This post has been sponsored by Tyson Foods, Inc. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Sometimes you just want a juicy burger, you know? With BACON. Definitely. The Ultimate Bacon BBQ Burger. What makes this one so special? The hickory-smoked BBQ bacon wrapped onion rings. You heard me. BACON ONION RINGS. Along with spicy cheddar jack cheese, BBQ sauce, and quick-pickled cucumber chips—this is burger nirvana, folks. For this easy recipe, I used Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon from my local Publix supermarket. You’ll want to nab some too for these amazing sammies.
It’s about quality
I literally have two Publix stores within a mile of my house, making them by far the most convenient places to shop. However, that’s not the only reason I shop there. Publix store-brand products are the best quality. I like their soft, bakery-fresh brioche buns, especially for these bacon BBQ burgers, and their pre-packaged coleslaw salad is cut just the way I like it. They also carry some of my favorite premium brands, like Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon. I found it near the butcher’s department in the store. It’s real wood-smoked and hand-trimmed, and each package of thick-cut bacon weighs 1 1/2 pounds… which is PERFECT for these juicy burgers.
For this recipe, I used some of my own homemade recipes, like the BBQ sauce and quick-pickled cucumber chips. They’re both really easy to make and can be made several days ahead of time. You can also use your favorite Publix store brands if you’re pressed for time (no hard feelings).
To learn more and check out additional recipes, click here!
Ingredients for bacon BBQ burgers
- Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon
- Vidalia Onions (look for longer, rounder onions, rather than short & flat)
- BBQ Sauce
- Ground Beef (80/20 is the best for a really juicy burger)
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- Pepper Jack Cheese (can also use Cheddar or Blue Cheese Crumbles)
- Brioche Buns (or Kaiser rolls)
- Quick Pickled Cucumbers
I have tasted all the components of this burger on their own, and while they are individually outstanding, let’s be honest… the BBQ bacon wrapped onion rings steal the show. They’re super easy to make, however, they take about an hour to cook—so get started on those about an hour before grilling the burgers.
For BBQ bacon wrapped onion rings
- Arrange a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.
- Cut the onion into 3/4? slices and separate into individual rings. You’ll want to use the large and medium-sized onion rings (about 3″ – 5″ in diameter) for this recipe… Save the smaller ones for another recipe.
- Gently stretch the slices of Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon (you might have to pull the bacon in 1 to 2 inch increments along the length) until it’s about 18-20 inches long.
- Thread the bacon through the center of the onion ring, and tightly wrap it around the ring. Continue threading, overlapping the bacon about 1/4? over the edges as you go. Wrap the entire onion with the bacon, and secure the ends with a toothpick.
- Transfer the bacon onion rings to the wire rack (the rack is important to evenly cook the bacon all over without burning it).
How to cook bacon onion rings to crispy, chewy perfection
- Position the oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°F. This is low enough to cook the bacon and onions without burning, but will crisp the bacon.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then flip the bacon onion rings and cook for another 25 minutes. They need to be flipped, otherwise, the bottom will be soggy while the top is crisp.
- Brush the onion rings with BBQ sauce and return them to the oven. TURN ON THE BROILER and broil for about 2-3 minutes, or until the BBQ sauce takes on some color and fuses to the bacon. Oh-Ma-Gawd… so good.
Make the burger patties while the bacon onion rings are cooking, this way everything is ready at the same time.
Tips for the juiciest burgers
- Use 80/20 ground chuck. It has more fat. More fat = more moisture, and therefore, the burgers will stay juicy.
- Keep the burgers a manageable size, about 1/4 pound each. If Dad wants a half-pound burger, stack ’em.
- The patties don’t have to be perfectly round — in fact, they shouldn’t be. You want those craggy edges because they’ll create CRUST — which is essentially flavor. Form the burgers into a ball and smash them with the flat bottom of a frying pan, until they’re about 3/4″ thick.
- Use the back of a round measuring tablespoon to create a divot in the center of the patty. This is important because the steam that’s created when grilling the burgers will expand. By making that divot, you compensate for the natural expansion, and the burgers will be uniformly flat instead of domed like a football stadium.
- Stick with simple seasonings. All you need is salt and pepper on these patties, because the flavor of the Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon with the Vidalia onion and BBQ sauce create a harmonious flavor bomb for the burgers. Don’t overdo it with other spices.
If you’re a grill master, then you probably don’t need my advice on how to grill burgers the way you like them. But these tips are for pros and novices alike.
Grilling juicy BBQ bacon burgers
- Heat the grill to a medium-high heat (about 425°F to 450°F), that’s enough to sear and crust the edges.
- These burgers won’t take long to get to a perfect medium rare, usually 3-4 minutes per side, but to be sure, use a meat thermometer.
- Be sure NOT TO JOSTLE OR PRESS the burgers with your spatula. Jostling will ruin those perfect grill marks and pressing on the burgers will just let the moisture and juices leak out. AVOID THAT.
- During the last minute or so of cooking, place a slice of cheese over each patty to melt and get those buns on the grill to toast.
Ok, this is the moment of truth. The moment when those bacon wrapped onion rings, flame grilled burgers, BBQ sauce and tangy pickle chips all come together. I know your mouth is watering… mine is too.
Build the ultimate BBQ bacon burger
- Place one (or two) juicy, cheese-topped burger patties on the lower half of the toasted bun.
- Top liberally with tangy pickle chips.
- Add two or three bacon onion rings to the burger (you can do more, but keep in mind — you’ve got to get this thing IN YOUR MOUTH. Unless your jaw unhinges like a cobra).
- Drizzle on extra BBQ sauce and top with the other toasted bun.
- Now… EAT.
I should warn you that this is a two-handed eating affair. You’ll also want to hold the BBQ bacon burger over the plate (to catch anything that might unwittingly escape) and attack this sammie with GUSTO.
The smoked flavor of Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon is exceptional, especially wrapped around those sweet Vidalia onion rings. Combined with the juicy grilled burger, melty-oozy (slightly spicy) cheese, sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, and those brined quick pickled cucumbers—it’s the perfect bite. (I know that was a run-on sentence, but I don’t care — it’s THAT GOOD!).
Don’t ruin your favorite shirt
I advise short-sleeved shirts for this meal as you’re likely to have some juices and sauce drip down your arms while eating. You’re welcome.
What to serve with BBQ bacon burgers
Ultimate Bacon BBQ Burger
- sheet pan with wire rack
- 1 pound Wright® Brand Hickory Bacon you'll have leftovers for breakfast tomorrow.
- 1-2 large Vidalia onions look for longer, rounder rather than flatter and wider.
- 1 cup barbecue sauce divided, I use homemade BBQ sauce.
- 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 8 slices pepperjack cheese can also use cheddar or muenster slices, or blue cheese (crumbles)
- 8 hamburger buns (or Kaiser, brioche or onion rolls)
- 1/2 cup pickled cucumber chips
- extra BBQ sauce for serving
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place the rack over the sheet pan and set aside.
FOR BACON WRAPPED ONION RINGS:
- Peel the papery skin from the onions. Slice the onions crosswise with a sharp chef's knife or santoku into 1/2" to 3/4" thick slices. Gently separate the onions into rings. Use the large and medium rings to make the bacon wrapped onions.
- Take one slice of bacon and go down the length of it with your fingers, tugging and gently pulling the bacon into a longer piece. Try to get it around 18" to 20" long.
- Thread the bacon through the center of an onion ring and carefully loop it around the perimeter of the onion, overlapping the bacon by about 1/8" inch as you make your way around the onion ring. Secure the end by sticking a toothpick through the bacon and onion to hold it firmly without unraveling.
- Transfer the bacon wrapped onion rings to the wire rack and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan and using a pair of tongs flip the onion rings over. Return the pan to the oven and continue cooking for another 25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, flip the onions once more and brush them lightly with BBQ sauce.
- Turn on the broiler and place the onion rings back in the oven. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the BBQ sauce has glazed the bacon and starts to take on some color. Remove from the oven and let rest.
FOR THE BURGERS:
- While the onion rings are cooking, form the hamburger into 4 quarter-pound patties. To prevent the "dome" effect, flatten the patties with the palm of your hand and then use a rounded tablespoon to create a divot in the center of each patty. This will keep the patties flat as they cook on the grill.
- Sprinkle the patties with salt and pepper.
- Heat the grill to a medium-high heat (about 450°F) and place the burgers over the heating element or glowing coals.
- Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side for medium-rare, or to your desired temperature. Transfer the burgers to a board and immediately top each with a slice of cheese. The heat from the burgers will melt the cheese.
- While the cheese is melting, toast the buns lightly on the grill for 1-2 minutes.
TO BUILD THE BURGER:
- Place a patty on the bun. Top with 5-6 slices of pickle chips, followed by 2-3 BBQ bacon wrapped onion rings. Drizzle with additional BBQ sauce and top with the other half of the bun. Enjoy!