Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburgers
Welcome to our special Memorial Day Weekend edition of What’s Cooking Accountable. Today’s recipe comes from Jennifer Sims, Senior Operations Manager in Florida. These juicy cheeseburgers are topped with homemade bacon jam with a boozy kick from smooth, smoky bourbon. Perfect on just about all grilled meats! The bacon jam is made in one skillet and takes less than 30 minutes.
“This Bourbon Bacon Cheeseburger recipe is one of those that I love to bring to potlucks and BBQs.” Are you ready to have your taste buds blown? This bourbon bacon jam takes less than 30 minutes to make in a skillet and is PERFECT for spreading on top of a juicy cheeseburger, grilled chicken breast, seared pork chop… pretty much anything!”
Since we’re getting into some warm weather, most of you are probably grilling out or at least thinking about a great big juicy burger! Okay, maybe it’s just me… but I’ve definitely been thinking about burgers lately.
One thing I’m also pretty much always in the mood for is bacon. And bourbon lol… so I thought why not combine those two and slather it all over a juicy burger? I give you, my favorite burger, EVER!!
For the burgers, I kept it simple with no egg, no breadcrumbs, and minimal flavors. I really wanted the flavor of the meat to shine through, plus leaving room on those tastebuds for the velvety white American cheese and of course, the bacon jam!
Let’s get the best part here… the bacon jam. This stuff… OMG. Hands down, the best topping I’ve ever had on a burger!! There are a lot of bacon jam recipes out there, but mine takes less than 30 minutes, is made in one skillet, and of course, has bourbon in it.
You could leave the bourbon out of it if you’d like, and just substitute water… but if you don’t have any restrictions when it comes to alcohol, you simply have to try it with the bourbon. It gives the bacon jam a deep, smoky, velvety flavor!
HOW TO MAKE BOURBON BACON CHEESEBURGERS
FOR THE JAM:
- Saute bacon pieces in a skillet. I cook them over MED heat and stir occasionally. This takes me about 8-12 minutes. If there’s a lot of grease, drain at least half of it off.
- Add vinegar, sugar, bourbon, water, and spices. Stir and bring this mixture to a boil, then simmer, stirring occasionally, about 10-15 minutes. The mixture will be thick and syrupy.
- Use or refrigerate in an airtight container.
FOR THE CHEESEBURGERS:
- Toast buns in skillet. This is optional but HIGHLY recommended. Heat skillet over MED-HIGH heat with a small drizzle of oil. Add buns cut side down and cook until golden brown. Turn off the heat and set aside.
- Add burger ingredients to a large bowl. For the onion, peel, and grate with a box grater (or hand grater). I like to use the fine side of the grater so you end up with verrrrry small pieces of onion, almost like an onion mush plus onion juice. This adds so much moisture and flavor.
- Mix and assemble burgers. I use my hands to really make sure all ingredients are combined. Form into patties (for 1/2 lb burgers – make 4 / for 1/3 lb burgers – make 6 / for 1/4 lb burgers – make 8).
- Cook burgers as desired. If the weather is nice, we grill them, but if it’s raining, I cook them in a skillet over MED heat for about 5-6 minutes per side, only flipping burgers once.
- Add cheese and steam. The last minute of cooking, add the cheese slices and cover the pan.
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
SPICY – I kept this bacon jam relatively mild with just a pinch of cayenne, but if you like things hot, hot, hot.. feel free to add as much cayenne as you like.
GARLIC – feel free to add some minced garlic to the cheeseburgers if you like things extra garlicky.
COFFEE – if you’re a coffee-lover, try substituting 3 Tbsp of the water in the bacon jam for brewed coffee. This would be fabulous on top of my coffee-rubbed burger!
OTHER MEATS – if you’d like to make a cheeseburger using other ground meat, you absolutely can, but I haven’t tested to see if the amount of “moist-makers” (gotta love the Friends quote!), aka the onion and the cream, are enough for other meats that have varying fat percentages.
NON-ALCOHOLIC – nearly all the alcohol is cooked out of this bacon jam, but if you’d prefer to omit the alcohol entirely, substitute an equal amount of water, or brewed coffee!
ONE OR THE OTHER – just because I paired this cheeseburger with this bacon jam, that doesn’t mean you can’t have this bacon jam on something else, a different burger, etc. And same goes for the cheeseburger – it’s a great base recipe that really allows the flavor of the meat to shine.
MAKING BOURBON BACON CHEESEBURGERS AHEAD OF TIME
- I think a burger tastes best when freshly made and cooked, but you can absolutely assemble these burger patties a day or so ahead of time.
- Just add them to a resealable plastic bag (with wax paper between them if you want to stack 2 patties on top of each other – this will prevent sticking), and refrigerate.
- The bacon jam is totally fine to make up to 4 weeks ahead of time, so no worries there!
Leftover cheeseburgers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 3-4 days.
Bacon jam can be frozen for up to 2-3 months.
Cooked burgers can be frozen (without the cheese) for up to 4 months. Raw burgers can be assembled and frozen (in a single layer is best) for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
Glass Jars – you can store this bacon jam in an airtight container, but I get a lot of questions about what jars I used here. These Weck jars are one of my favorites!
Box Grater – I like this one because of the container that catches the things you’re grating (plus a lid!), and a removable zester!