Posted February 2, 2011

Chef Dennis Marron’s Super Bowl Snacks


Football’s biggest day is almost here. Who are you rooting for? Packers? Steelers? Peelers? (We coined that for you ambivalent viewers.)

Whatever the case is, you can score by serving great snacks during the game.  Isn’t the Super Bowl all about food, anyway?

Try making homemade soft pretzels with beer cheese – a creation of Chef Dennis Marron of Jackson 20 and The Grille at Morrison House. We promise the odds will be in your favor.

Homemade Soft Pretzels


1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
1 tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 package active dry yeast
22 oz. all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
2 oz. unsalted butter, melted
Vegetable oil, for pan
8 cups water
16 oz. Butternuts, Heinnieweisse (or any weissebeir)
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
Pretzel salt

1. Combine the water, sugar, and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top. Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.

2. Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.

3. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl, and oil it well with vegetable oil. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line two half-sheet pans with parchment paper and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.

5. Bring the eight cups of water, 16 ounces of beer, and baking soda to a rolling boil in an eight-quart saucepan or roasting pan.

6. In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into eight equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends. Cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U to form the shape of a pretzel. Place onto the parchment-lined half sheet pan.

7. Place the pretzels into the boiling water, one by one, for 30 seconds. Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half-sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture, and sprinkle with the pretzel salt.

8. Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least five minutes before serving.

Old Kentucky Beer Cheese


2 lbs. sharp cheddar cheese
2 cloves garlic, smashed
3 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. dry mustard
Tabasco and salt to taste
½ bottle flavorful lager, or more as necessary

1. Cut cheese into small cubes when cold and sit them out so they raise to room temperature.

2. Place in food processor and blend until smooth. Add garlic, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, and Tabasco. Blend well.

3. Add beer gradually until it is a firm, spreadable consistency. Stir in salt. Place into 1-2”-deep ramekins and store in refrigerator.

4. Warm in microwave for 1 minute. Serve with pretzels.

Enjoy! And go Packers! We mean Steelers. Oh, never mind.

Taste Chef Marron’s cuisine at Jackson 20 (480 King St., Alexandria, Virginia; 703-842-2790 or or The Grille at Morrison House (116 S. Alfred St., Alexandria, Virginia; 703-838-8000 or

Three cheers for Chef Dennis Marron!


Photo of Chef Marron by Darko Zagar


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