Barbecue Bacon Burgers

[Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Note: For best results, use slab bacon, rind removed, cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices. For a bigger burger, top with sliced avocado and fried pork rinds.

About the author: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt is the Chief Creative Officer of Serious Eats where he likes to explore the science of home cooking in his weekly column The Food Lab. You can follow him at @thefoodlab on Twitter, or at The Food Lab on Facebook.

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Barbecue Bacon Burgers

About This Recipe

Yield:serves 4
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
Special equipment:grill
This recipe appears in: Serious Entertaining: Backyard Burger Bash Burger Topping Week: Barbecue Bacon Burgers


  • 2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 slices thick-cut slab bacon, split in half crosswise (see note above)
  • 1 onion, cut into 1/4-inch-thick rings
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 4 slices cheddar or American cheese
  • 4 sturdy burger buns


  1. 1

    Divide meat into four even piles and shape into burger patties about 1/2-inch wider than burger buns. Season generously with salt and pepper and set aside.

  2. 2

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over half of coal grate. Alternatively, set half the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.

  3. 3

    Place bacon and onions in between hot and cool sides of grill and cook, turning occasionally, until surface of bacon is bubbling but not yet crisp and browned, and onions are lightly softened, about 15 minutes total.

  4. 4

    Place burgers directly over hot side of grill and cook until well charred, about 2 minutes. Flip patties and brush with sauce. Cook on second side until well charred, about 2 minutes longer, brushing with sauce occasionally. Flip burgers again, transfer to cooler side of grill, brush with more syrup, and continue to cook, brushing with sauce occasionally, until patty registers 125°F to 130°F on an instant read thermometer for medium rare, about 5 minutes total, or 135°F to 140°F for medium, about 6 minutes total. Top each burger patty with 1 slice cheese, then transfer to a large plate and tent with aluminum foil.

  5. 5

    Brush bacon with barbecue sauce and place directly over hot side of grill, sauce-side down. Brush top with barbecue sauce. Cook until well charred, about 1 minute. Flip and cook until second side is well charred, about 1 minute longer. Top each burger patty with three pieces bacon, then top each with a couple of slices of onion.

  6. 6

    Toast buns directly over hot side of grill until browned, about 30 seconds.

  7. 7

    Place bottom buns on a cutting board. Transfer patty/bacon/onions to bottom bun. Brush top bun with barbecue sauce and close sandwich. Serve.


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