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Chisholm Trail Burger (Coffee Rubbed Bacon Cheeseburger with Baked Bean Salsa and Bourbon BBQ Sauce)

As a child, my family took a trip 'out west'. I visited the Cowboy Hall of Fame and rode horseback through Bryce Canyon. I loved horses, westerns and the adventures cowboys experienced. I think these burgers capture the romance of the American West.


Coffee Rub:
1 tablespoon finely ground coffee beans
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
3/4 teaspoon dry mustard
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander seed
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black peppercorns
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Baked Bean Salsa:
16 oz. baked beans (I use Bush’s)
2 tablespoons chopped chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
1 tablespoon spicy mustard
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
1/2 cup diced onions

Bourbon BBQ Sauce:
1/2 cup bourbon
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

12 slices thick cut pepper bacon
1 lb. ground sirloin
1 lb. ground chuck
1/4 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke
6 slices Pepper Jack cheese
12 slices sourdough bread
6 tablespoons butter


Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover, or preheat a gas grill to medium-high.
Coffee Rub: Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Baked Bean Salsa: Combine all in a fire-proof saucepan and heat on grill over medium-high heat until bubbly. Cook another 5 minutes. Cover and remove from heat.

Bourbon BBQ Sauce: In a small fire-proof saucepan over medium-high heat, simmer bourbon until reduced by half. Add ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire and hot pepper sauce, onion and garlic powder and salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Cover and remove from heat. Heat a large fire-proof skillet on the grill. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Reserve bacon fat for brushing on grill. Remove to paper towels to drain and cover to keep warm.

In a large bowl combine ground meat, Cabernet and liquid smoke. Divide the meat into 6 portions. Gently form each into a patty about the size of the slices of bread. Rub each side of patty with about 1 teaspoon of rub. ‘Dab’ each side with a little of the bacon fat. Brush grill rack with reserved bacon fat, place patties on rack; cover and cook, turning once, until done to preference. 5-7 minutes per side for medium. Top patties with cheese slices just before removing from grill.
Spread bread slices on one side with butter; lightly grill each slice on buttered side. Top bottom slice of bread (grilled side up) with about 1/4 cup Bean Salsa. Place burger over Salsa then crisscross bacon on burger patty. Cover with 2 tablespoons BBQ Sauce and top with remaining bread slice. Makes 6 burgers.


I make the rub, salsa and BBQ sauce ahead of time. My husband does the grilling. I know it's sooo traditional but it's the way each of us works together. Kinda comfortable like a pair of old jeans. We've been together 25 years and are going strong, so it must work.