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Staff Writer
Email J.W.

J.W.'s Articles

Pub & Grub
Meat Eaters Only

The Pub & Grub articles feature your typical, “end of the bar” squatter named Norm. In Norm, you have a guy who many of you know—some of you more than others. Norm is the kind of guy who is always thinking of ways to improve things that don’t need to be improved-like tongs (unless you happen to think picking up six beer brats at a time is useful).

He takes particular pride in making irrational trades simply because he thinks it is bad luck to start two players with the same last name (he kept Andre instead of Chad Johnson last season). But no one in the league brings more to the table when it comes to football grub. Since everyone down at Norm’s favorite watering hole peppers him with questions on the topic, I have decided to transcribe some of Stormin’ Norm’s tasty pigskin fare with you here at

Before we get started, there is a little something you need to know when it comes to Norm’s recipes. He doesn’t moonlight as a fancy chef on Friday nights and has no official culinary training whatsoever. When it comes to ingredients and cooking times, the amounts are simply “a good starting point” because different people have different tastes. Finally, he expects those who use his recipes to modify them as needed. As Norm likes to put it, “Half the fun in cooking is figuring out which half of the recipe to change.”

If you want to let Norm know how much you love his recipes feel free to write me and I’ll pass it along. Of course, if you have some issues along the way and have a question let me know and I will try to get an answer for you as quickly as possible. Send emails here.

“Sausage Spirals”

Pass these spirals around to kickoff your Sunday feast! Sausage Spirals are always a great appetizer for your football gatherings. You have to make them ahead of time, as they need some time to chill.

Head over to the dairy section and find the canned dinner rolls. The ones that “pop!” open with a peel of the label are what you’ll need. Grab a couple of cans of the crescent rolls-make sure they are Crescent, as it won’t work with other types. Then find the sausage in the same area and grab a pound (buy three or more if it is a big party), Norm swears he is related to Jimmy Dean, but he hasn’t introduced him to me yet.

Open up the rolls and spread out the pre-made dough. You will see the dotted lines for the triangles, but you want rectangles, not triangles. So pull them apart and overlay them so they make a rectangle, then push them together again so it is one piece of dough. Repeat this for the rest of the can so you end up with one long rectangle for each can.

The next step is to take the sausage and spread it on top of the dough with a knife. One package of sausage should be enough for both cans of dough. Once that is done, you simply roll them up into logs. Cover each log in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for about an hour or so. You can freeze them if you’d like and use them whenever you want as well; just let them defrost a bit beforehand.

Once they are chilled (or defrosted) and you are ready to cook them up, preheat your oven or toaster oven to 325 degrees. Take the logs out of the plastic wrap and lay them on a cutting board. Take a knife and cut them into 1-inch slices. If you didn’t let them chill long enough it will be hard to cut them. Place the slices on a cookie sheet and then into the oven when finished. Time varies with different ovens so keep a watchful eye on them during your first batch, but Norm says 12 minutes in most ovens does the trick. Just like with any dinner rolls, you are looking for golden brown color. Let them cool for a few minutes before serving, but make sure you get a few for yourself otherwise there might not be any left as they go fast!

“The O-Line Special” – Big Beef Sandwiches

Football is a game of inches and you’ll want to fight for every extra inch of these sandwiches once you’ve tasted them. One of Norm’s classics makes this a quick and easy way to satisfy all sizes of hunger.

Norm uses the ole crock pot for this one. You can use the oven just the same, but when Norm isn’t grilling he is slow cooking.

First, go out and get yourself a nice tight boneless roast such as a rump roast. If you are only having a couple of friends over you don’t need a huge one, but Norm loves leftovers for Monday Night Football so he buys the biggest one he can get most of the time. Make sure you know the size of your crock pot. You need to have enough room for the roast, some liquid and some peppers and onions.

Norm prefers getting the liquid, or Au jus, ready first. You have a few options here. If you are short on time and ingredients, just pick up a few pre-made au jus packets and follow the directions on the back or some Lipton’s French Onion soup mix and do the same. If you have some time you can make it yourself. Norm takes two bouillon packets (or two cubes if you don’t have packets) and mixes them in 1-2 cups of water. The amount of water will depend on the size of your roast and the size of your pot; you can always add more water!

Next, he adds a splash of gravy master (or similar product) and a few splashes of Worcester sauce. Whisk this together until all the bouillon is mixed into the liquid and pour it into the crock pot. If you like sweet or hot peppers, onions or anything else with your beef sandwiches, add them into the pot now as well. Lay the roast into the crock pot to determine if you need more or less liquid and make the necessary adjustments. Norm says the liquid should be about a third to half way up the side of the roast. If there is little room between the roast and the pot, then the liquid should be closer to half way up the roast. Conversely, with more room the liquid should only cover the bottom third of the roast at most.

Now take your roast out of its little bath and place it on a cutting board. Cut a few slits in the top of the roast and slide in cloves of fresh garlic. Don’t dig, but get them deep enough so the entire clove is unseen. Next, take your Montreal seasoning out and give the roast an ample rub. Get the sides, edges, top and bottom covered, and then place it into the crock pot again.

At this point it is ready to start cooking. You can cover it and place it in the fridge if you prefer to start it later or you can cover it, turn on the crock pot and let it work its magic. Norm prefers to set it to the lowest setting and let it go for around 4-6 hours. You can cook quicker if you set it to medium, but you might have to turn it down if the liquid starts boiling. Cooking it longer will cause the beef to break down even more leaving you with bits and chunks rather than slices.

After 2-3 hours of cooking, Norm takes the roast out and slices it up. Then he puts the slices back into the pot to finish cooking. Serve on rolls with your choice of cheese and you will have a better taste in you mouth than finding out the RB you left on your bench just scored his second TD of the day!

These two Sunday Specials should keep you in good stead until next month when Norm serves up more of his fare at FF Today.