Sports fans, get your game on. Football is back! You can put on your favorite fan gear, watch a game, and have some sense of normalcy amidst the no longer new normal. CenturyLink field may be eerily empty, but when the Seahawks play, the 12th Man noise is so loud you can hear it statewide. Bring some fan food to your homegate with a big, juicy sports bar burger you can build at home. 

Inspired by Quality Athletic’s Seattle Burger, this 12th Man Burger is a no nonsense size beef patty loudly topped with a dollop of smoked jalapeño cream cheese nestled between sliced pepper jack and cheddar cheese. I benched the brat but added bacon, plus guacamole, smoky aioli, and the requisite drizzle of barbecue sauce. It’s a serious, man-sized burger. 

Toss the jalapeños on the smoker with the bacon. Do more than enough bacon so you’ll have some for breakfast during the week. Roast 2 heads of garlic. You will use some for this recipe and have extra for making the best garlic bread. Measure your mayonnaise in tablespoons. The measuring spoon fits in the mayonnaise bottle and you will save yourself from having to wash the 1/4 cup measure. Bring your sliced cheese to room temp. It will melt more quickly and help form a pocket around the colder cream cheese, thus preventing burger run off. You will need a pick to hold all of this together, but but don’t just use a naked stick. Give it some visual flare with a pickle spear and a half strip of bacon. Open up a cold one, and cheer on!

12th Man Burger

jalapeño cream cheese 

  • 7 cloves roasted garlic 
  • 1 8 ounce package cream cheese, softened
  • 4 slices smoked bacon, diced fine
  • 2 smoked jalapeños, seeded and diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

smoky garlic aioli 

  • 7 cloves roasted garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder


  • 6 1/3 lb. hamburger patties 
  • 6 slices cheddar cheese 
  • 6 slices pepper jack cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
  • 1 cup guacamole
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • red onion, sliced thin
  • leaf lettuce – torn into 12 pieces
  • 9 slices bacon, divided 
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced thin
  • 2 dill pickle spears, sliced into thirds 

for jalapeño cream cheese:

Squeeze garlic cloves into a small bowl and smash with a fork until smooth. Add cream cheese, bacon, and jalapeños – one ingredient at a time, stirring well between each addition. Add pepper jack and cheddar cheese a little at a time, stirring to incorporate between each addition. Transfer to refrigerator. 

for smoky garlic aioli:

Squeeze garlic cloves into a small bowl and smash with a fork until smooth. Add mayonnaise and mix to combine. Stir in lemon juice, then add smoked paprika and chili powder, sprinkling over surface a little at a time and then stirring until thoroughly mixed.

for burgers:

Grill hamburgers to your liking. Shortly after flipping, top with 1 slice of cheddar cheese. Add 1 tablespoon of jalapeño cream cheese to center of cheese; top with pepper jack slice. Remove burgers to a plate and keep warm. Spread garlic aioli over cut side of each half of bun. Spread guacamole over bottom bun, then place burger on top. Drizzle with barbecue sauce. Add red onion, leaf lettuce, 1 slice of bacon torn in half, and 1 tomato slice to burger, then top with bun. Thread dill pickle spear and 1/2 slice bacon onto a large pick, then secure hamburger with pick. 

Donna Ferguson

Donna Ferguson

I love to cook, garden, and write about all the things in Vancouver and the Northwest that make life so great.

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