Tennessee Burger with Bourbon and BBQ Sauce

It’s funny that right after I participated in the recipe swap using alcohol, I found this recipe. I had an incredibly hard time choosing something for that swap because I apparently don’t cook with as much alcohol as I thought.

I guess that’s good or bad depending on how you look at it. However, if I was ever to participate in another alcohol-related swap, I would definitely choose these burgers.

Many many moons ago, I participated in a food swap with some of my internet friends. The point was to share local foods/ingredients with someone not from your area. I received a cool basket of stuff from Kentucky, which included a tiny bottle of bourbon. I had no idea what to do with it, and it hung out in my pantry for ages.

Then I saw this recipe and realized it probably used exactly the amount of bourbon the bottle. Win!

Tennessee Burger with Bourbon and BBQ Sauce
Source: Cooking Light, July 2013
Servings: 6
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    • 6 slices bacon
    • 1 tsp. olive oil
    • 2 large red onions, thinly sliced
    • 5 tbsp. bourbon, divided
    • 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
    • 1/2 cup ketchup
    • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
    • 2 tsp. honey
    • 2 tsp. hot sauce
    • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1/4 tsp. paprika
    • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
    • 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
    • salt and pepper
    • 6 burger buns
    • 6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
    • 6 thick tomato slices

1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat. Transfer to a paper towel to absorb grease.
2. Add the oil to the skillet and then onions. Cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until onions are browned and very tender. Stir in 3 tbsp. of bourbon, the balsamic vinegar and a pinch of salt.
3. Continue cooking for 2 more minutes or until the liquid is absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining bourbon and ketchup through onion powder. Stir together with a whisk and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat and let simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened.
5. Heat a grill to high heat.
6. Chop 3/4 cup of the onion mixture into fine pieces. Combine with the ground beef, salt and pepper and form into 6 patties.
7. Grill patties for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked through. Add cheese until melted.
8. Assemble sandwich by spreading BBQ sauce on both sides of the bun. Place the burger on the bottom bun, followed by the tomato slice, bacon and a generous heap of the remaining onions.

I was slightly hesitant to use 5 tablespoons of bourbon in a recipe because I thought the flavor would be really strong. I honestly didn’t taste any liquor in this at all. I thought the burgers were absolutely delicious and even used the remaining BBQ sauce to dip my fries in.

I asked Tom what he thought and he said he wasn’t a fan of the burger because he could taste the alcohol in it. I have no idea how he tasted it so strongly and I didn’t taste it at all.

The original recipe didn’t call for cheese, but I don’t believe in burgers sans cheese and a sharp cheddar seemed like the best option for this. Smoked gouda would probably also be delicious with this. 

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  1. Oh wow… that burger looks so good! Love the use of bourbon in the recipe!

  2. Love this! I've actually got them on our menu plan for tomorrow and after seeing yours I can't wait to make them!

  3. Awesome burger. We're having a Burger Bash to get ready for the 4th. Come on over with this.


    Wishes for tasty dishes,
    Linda @Tumbleweed Contessa

  4. I have a really big crush on you right now. I want EVERYTHING you make.

  5. aww, thank you. 🙂

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