Smoked Whiskey Burgers


Smoked Whiskey Burgers


Makes 4 burgers


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 3-4 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • ¼ c. Devils River Bourbon Whiskey
  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 8 slices smoked gouda
  • Hamburger buns
  • Devils River Bourbon BBQ Sauce (or other BBQ sauce of your choice)
    • 1 T. vegetable oil
    • 1 clove of garlic, minced
    • 1 small yellow onion, diced
    • ¼ c. minced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
    • 1 c. ketchup
    • 1/3 c. molasses
    • 1/3 c. light brown sugar
    • ¼ c. apple cider vinegar
    • 2 t. lemon juice
    • 2 T. Devils River Bourbon Whiskey
    • 1 T. Worcestershire sauce


Prep the burger patties:

  • If you’re making your own hamburger patties, divide your ground beef into equal half-pound portions. Season with salt and pepper. Being careful not to work the meat too much with your hands, shape into round patties. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until you’re ready to make your burgers.

Make the bourbon BBQ sauce (if you’re using your own sauce, skip this step):

  • Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the remaining sauce ingredients and stir until mixed. Allow to simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce has started to thicken. Once it’s thickened to your liking, remove from heat and allow to cool while you caramelize the onions.

Make the caramelized onions:

  • Properly caramelizing onions takes a bit of time, but trust me, it’s worth it! Melt the butter in a large skillet (I recommend busting out the cast iron for this one!) over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add all of the onions and gently stir until evenly coated.
  • Continue to cook the onions in the skillet, stirring them and scraping up any bits that stick to the bottom of the pan every 5-10 minutes.
  • Exact timing can vary depending on the quantity and type of your onions, but plan on this process taking 35-45 minutes. Around the 20-minute mark, the onions will be very soft and starting show signs of caramelization. If they seem to be browning too quickly, turn the heat down just a bit.
  • After about 30 minutes, the onions should be nicely browning and getting jammy in texture.
  • After 35-40 minutes, the onions should be very caramelized in appearance and in smell. When you’re happy with their color and flavor, deglaze the pan by pouring in the bourbon and scraping up all the bits from the bottom of the skillet with a spatula. Season with a pinch of salt, and set aside in a medium bowl until you’re ready to assemble your burgers.

Assemble your Smoked Whiskey Burgers:

  • By now your bourbon BBQ sauce may still be warm but not hot—at this point, I like to pour it into a food processor or blender to fully puree the sauce.
  • With your cast iron still on medium heat, cook the bacon until it’s good and crispy. Set aside on a paper towel or napkin that will absorb any extra grease. Drain the excess bacon grease from the skillet, and turn the heat up to medium-high.
  • When the skillet’s ready, carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes.
  • Flip the patties, and place two slices of smoked gouda on each one. Cook on the other side for another 5 minutes, or until the center of the patty reaches 160 degrees and the cheese has started to melt.
  • Place the cooked patties on buns, and generously top each one with the crispy bacon, whiskey-caramelized onions, and bourbon BBQ sauce. Enjoy!

Created in partnership with The Whimsical Cook.

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