These BBQ Burgers are an amazingly juicy explosion of sweet, tangy, spicy, smokey, crispy deliciousness all at the same time. They’re smothered in homemade BBQ sauce, sharp cheddar, salty bacon, crispy lettuce, juicy tomatoes and crispy onion strings. Of course, all of the toppings are customizable to make it YOUR best burger recipe!
BBQ Burgers have to be my most ordered burger. The way the sweet and tangy BBQ sauce is balanced by the oozing sharp cheddar, salty, crispy bacon and crunchy onion strings – it’s a playground of flavor and texture that I can’t get enough of. And now you can make them anytime you want because this burger recipe is every bit as delectable as your favorite restaurant.
So, what makes this the best burger? It comes down to two main components 1) juiciness and 2) flavor. This BBQ burger recipe utilizes the steakhouse burger technique of a panade – or torn bread mixed with liquid. This might sound funny, but I guarantee it is spectacular. In a side by side comparison of a burger cooked with panade and a burger cooked without panade – the burger with panade will always win.
Now to flavor. Our BBQ Burgers are infused with garlic, chili powder, oregano, pepper-and the kicker – barbecue sauce! BBQ sauce gets blended right into the meat mixture so they’re not only exploding with flavor but extra tender as well.
Finish off the epic BBQ Burgers with more BBQ sauce, gooey cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion strings (they deserve they’re very own post) all sandwiched in between warm, toasted buns, and we achieve a burger that is somehow exponentially more delicious than the sum of its parts. Just like the best burger should be.
- 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 lean ground beef chuck
- 1 piece white sandwich bread crust removed and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup homemade BBQ Sauce or store-bought
- 3 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tsp EACH chili powder, dried oregano, salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 4 hamburger buns
- BBQ Sauce
- 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 8 slices thick cut bacon
- tomato slices
- 1 yellow onion thinly sliced
- 2 cups buttermilk see DIY below
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp EACH salt and pepper
- vegetable or canola oil for frying
Add bread, 1/3 cup BBQ sauce, garlic and all seasonings to a large bowl. Mash together with a fork to form a chunky paste. Add the ground beef and gently mix everything together with your hands just until combined- don’t overmix!
Divide the mixture into 4 equal sections. Form each section into a loose, big ball. Flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is about 1-inch larger than your buns. Create a shallow depression in the middle of each patty so the outer ½-inch edges are almost twice as thick as the center (see photos in post).
Time permitting, cover patties tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes (cold patties stay intact better), while you cook your bacon, and prep your toppings. If you're making fried onion strings, make them at this point (see instructions below). DON'T bring patties to room temperature before cooking.
Leave 2 tablespoons bacon drippings behind in your cast iron skillet or heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the patties and cook until brown and slightly charred on one side, about 3-4 minutes.
Flip burgers and reduce heat to medium. Spread each patty with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce and cover. Cook an addition 2-5 minutes, depending on how rare you like your burger, adding cheese the last 1-2 minutes and covering. Remove to a plate and tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
Grease grill and heat over medium-high heat. Once hot, add patties and cover. Cook until brown and slightly charred on one side, about 3-5 minutes.
Flip burgers (but do not press down) and spread each patty with 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce. Cover and cook an additional 3-5 minutes, or to desired doneness, adding cheese the last 1-2 minutes of grilling then cover. Remove to a plate and tent with foil and let rest 5 minutes.
To toast hamburger buns, spread softened butter on the cut sides of the buns. Add to the grill, or skillet, cut side down and toast for about 1 minute or until golden.
Top toasted buns with lettuce, followed by patties, desired amount of BBQ sauce, tomatoes, bacon and onion strings. Dig in!
Whisk buttermilk and egg together. Add onions to a shallow baking dish and pour buttermilk/egg mixture over top. Press the onions down so they're submerged as much as possible. Let them soak at room temperature for 15 minutes up to an hour, stirring and pushing down occasionally. Cover and refrigerate if soaking longer.
When ready to fry onions, fill a Dutch oven or deep heavy-duty pot with approximately 2 inches of oil. Heat to 375 degrees F.
While heating, combine flour, panko, salt and pepper in a large bowl; set aside. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels; set aside.
Test the oil with a small pinch of panko; if it bubbles and fries, then it is hot enough. Using tongs, transfer a handful of onions from the buttermilk to the flour/panko mixture. Toss to combine, shake off any excess flour, then carefully transfer to the hot oil.
Fry onions until lightly golden brown (just 1-2 minutes), watch closely! - they will continue to darken when baked. Remove fried onions with a spider fry strainer or fine mesh sieve to paper towels. Repeat with the remaining onion slices.
MAKE AHEAD: Fry onions according to directions. Let onions cool completely before transferring to an airtight container. Store onions at room temperature for up to three days.
DIY Buttermilk: I often don’t have buttermilk, so I will use a DIY buttermilk. To make your own buttermilk, Add 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white vinegar to a 3 cup+ measuring cup. Add enough milk to equal cups. Give it a stir then wait 10-15 minutes for it to curdle, then give it another stir before using. If you only have 1% milk, then add a splash of heavy cream before filling the rest of the measuring cup with milk.
Wow, this burger is something! THANK YOU!
- Miami Food Network -
- Use quality BBQ sauce. Your burgers are only as good as your sauce! I highly suggest my homemade BBQ sauce recipe.
- Use correct meat. Use 80% lean or 85% lean meat ground beef. Anything greater than 80% lean causes too many flare ups and anything less than 85% lean = dry burgers. Ground Chuck is the best meat to use. You can simply ask your butcher for 80/20 ground chuck and he will know exactly what you mean.
- Lean ground beef or sirloin. If you use lean ground beef or ground sirloin, I recommend adding a couple tablespoons of the bacon drippings directly to the panade before adding the beef, this will prevent dry burgers.
- Don’t overwork meat. Stop mixing the ingredients as soon as they are combined. Overworking the meat will create rubbery, tough burgers. Shape the hamburger patties gently and don’t pack the meat together or else you’ll end up with a hard burger.
- Keep beef cold. To prevent dry burgers, keep the ground beef as cold as possible by refrigerating it until you have made the panade and are ready to add the beef. Once you add the beef, work quickly and then refrigerate the patties again until ready to cook.
- Make an indentation. Making a shallow indentation in the center of each patty will ensure the burgers cook evenly and prevent the centers from bulging as the surrounding collagen tightens.
- Size of patties matters. Since patties vary in size, here is a simple formula: make patties 1-inch larger than the buns and the outer edges twice as thick as the center.
- Chill patties. The colder the patties, the better the flavor-carrying fat stays in the meat which means juicer burgers and burgers that don’t crumble when cooked.
- Use correct pan. Use a cast iron skillet or heavy bottom pan because they distribute heat more evenly and therefore cook your hamburgers more evenly.
- Clean Grill. If grilling, start with a clean grill for the best flavor and texture.
- Hot: Get the pan very hot before adding the burgers to create a nice crust/char for maximum flavor and juiciness.
- Don’t press burgers. We’ve all seen it done, but don’t EVER press down on your burgers with your spatula. Pressing down on the burgers squeezes out the flavorful juices just like a sponge which are what make a juicy burger juicy. Every time you press, you lose flavor and moisture resulting in a drier burger.
- Let burgers rest. Once the burgers are done, place them on a plate and let them rest for 5 minutes. This allows the juices that have been pushed to the outside of the burger when cooking to be redistributed throughout the burger.
Store burger patties separate from buns in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Homemade BBQ Burgers will keep for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze hamburger patties instead (see below).
- Burgers. You can completely assemble the BBQ burger patties, place them on a parchment lined plate or tray, cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to cook. Store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. DON’T bring to room temperature before cooking – cook straight from the refrigerator.
- BBQ Sauce. Make BBQ Sauce according to recipe directions. Allow to cool to room temperature then transfer to a mason jar or an air-tight container. Store for up to two weeks in the refrigerator.
- Toppings. You can prep your toppings while the burgers are chilling so they are all ready to go as and all you have to do is cook and eat!
- Onion Strings. Fry onions according to directions. Let onions cool COMPLETELY before transferring to an airtight container. Store onions at ROOM TEMPERATURE for up to three days.
HOW TO FREEZE COOKED BURGERS
These BBQ Burgers freeze very well without cheese.
- Place cooked patties in a freezer size plastic bag and separate patties with parchment paper OR place patties in individual plastic bags.
- With either option, make sure you squeeze as much excess air out as possible in order to prevent freezer burn.
- Alternatively, you can wrap individual patties tightly in plastic wrap followed by foil.
- When ready to eat, let burgers defrost overnight in the refrigerator then cook within three days.
HOW TO FREEZE UNCOOKED BURGER PATTIES
You can freeze uncooked BBQ Burger patties by flash freezing first so they don’t lose their shape.
- Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Line patties on the parchment paper in rows so they aren’t touching.
- Place tray in the freezer and freeze until solid, about 1-2 hours.
- Using kitchen shears, cut the along the imaginary grid to separate the patties, this way each patty has its own parchment square.
- Stack patties separated by parchment paper into a freezer bag.
- Squeeze out as much air as possible in order to prevent freezer burn then seal and label.
- Freeze for up to four months.