Credit: © Dennis Prescott

Topped with blue cheese, caramelized onions, and maple bacon, this burger is a total badass. A little smoky, a little spicy, and a little sweet. Welcome to burger heaven.

Smoky BBQ Blue Cheese Burgers with Bourbon Caramelized Onions and Maple Bacon

Makes 4 burgers


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground chuck
  • 2 tablespoons bbq sauce
  • 1 garlic clove, grated on a microplane
  • 1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  • 8 strips thick-cut smoked bacon
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 large red onions, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • Salt & pepper

To build

  • 4 brioche burger buns
  • 100 grams blue cheese
  • 1 cup arugula
  • 1 large, ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup prepared mayo

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a baking tray with parchment paper, and assemble the bacon strips in a single layer. Baste the bacon with maple syrup and bake, turning halfway through, for 25 - 30 minutes, until crispy. Transfer to a plate in a single layer to candy.

While the bacon is cooking, prepare the onions. Heat a large saucepan over medium-heat, and melt the butter and olive oil together. When melted, add the onions to the pan, toss together with the butter, and season with a pinch of salt. Cover and cook, stirring a few times, for 20 minutes. Pour in the bourbon, and scrape the delicious bits from the bottom of the pan into the onions. Transfer to a dish and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bbq sauce, smoked paprika, garlic, and shallots, and mix well. Divide into four portions and shape into burger patties, slightly larger than the width of your brioche buns. Place a thumbprint in the center of each patty to help stop them shrinking. Season each side of the patties with salt and pepper.

Peel and mash the avocado in a bowl with a fork. Set aside.

Heat a large pan over medium-heat and melt the butter. When melted, add the burgers and fry for 4 - 5 minutes per side. When there is about 1 minute of cooking time remaining, top each burger with blue cheese and cover to melt.

Build the burgers with the mashed avocado, a burger patty, 2 slices of bacon, caramelized onions, a handful of arugula, and 1 tablespoon of mayo.