En Fuego Eats: Making Sensational Stadium Food With Chef Sam Marvin

Gabe Zaldivar

MLB returns, bringing with it the best baseball has to offer. Sadly, it may be some time yet before we are stuffing our faces with official ballpark food.

As major leaguers prepare to head off to summer training (that doesn’t cease sounding odd), we get you yet another round of stadium food you can prepare in your own kitchen.

This week we are joined by chef Sam Marvin from Echo & Rig in Las Vegas and Sacramento as well as Pluck in San Diego.

Chef Marvin will soon gussy up these meals.

Chili Cheese Crunch Dog (Citi Field) –

Devour the delicious chili cheese crunch dog from Citi Field.
Photo Credit: Aramark

There is no better way to enjoy Pete Alonso dingers than by chowing down on a chili dog with some crunch to it.

Ingredients: Nathan’s foot-long hot dog, beef chili, cheddar cheese, Fritos corn chips and green onions, on a potato roll

The I’m Kind of a Drive-Thru Person Method:

If you stocked up for the pandemic properly, you already have hot dogs, bread, cans of chili and bags of Fritos.

Now if you can’t combine those and make a home version of this then I’m surprised you managed to access the internet.

Level Up:

Chef Marvin is a fan of grilling the dog, and you should be too.

“Your chili should be made from scratch and even in a slow cooker (find a recipe you like) super easy,” Marvin said. “Freeze whatever you don’t use for your hot dog; It is great out of the freezer for another future use.”

For cheese, now’s the perfect time to buy that huge block of sharp cheddar you’ve had your eye on, “it is much fresher than pre-grated cheddar that has dried out.”

Make sure to slice your onions thinly and crumble the Fritos in big pieces. And toast your potato roll like a big boy.

Lastly, call off the rest of the day, because there is no way you’re doing anything productive after this meal.

Meatloaf Sandwich (PPG Paints Arena) –

Meatloaf Sandwich- PPG Paints
Photo Credit:  Aramark

Whether you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins fan or just a fan of meat in loaf form, we have a treasure for you.

Ingredients: Meatloaf, smoked provolone, fried jalapeños, on a sesame bun. Served with chips.

The I’m Kind of a Drive-Thru Person Method:

Get yourself about two pounds of ground beef and a couple of eggs. Throw that in a bowl and get it ready for some manhandling.

In a pan, add a couple of cups of onion and sauté with a teaspoon of fresh herbs. Whatever you have on hand is fine, many of us are still self-isolating, after all. Drop into that a teaspoon of pepper and two teaspoons of salt. Drop that along with a tablespoon of tomato paste and some dabs of Worcestershire sauce into your meat bowl.

Now smile because your day now officially features a meat bowl.

Mix it all together and form a loaf. Hell, form a donut if you want. It’s your world.

Bake at 350 degrees F for an hour. Halfway through, you can take the loaf out and put some ketchup on it.

Now you have a meatloaf, the perfect vehicle for whatever melted cheese you have on hand, as well as any jalapeños you might have in that handy glass jar lurking in the fridge.

Level Up:

Chef Marvin is here to jazz up my otherwise ordinary gut bomb. First, he recommends that the meatloaf grind should be a triumvirate of short rib, brisket, and chuck and should have a nice 85/15 ratio of lean meat to fat, giving you optimal succulence.

He also recommends getting as much flavor as possible into the loaf, which means onions, egg, herbs, and extra seasoning.

As for the jalapeños, slice them thin, flour lightly and then pan fry. And make sure you toast the bun and only lightly melt the cheese.

And for the side, Marvin said, “I would not serve with chips as it's already pretty heavy, so I would serve with a fruit like a Honey Crisp apple which would cool the jalapeño heat, go great with the smoked provolone, and cut some of the fat from the beef.”

A Moment In The Kitchen with Chef Sam Marvin

(Editor’s Note: Interview was conducted before restaurants began re-opening.)

En Fuego: Let's start by daydreaming a little. What's the first thing you are going to do when life gets back to some recognizable level of normal?

Chef Sam Marvin: Go on vacation with the family! We would love to visit Maui or somewhere tropical.

EF: What are some things you miss about sports or life in general as we continue to self-isolate?

SM: I really miss my son's 14U baseball activities. I'm missing the team, the practices, the games, the lessons, and the culture in general.

EF: Is it food, a TV show, a moment of weakness and a bag of Doritos: What has helped melt away the stress during this time?

SM: Cooking! I make dinner every night for the family (wife and two teenage boys). Tonight, it is musubi and sushi rolls, tomorrow is homemade pasta, Friday is deep-dish pizza, and last night was a steak pie. It definitely helps me melt away the stress.

EF: Talk a little about the work you are doing at Echo & Rig. As Las Vegas goes dark, your establishment is one of the few to continue amid the pandemic.

SM: We have a retail butcher shop attached to our steakhouse so we are able to continue to provide meats—beef, lamb, pork, chicken, etc.—to the community, especially now. We have added some side grab and go products to accompany your meat, vegetables, salads, soups, pastas, mac and cheese, etc. This lets us continue to employ a few people as well as servicing the community in need of groceries and good food.

EF: For home chefs trying to turn canned food and fridge staples into comfort food, do you have any advice on stay-at-home best practices to jazz up meals?

SM: Sauté some yellow onions, get them nicely caramelized and keep them in the fridge. Add them to a piece of chicken, in a breakfast burrito, in pasta, on top of a burger or hot dog, add them to roasted potatoes or even in a grilled cheese, etc.

So many uses.

Make a red sauce with canned tomatoes, olive oil and fresh garlic. Sauté the garlic in the olive oil, when golden, add the canned tomatoes, cook for 5 minutes, then blend in a blender.

This is now good for a week at least—use as a pasta sauce, use as a base on your pizza, use it to bake a piece of chicken, pour over some grilled asparagus, etc.

EF: What's one meal that is bringing joy for you at home?

SM: Homemade pizza.

I make dough three times a week, the kids want pizza every day. Different toppings from clams to butternut squash. Not on the same pie, though. (He laughs.)

I make different types of doughs for different pies and styles like Detroit, New York, Napolitano, Chicago, and more. Detroit and Napolitano are the favorites.

EF: Is there anything else you want to say in regards to work you might be doing at the moment amid the coronavirus pandemic? Or any other parting thoughts?

SM: I am working on a new strategy for the future 24/7, as many of my counterparts are. We used to pay rent and try and get as many people into the restaurant as possible, because that maximizes the hours and the space. That type of model is over, so I've had to be flexible in the way I think about the business and how we can continue to survive moving forward.