bakery, based in Loveland. The Farmers Market’s popular baker James Bigham is not at the winter market, but will hopefully return in the summer.

Start the evening with local chips and dip. Dayton folks are mourning the closure of local chip-maker Mikesells, but Cincinnati has a fine artisan chip-maker called Hen of the Woods. MOON Co-op has a half-dozen varieties of Hen of the Woods.

Finally, dip the chips in local hummus from Hamilton’s Chickpea Chicks or Local Folks Foods salsa from over in Indiana.

MOON Co-op is Oxford’s consumer-owned full-service grocery, featuring natural, local, organic, sustainable, and Earth-friendly products. The store, located at 516 S. Locust St. in Oxford, is open to the public every day. See it online at www.mooncoop.coop.

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