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Hot and Spicy Bacon Burgers with Smoked Cheddar and White BBQ Sauce

When my husband and I were first married we lived for a few years in the historic southern town of Columbus, Mississippi. The town was adorned with beautiful antebellum homes which we often toured. But our favorite thing to do while we were in Columbus was attending the renowned Possum City Pig Fest each fall. The Pig Fest (now called Roast and Boast) was a jam packed BBQ fest with music and the best BBQ my Yankee husband and I have had to date. I remember having a BBQ sandwich there that was super spicy and flavorful and topped with a creamy white Alabama BBQ sauce. That memorable sandwich served as the inspiration for this spicy flavorful burger.

Ingredients 

12 slices thick cut Hickory smoked bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon Sriracha pepper sauce (such as Huy Fong)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt, divided(2 teaspoons for the patties, 1/2 tsp. for the sauce, 1/4 teaspoon for the tomatoes)
1 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Oil to brush the grill
8 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, cut into thin slices
6 kaiser rolls, split in half
1 1/2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
6 (1/4 inch thick) tomato slices

Instructions 

Preheat a grill to medium high heat.

In a large skillet with a fireproof handle, cook the bacon pieces until crispy; transfer to paper towels to drain. Remove 2 tablespoons of the bacon drippings from the pan and transfer to a large bowl. Break apart the ground beef into the bowl with the drippings. Add the Sriracha pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce and 2 teaspoons of the salt. Add the bacon pieces. Using your hands gently combine the meat with the bacon and sauces. Divide the meat into 6 equal portions and form patties; set aside.

In a food processor, combine the mayonnaise, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, the cider vinegar, sugar, horseradish and lemon juice; process until smooth and set aside.

Lightly brush the grill rack with oil. Arrange the patties on the grill, close cover and cook for 4 minutes. Using a spatula, turn patties and top with several slices of the cheddar cheese, evenly dividing. Close the grill and continue to cook the patties for an additional 4-5 minutes for medium rare or cook until desired doneness. During the last 2 minutes of grilling arrange the rolls split side down on the edges of the grill to lightly toast.

To assemble the burgers, spoon a generous portion of the white barbecue sauce on the bottom half of each of the rolls (reserving some sauce). Top the sauce with the shredded lettuce, followed by a tomato slice. Sprinkle the tomato slices with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and then top with a patty, cheese side up. Drizzle another spoonful of the barbecue sauce over each patty, top with the remaining roll halves and serve immediately.