Bourbon Barbecue Bacon Burgers

November 16, 2011 – 5:54 pm

These outstanding burgers are inspired by one at Red Robin. The combination of flavors works very well together, though my version was not as good as the original. The subtle sweetness of the bourbon permeates the beef, caramelized onions, and barbecue sauce. The brioche roll keeps things on the subtly sweet side as well.

For more detailed instructions on caramelizing onions, see Elise’s excellent post on Simply Recipes.

Bourbon Barbecue Bacon Burgers
Serves 4

For the caramelized onions:
1 large onion
1 tsp olive oil
1 pinch kosher salt
2 tbsp bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black)

For the barbecue sauce:
1/2 cup sweet barbecue sauce (I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original barbecue sauce)
2 tbsp bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

For the burgers:
1 lb 80% lean ground beef
2 tbsp bourbon (I used Jim Beam Black)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp kosher salt

For the toppings:
4 slices center cut bacon
2 slices swiss cheese

For serving:
2 brioche rolls
2 tsp butter
1 clove garlic

For the caramelized onions:
Slice the root and tip ends off of the onion and remove the peel. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and set cut side down on the cutting board. Slice each half lengthwise into thin strips.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat until it shimmers and is just short of smoking. Add the onions and stir to coat them in the oil. Turn the heat down to medium low and let the onions cook undisturbed for 4-5 minutes, then stir and cook for another 4-5 minutes undisturbed. Add a little water if necessary to keep the onions from sticking as your stir them. Add the salt and continue to cook, stirring once every 4-5 minutes for another 30 to 45 minutes, adding a splash of water here and there as necessary. Add the bourbon and stir to coat well and deglaze the pan. Cook for a final 5 minutes to reduce the bourbon into a coating on the onions. Set the onions aside and cover to keep warm.

For the barbecue sauce:
Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan, and simmer over medium low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Cover and keep warm.

For the bacon:
Spread the bacon out on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 30-45 minutes or until nice and crisp. Remove the bacon to a paper towel lined plate and cover to keep warm.

For the burgers:
Mix together the ground beef, bourbon, salt, and pepper gently with your fingers until just combined well. Form the meat into four patties, about 1/2 inch thick, and set aside to rest for a couple minutes.

Grill the burgers for 5-10 minutes per side over a medium hot grill or grill pan, until cooked through to your desired doneness.

For the buns:
Melt the butter in a small bowl. Finely mince the garlic and stir it into the butter.

Split the brioche rolls, spread lightly with the garlic butter, and toast.

To assemble:
Take a toasted roll and bacon on the bottom, then place a burger on top of the bacon. Brush a little of the barbecue sauce onto the patty. Top with a slice of cheese, onions, more of the barbecue sauce, and the top of the roll.

Serve warm.

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