By ChefGina


Bourbon Burger

There’s no doubt that I love to cook (even bake). As such, I was really looking forward to creating and trying out the recipes that we will include in our fictional food lit and recipe series – Chef Gina’s Love, Adventure, and Recipe Series.

Regina “Gina” Brubaker

I am not one to follow a recipe, but rather to fly by the seat of my own pants with an iota of inspiration. In honor of Spring and the coming Summer months, I decided I wanted to take a stab at a bourbon burger smothered in cheese, bourbon caramelized onions, and bourbon barbecue sauce.

We will be including a final perfected version of a bourbon burger in the first book of our series, Book 1: Tennessee Whiskey Cure.  Keep checking back as I experiment with different recipes!

When I checked out several great bourbon burger recipes.  I noticed that many of them included Worcestershire sauce such as a recipe by thedailygourmet presented on  I really wanted the bourbon to be the highlight of my bourbon burger so I opted to keep looking.

Other recipes seemed to focus more in the bourbon flavor itself.  In the end, the bourbon recipe I made was adapted from a recipe created by Paula with  Although, I appreciated Paula’s recipe as she presented it – I made some slight changes in my version (be sure to read My Final Notes):

Bourbon Burger Ingredients

4 Pre-Formed Beef Burgers – Ground Chuck preferred

Seasonings – Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder

Onion Sauteed in Bourbon

¾ Cup of  Barbecue Sauce

2 1/2 T Bourbon

4 Cheese Slices (Cheddar or Pepper-Jack)

Toasted Buns

4 T butter

12 Slices Bacon (Optional)

Serves 4


I purchased four excellent quality pre-formed patties  along with butter, onions, cheddar cheese, brioche buns, bacon, and bourbon.

Bourbon Burger Ingredients


The first thing I did was put my barbecue sauce (see note 1 at bottom) in a small pan and added Maker’s Mark® Bourbon (the good stuff 😉). I did miss my measuring spoon while measuring out my bourbon….

Whoops. I guess that’s what happens when you’re a mom and have to multitask. I just eyeballed the rest. I put that on over low heat.

I began preparing the onions by slicing them. I heated a large skillet over medium-low heat with 2 T of butter. I added the onions to the skillet. I sautéed them for 15 minutes stirring them occasionally to prevent them from getting stuck to the pan. (You’ll want to sauté them until they are tender, translucent, and golden brown.)

A burger is great grilled, but unfortunately with Indiana weather, I was unable to use ours for this burger attempt. I opted to use a skillet instead. I just used the same skillet that I had used for the onions – since it was already warm.  I am always looking to cut time out of my meal prep (life with an infant)!

I took out the FOUR full size burgers. I seasoned each side with salt, pepper, and garlic. I cooked them for 4 minutes on each side.

I enjoy a well-done burger, so I cooked mine for a bit longer than I did my husbands. (He tends to like his medium-rare.)

I had barely gotten the burgers to hit the hot pan and my friend, Lauren walked in the door.

The first thing she said to me was, “Man, something smells amazing in here. You must be cooking!”

I melted my cheese over the burger (it works best if you put the lid back on the pan for the cheese to melt). I removed the pan from heat.

*Don’t forget, you’ll need to be stirring your sauce.

My kitchen smelled amazing at this point.  Home from work, my husband just HAD to sneak a taste of the barbecue sauce I made with the bourbon. He couldn’t wait to sink his teeth into one of those juicy, cheesy burgers. Neither could I!

I spread each bun with spreadable butter and toasted them in the onion pan to soak up some of the flavors from the onions.

I then assembled my sandwich layering the burger with cheese, onions, and barbeque sauce on the buns. I paired our burgers with some oven roasted zucchini. Man, did that burger look mouth-watering. Guys, this burger was amazing, and you’ve got to try your own version.

Bourbon in your favorite barbecue sauce = WINNER!

*The alcohol content cooks out, just leaving a great flavor


My Final Notes:

  1. I want to make my own barbecue sauce to pair with the bourbon (my grandma, who is Amish, has a great recipe). For this attempt, I just used my favorite, Sweet Baby Ray’s®.
  2. Add the BACON! Yes, I forgot the bacon. I realized it days later when I found it in the fridge…still (lol).
  3. I would even go so far as to sauté my onions in whiskey to give it even more of a punch (watch for future post-already added to the above ingredient list). Or, maybe, it would work to sauté them in a bit of the barbecue sauce mixture. If someone tries this, I would love to hear how it works out!


Be sure to visit often as we experiment with recipes for Chef Gina’s Love, Adventure, and Recipe Series!

Check out our eStore!

Find out more About Chef Gina!