2012-12-19_18-13-32_586Marvin Long died yesterday. Many of you will not know who that is, but anyone who went to DePauw University will. He was the founder of Marvin’s and creator of the GCB (Garlic Cheeseburger).

Like many DePauw alumns, the GCB was a staple of my diet for four years. My wife, and I are such devoted fans of the GCB that she surprised me and my groomsmen (mostly DePauw alumn) by having a plate of GCBs delivered to our dressing room on our wedding day.

Since graduating I have been trying to recreate the GCB in our kitchen. One day, I got it down (Atleast, we think so). It’s not that difficult, but there are a couple of important steps to getting it just right. I’ve been meaning to post instructions for awhile, so other DePauw alumns can get nostalgic. But it seems particularly appropriate to share it now. Each time you make it, do so in remembrance of a great man who gave so much to his community.

And if you live in Greencastle, don’t make this…walk yourself down to Marvin’s and order the real thing.



  1. Ground Sirloin
    (1 lb will get you five patties)
    Shell out the extra pennies a pound the Sirloin, it’s worth it.
  2. American Cheese
    I recommend slices of Land O’ Lakes Yellow Sharp American ordered from the deli. Don’t get the stuff that comes wrapped individually in plastic. It is an abomination.
  3. Good Bakery Hoagie Roll
    This is pretty important. Don’t go with ordinary hamburger buns that you buy in the bread aisle. Walk yourself over to the Bakery section of the grocery and find some good fresh baked hoagie rolls. Sandwich rolls will suffice if they don’t have hoagie rolls, but the fresh baked, bakery bread is something you should not sacrifice on.
  4. Butter (softened)
  5. Garlic Salt
    (we’re doing this the Old School way, none of that parmesean/herb topping was introduced sometime after 2001)


Prep the Rolls with Butter

2012-12-19_17-13-34_389Before you start anything cut the rolls and smear softened butter top as best you can. You’ll want it to warm to room temperature while you do everything else. It’s okay if it’s a little cold, you’ll back later to smear it. This is important. The garlic goodness won’t be as pronounced without sufficient butter coverage.






Grill the Meat:

2012-12-19_17-50-38_95I grill these on a Foreman Grill for 4 minutes, but whatever your method the following is important: Cook it to about medium or medium well, even if you like a well-done burger. The magic of a good GCB is that you will bake these in the oven for awhile, which cooks up the meat even more. Cook it too much now, and you risk a dry, tough burger.

Final Prep

  1. 2012-12-19_18-00-28_700Put two grilled patties on the hoagie roll.
  2. Top each with slice of cheese.
  3. Smear that butter, again…good. Good coverage here is important.
  4. Sprinkle buttered top generously with garlic salt
    You can always wipe away the excess with your finger, just like you did in college when Marvin’s over did it.






Bake: 350 for 7-10 minutes

2012-12-19_18-01-15_112Quality control from Marvin’s tended to vary on this one, and people were evenly divided on this. Some liked the buns a little overdone. If you’re in that camp, go 10 minutes. Some liked them so that the thinnest layer of the top of the bun was a just little crispy (or as I like to call – “perfect”). Go seven minutes.

But the reality here is, check it at 6, then 7, then 8 until you hit your desired level of done-ness.

Cheese Sauce

2012-12-19_18-03-51_741Remember dipping your GCB into the Marvin’s Cheese Sauce that came with the Fries? Wouldn’t it be great if you had some? Fortunately, the cheese you’re using awesome for melting into cheese sauce, and it’s easy to whip up while your GCBs are baking.

Rip up a few slices. Pour in about a tablespoon of milk (see right).

After a minute or two in the microwave, pull it out and stir it. It will look like this (bottom left), and you may be worried that you used too much milk. You may have, but give it another minute or two in the microwave, and stir again before deciding to add more cheese. You’ll probably end up with something like this (bottom right), which is perfect. Let it cool for a bit, and if it is still too soup, rip up another slice, microwave for a minute, and then stir.



 Bonus: Fries.

GCBs aren’t complete without fries. Do whatever you want for fries, but here’s what I do since I don’t have a good fryer. I peel a Russet Potato (per person) and cut it in 1/2 slices. Keeping the slices together, flip the potato and cut in 1/2 slices again. That will give you perfectly cut fries.

Fry as many as you can in about 1/4 of oil for on medium heat for about 3 minutes on both sides or until some of them start to turn golden brown. Stick those in the toaster oven (170 degrees) to stay warm and repeat until you have as many fries as you want. I fry mine up before making the GCBs and keep the warm in the toaster oven the entire time I’m making the GCBs. They’ll stay fresh and crisp, but will have just the right amount of sogginess – just like they’ve been sitting in a bag in the back of some delivery guy’s ’86 Buick.




That’s it. Enjoy!

One Response to “How to Make a GCB”

  1. Allison

    Thanks for sharing. Heard about Marvin’s passing and found this. Lots of good memories.

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