Super Bowl recipe: The Big Game calls for short ribs (and cheese)

— -- This story appears in ESPN The Magazine's February 6 Super Bowl Preview Issue. Subscribe today!



EDDIE JACKSON KNOWS the pairing of football and food like few others. A former defensive back at Arkansas, Jackson spent four years in the NFL before retiring to Houston. He now hosts the Food Network's Kids BBQ Championship. With Super Bowl LI coming to town, we asked Jackson for his thoughts on NRG Stadium's Texas Short Rib Grilled Cheese.

What is the dish's relationship with Houston?
Houston is a very meat-forward city, and short rib resonates with a lot of Houstonians because it's such a beefy meat. And it doesn't get much more Southern than just a good grilled cheese sandwich. Putting those two together really says a lot about Houston.

Does it pair well with a particular beer?
I've found that coffee-flavored stouts go really well with it because it's warm and it has coffee melts in it. On the other side, you can find you a good citrus IPA because it's very, very light and the short rib could be a little heavy.

What makes this a good game-day food?
This is very, very simple. Whatever you're eating has to be able to be held with one hand because that other hand needs to be free for a beverage, a cold beer. You can't go around double-handed. Grilled cheese, you know -- it's just a taste of Americana.

Braised beef short ribs

1 lb. beef short ribs
1 tsp. kosher salt
? tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. flour
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 dark beer (preferably Houston's Saint Arnold)
16 oz. beef stock

Season short ribs with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour.
Place Dutch oven on medium heat. Add oil, and sear short ribs on each side 5 to 6 minutes. Set aside.
Place onion and garlic in same pot and cook 5 minutes, stirring continuously.
Add short ribs, beer and beef stock, cover and let simmer for 2? hours.
Remove and let cool. Pull and shred beef.

Pimento cheese

16 oz. cheddar cheese
4 oz. cream cheese
4 oz. mayonnaise
? tsp. cayenne pepper
4 oz. pimento, diced
1 jalape?o, seeded and minced

Place cheddar cheese and all remaining ingredients in a mixer.
Mix until all ingredients are combined, about 3 minutes.

For each sandwich

4 oz. short ribs
1 tbsp. butter, melted
Fried pickles (on side)

Spread melted butter on one side of each slice of bread.
Heat flat grill to medium.
Place pimento spread on nonbuttered side of both slices.
Place pulled short rib on top of pimento spread.
Close sandwich.
Place on grill for about 2 minutes on each side.
Makes 4 sandwiches.