Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

Whenever we go to Red Robin, my favorite dish to get is the Whiskey River BBQ Burger. It’s got bacon, it’s got onion straws, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese and mayo. It’s not light. It’s not healthy. It’s a treat that I don’t get very often, but when I do, I enjoy every. Single. Solitary. Bite. I created a home Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburger that is slightly lighter, because I can control the ingredients (like the quality and fat content of the meat and bacon, amount of mayo, etc.)

I normally use 90/10 ground beef in my day to day cooking. I buy it at Costco in 1 pound logs and it’s perfect for tacos, meat sauce, enchiladas, casseroles, etc. However, when I make burgers, I prefer Angus beef. I usually buy the 85/15, which isn’t as lean as the 90/10, but it’s still fairly lean, but has a little bit more flavor than the 90/10 does.

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

I start by cooking some center cut bacon in a skillet. I always use the center cut bacon. It’s a lot leaner than regular bacon, but in my opinion, has much better flavor than turkey bacon and it doesn’t leave a lot of grease in the pan, but still has that wonderful {real} bacon taste.

To make the burgers, I mix the beef with an egg, some bread crumbs, and some grill seasoning. I keep them very simple as far as the burger mixture goes. There are so many great toppings that the burgers don’t need to have a lot going on in them.

I make a lot of turkey burgers and usually use whole wheat buns, but since Red Robin uses sesame seed buns, so do I when I make this particular burger. I like them nice and toasted, so I lightly butter them and cook them face down on a large grill pan until they turn golden brown.

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

When they are done browning, they are nice and crispy and hold up well to the juicy burgers.

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

Look at that beautiful, golden color. They only take a couple of minutes, but those couple of minutes make a huge difference in the finished dish.

The way my dad always made bbq burgers is he would baste them in the sauce before placing them on the grill, and they taste so much better that way than just putting sauce on them after they have finished cooking. The sauce penetrates its way through the meat, allowing that flavor to seep through and enrich the flavor.

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

My sauce of choice is Trader Joe’s bold & smoky Kansas City style barbecue sauce. I prefer a smoky sauce to a sweet sauce, but of course, use any sauce you like. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, I am sorry. I feel for you. We didn’t have one here for our first few years in Colorado and I barely survived.

TJs BBQ Sauce

For toppings, I add some light mayo (Hellman’s is the best IMO), beefsteak tomatoes, romaine, sharp cheddar cheese and some crispy fried onions. Since this is a simple dish that you cook out on the grill, I take the easy route and use salad toppings for the onions.

French Fried Onions

I can find these in the produce section at my grocery store. They also make a great salad topping (hello, Captain Obvious.)

Let me just say, these Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers are ah-mazing! They are a great summertime treat paired with a glass of iced tea or an ice cold beer sitting out on the deck laughing with family or friends. I hope you will make them and take a photo of your beautiful creations and tag #ketchumkitchen on Social Media so that I can see what you came up with!

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

Yield: 4

Western Barbecue Bacon Cheeseburgers

Ingredients

  • 1 pound angus ground beef (85% lean is what I use)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup regular bread crumbs
  • 1 tbl McCormick grill seasoning
  • 6 slices center cut bacon
  • 4 jumbo sesame seed buns
  • Butter (just enough to lightly coat the buns)
  • 4 slices Sharp cheddar cheese
  • Crispy onion topping or onion rings
  • Light mayo to taste
  • 1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
  • Romaine leaves
  • Barbecue sauce of your choice

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, cook the bacon slices until crisp.
  • In a bowl, combine the beef, egg, bread crumbs and grill seasoning and combine with your hands. Shape into evenly sized round burger patties and coat both sides with barbeque sauce. Cook on the grill until they reach desired doneness. Top with a slice of cheese and allow the cheese to melt, then remove from the grill.
  • Meanwhile, lightly coat both sizes of the buns with butter and place on a dry grill pan and toast until they are golden brown.
  • Assemble the burgers - lightly coat each bun with mayo, add one tomato slice, a small handful of crispy onions, 1.5 slices of bacon, the cheeseburger, and two leaves of Romaine lettuce.
  • Grab a napkin - these are going to be messy, but oh, so good!
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