Sweet Bourbon Burger with Crispy Onion Straws

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These big, beefy, boozy ⅓ pound patties get a healthy dusting of my Homemade Sweet Rub and a high heat sear on the grill for the most amazing crunchy crust. Topped with a sweet bourbon sauce, Havarti cheese, and a mountain of fresh, crunchy onion straws, this burger will put any burger joint to shame.

Bourbon burger topped with lettuce, tomato, crispy onion straws and bourbon BBQ sauce with text overlay - Sweet Bourbon Burger.

Bourbon Burger

Maybe I can find a burger recipe to top this Sweet Bourbon Burger, but I highly doubt it. This burger is legit in the top 5 of my list of favorite specialty burgers. I could even say it’s the best ever, but my arm might start to hurt from patting myself on the back for too long.

If you’re dying to make a burger that will make you feel like the ultimate backyard BBQ hero, you HAVE to make these bourbon burgers. Every element comes together in perfect burger harmony to make the burger feel 100% gourmet. Simply make the meat, toss the burgers on a hot gas grill or charcoal grill, and you’re in for a tasty meal.

Best Meat for Bourbon Burgers

All great burgers start with great beef, and this burger starts with the best. This recipe calls for 80/20 fresh ground sirloin with a splash of bourbon right in the meat. You may be tempted to purchase some leaner meat, but I do not recommend cooking this recipe with leaner meat. You’ll end up with a dry burger that does not taste as meaty or juicy.

Similarly, I don’t recommend a fattier meat either. Your burgers can start to fall apart with too much fat to meat ratio. I’ve found that 80/20 is the perfect ratio for just about every burger you plan to grill.

Sweet bourbon sauce being brushed on a burger patty on the grill.

Bourbon Burger BBQ Sauce

The true shining star in this recipe is the sweet bourbon sauce. It’s the perfect combo of sweet and savory with a boozy surprise. Oh, and no need to worry about the alcohol content in this sauce, it’ll burn off while simmering on the stovetop.

Here’s what you’ll need to make this sauce:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub

You can purchase my Signature Sweet Rub pre-made from my store, or make it yourself at home using my recipe for Best Sweet Rub.

Two hands holding a fully loaded bourbon burger.

Tips for Making a Bourbon Burger

Hold up there, BBQ master. Check out a few tips for making these bourbon burgers before you dive into the recipe, mmmkay? And make sure to come back after you make these and leave me a comment! I love hearing how you ended up cooking your food (and any awesome changes you made to fit your needs).

  • Get cheap booze. Don’t blow your budget on the bourbon. Since the alcohol is going to cook down, save some money and use a budget friendly bourbon. You can use pretty much any bourbon you have on hand.
  • Make extra onion straws. Trust me when I say you’ll use a bunch of these on the burger. Having extra to munch on is worth the effort. Do yourself a favor and make plenty of these guys!
  • Prep the sauce in advance. This step will save you time on the day of and make assembly easier.

Bourbon burger on a wooden cutting board with a jar of sweet bourbon sauce in the background.

More Burger Recipes

Looking for ALL The awesome burger recipes to wow everyone who comes over for a weekend BBQ? You gotta skip the simple burgers and go for the gold. Any of these popular burger recipes from Hey Grill Hey aim to please. Try them out today!

Bourbon Burger Recipe

Cooking dinner for your friends or family should be easy. If you’re looking for the ultimate way to help you make better BBQ, feed the people you love, and become a backyard BBQ hero, join my members-only group The Grill Squad for full access to all my meat, rubs, sauces, and meat buying masterclasses, podcasts, and so much more.

Need some rubs and sauces to go with this burger? Patio Provisions sells Hey Grill Hey Signature products for a great price. Best of all? They’re delivered straight to your door!

Sweet Bourbon Burger with Crispy Onion Straws

5 from 1 votes
These big, beefy, boozy ⅓ pound patties get a healthy dusting of my Homemade Sweet Rub and a high heat sear on the grill for the most amazing crunchy crust. Topped with a sweet bourbon sauce, Havarti cheese, and a mountain of fresh, crunchy onion straws, this burger will put any burger joint to shame.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Servings6 people
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  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef sirloin
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 3 Tablespoons Homemade Sweet Rub
  • 12 thin slices Havarti cheese
  • 6 burger buns pub style
  • ¼ cup salted butter room temperature

Sweet Bourbon Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 20-oz can crushed pineapple in heavy syrup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • 2 Tablespoons molasses
  • ¼ cup onion minced
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 lemons zest and juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Signature Sweet Rub

Crispy Onion Straws

  • 1 large sweet onion cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • ¼ cup Signature Sweet Rub
  • 4 cups canola oil


  • Make the sweet bourbon sauce. In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients for the sweet bourbon sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer for 30 minutes. Use a blender to puree the sauce before using.
  • Prep the crispy onion straw batter. In a medium bowl, combine the sliced onions and the buttermilk. In a pie plate gently mix the flour, corn starch, and sweet rub. Place a heavy bottom pot on the stove top and preheat the oil to 400 degrees F.
  • Preheat the grill. Preheat your grill to high heat (around 450 degrees).
  • Make the patties. In a large bowl, place your ground beef and pour in the bourbon. Mix very gently. Overmixing can make your burgers tough. Form into 6 individual patties. Season on both sides with the sweet rub.
  • Grill the burgers. Place the burgers on the grill grate and cook for 6-8 minutes per side, or until burgers are within 10 degrees of desired doneness. The FDA recommends ground beef is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  • Make the onion straws. While the burgers cook, fry your onion straws. Remove the onion strips from the buttermilk and toss in the flour/cornstarch mixture. Separate them into individual strips and make sure they are each coated with the flour/cornstarch. Gently transfer them to the hot oil and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until the onion straws are crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon onto a paper towel and season with salt. Set aside until you are ready to assemble your burgers.
  • Add the cheese and toast the buns. When the burgers are almost done, slather a bit of the bourbon sauce over each burger. Top each with 2 slices of the Havarti cheese. Butter your buns and place those on the grill grates as well. Close the lid on your grill and cook for 1-2 more minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the buns are toasted.
  • Assemble the bourbon burgers. To assemble your burgers, place a lettuce leaf on the bottom bun (this prevents the bun from getting soggy) then the cheesy burger, then tomato slices (if desired), a handful of the onion straws, another hearty spoonful of the bourbon sauce, and the buttery toasted top bun. Secure the burger with a large toothpick or skewer. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Calories: 2387kcal | Carbohydrates: 123g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 193g | Saturated Fat: 30g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 975mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 50g | Vitamin A: 911IU | Vitamin C: 26mg | Calcium: 457mg | Iron: 14mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Like this? Leave a comment below!

**This post was originally published in May 2016. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.

Sweet Bourbon Burgers with Onion StrawsCRAFTSweet Bourbon Burger with Crispy Onion Straws



Susie is the BBQ Brain behind the Hey Grill Hey website. Her passion for smoked meats and developing fun, new recipes have landed her on the Food Network, cooking turkeys with Shaq, and on a couple of Guinness World Records. When she’s not grilling, she is hanging out with Todd and their three kids, preferably outdoors!

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Reader Reviews

10 Reviews

  1. Kara Dahl says:

    Please help! I’m not understanding something, the way the recipe is written. It says to make the bourbon sauce (with all ingredients). But later it says to pour the bourbon into the ground beef. Does that mean pour the bourbon SAUCE? Or just bourbon? Doesn’t the bourbon go into the sauce in the first place? I want to make these in the next couple hours and I would love clarification. Thank you!

    1. Hey Grill Hey says:

      You’ll need 1/4 cup bourbon for the sauce and another 1/4 cup for the ground beef! Hopefully I got to you in time!

  2. Deanna Samaan says:

    oh my! This sound sooo good!! Yummo!!!

  3. Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen (@BobbisKozyKtchn) says:

    Ohhhh yessss bring on the bourbon baby!!!

  4. Priscilla | She's Cookin' says:

    Oh hell, yes! I usually drink my bourbon, but I’ll eat it too! Gimme some 🙂

  5. Renee Dobbs says:

    Fantastic burger! I’m loving the sauce and the crispy onions on it.

  6. pattyanderson54p says:

    What a tasty sounding burger – it looks fantastic.