Graybill takes football to the kitchen

The Husker marinated flank steak tacos, on the left, went head-to-head with Miami Hurricane alligator taco in last week’s Food Fight Challenge at Nebraska Brewing Company.

There’s a big food fight going on at the Nebraska Brewing Company.

Thanks to head chef Adam Graybill and his unique creations, a Gridiron Food Fight is taking place during each Nebraska football game throughout the season at the 7474 Towne Center Parkway location in Papillion.

Graybill creates a special dish each game day that has two very distinct items. One that features a Nebraska staple and another dish that will include an item that will have a regional flavor of the team Nebraska is playing that week.

“Husker football is amazing, but it gets challenging throughout the season to come up with different food specials for the game,” said Kim Kavulak, vice president of Nebraska Brewing Company. “Adam and I sat down one day and we started looking at the schedule and I wondered if he could come up with something each week for a Nebraska dish and an opponents dish. It’s really something we can have a lot of fun with.

“We basically google different states and try to find out what’s popular in that area, then create a menu item from that.”

Customers who order that week’s special are asked to vote on which item they preferred.

Opening week saw the Husker smoked Reuben sandwich edge the BYU pastrami slider. Nebraska items went to 2-0 the following week as the Kimmel Orchard apple turnovers earned a narrow victory over the South Alabama peach cobbler.

“I think people have a hard time going against the Nebraska dish, but we’ve got some coming up that are going to be a really close to call,” Kavulak said.

That first close call proved to be Saturday when the Miami Hurricane alligator taco posted a 17-10 victory over the Husker marinated flank steak tacos.

While the first two weeks were fairly staple items for Graybill, he branched out over the weekend when his flank steak tacos took on the alligator tacos.

“Alligator is something a little new to me, but it allows me to go into a very unique dish,” he said.

Graybill said all of the creations are original and don’t currently exist on the menu.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, so these are items I’ve cooked before,” he said. “It gives me a chance to see what I think goes best together. If it’s something people really enjoy, we would consider putting it on the regular menu.

“I don’t have an ego about anything I make. All I care about is that the people who come in here like what I’m making.”

This weekend features Husker sweet corn chowder tackling Southern Mississippi jambalaya.

While the menu is planned out for the year, match-ups are revealed three weeks ahead of time. The lineups can be found by visiting the Facebook page at facebook.com/nebraskabrewingcompany or via Twitter at twitter.com/nebrewingco.

Graybill has planned 12 battles as well as potential battles for the B1G championship game and a bowl game.

“It’s been challenging, but it’s the most fun I’ve had,” Graybill said. “I love doing this and it’s why I’m a chef.”

Kavulak and Graybill are hoping to take their challenge a step further next season. Their plan is for Graybill to challenge chefs from opposing states of teams Nebraska is playing that week.

“It give me something to work for next year,” Graybill said.

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