At last, a concept, a sandwich and an execution worth noting, culinarily speaking, from the Carolina Panthers:
The Hog Molly.
For those emerging from caves, the team’s general manager, Dave Gettleman, delighted the universe last April by declaring he wanted “hog mollies”: big players, typically offensive and defensive linemen, which he considers necessary to have on a successful NFL team.
Never mind that the term actually refers to a fish (also known, pleasantly, as hog suckers) mostly commonly found in warm, shallow streams. Fans, and the media, loved it.
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Tom Crocker, general manager for Delaware North Sportservice, the food service company that does concessions at Bank of America Stadium, said he talked over the idea of a Hog Molly sandwich with John Morey, executive chef for Sportservice at the stadium.
They took it to Gettleman. He loved it, too – but had a couple specific thoughts, Crocker said.
“It needs to drip down your arm” was the first one. They’d considered a Hog Molly Hot Dog and a Hog Molly Burger, but they’re not too drippy – and who can get excited about just a massive version of something else?
So: 8 ounces of house-smoked (over pecan wood) beef brisket, with a handful of french-fried onions, lots of creamy slaw, barbecue sauce, sliced pickled jalapeno peppers and four slices of bacon, on a Kaiser roll. (That was Gettleman’s other thought: It should be on bread that doesn’t go mushy.)
That combination will drip down your arm, all right, as it should for $12.
Throw down another $7 at one of the three portable vending areas where they’ll be sold (all on the 500 level, by the new escalator decks) and you can get the Whoopie Pie Hog Molly: essentially an ice cream sandwich using two 5-inch rounds of chocolate cake with a stack of ice cream, a crunchy chocolate layer, Oreo crumbs and a peanut-butter-marshmallow whoopie-pie-like filling.
Has anyone actually finished one, Chef? “I’ve seen guys eat three-quarters of one. The bigger guys in the kitchen
“Is it too big? Probably. But it’s fun.”
Yes. It is. Plan to split it, and plan to do that by passing it around. Quickly, since you can see it gets kind of melty.
Crocker says Gettleman has demanded sales figures on the sandwich after each game. “I had to remind him we haven’t started serving it yet.” I get it: Here’s something that’s got a cool name, and one that isn’t tied to a player that might get hurt, traded or gone. Smart.
And best of all? It’s good.
Sure, the bacon was limp even for the media demo (just simulating gametime!), but otherwise, the flavors work well together: some punch, some crunch, a bit of lushness, a touch of sweet. Nicely balanced.
Let’s hope the team is, too, Dave.