Grilled Burgers With Homemade Barbecue Sauce and Bacon

For some people a burger is a burger. Not me. I like burgers with a twist–crumbled Roquefort cheese, or French fried onions, or grated ginger and scallions, or sliced mushrooms cooked in butter. Family members are coming to visit in a couple of days. Although I thought about grilling steak, I nixed this idea when I saw the steak prices. So it was back to burgers. How could I make them special?

I remembered a barbecue sauce recipe I’ve made hundreds of times. The original recipe was for pork and I wondered how it would taste on beef. Then I wondered how the beef and sauce would taste with bacon. I tested the combination and it’s a winner.

This recipe calls for 85 percent lean ground beef. If you use 90 percent lean, add a beaten egg to the meat to prevent the patties from falling apart on the grill. Ninety-tree percent lean burgers will probably fall apart because there is little fat to hold them together.

To save prep time, make the barbecue sauce and cook the bacon ahead of time. If the sauce has been refrigerated, take it out of the fridge and warm it. Same thing with the bacon. Before you start light the charcoal, clean the grill with a brush and spray with cooking spray. The coals should be hot and glowing.

For food safety, check the temperature of the burgers with an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature should be 160 degrees. Remember that the patties will continue to cook for a minute or so after you take them off the grill.


1 1/3 pounds 85% lean ground beef

1 teaspoon salt

8 pieces of bacon, cooked crisp and drained on paper towels

1/2 cup dark molasses (or light)

1/2 cup ketchup

1 tablespoon dehydrated chopped onions

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

1 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard

1/2 teaspoon seasoned pepper

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


1. Add 1 teaspoon salt to ground beef and form into four patties.

2. Cover patties with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

3. Combining remaining ingredients in a small saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil.

4. Lower heat and simmer sauce for 20 minutes.

5. Set burgers on grill. Cook until one side starts to brown and grill marks appear. Resist the urge to press burgers with a spatula because this will dry them out.

6. Flip burgers and cook the other side.

7. Remove from grill and set on plate. Brush burgers with barbecue sauce.

8. Transfer burgers to buns (I use wheat buns) and top each one with two slices of bacon. Pass extra barbecue sauce if desired. Serve with a vegetable casserole and your favorite salad. Happy grilling!