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These Bacon Jam Burgers garner rave reviews with the salty-sweet bacon jam that takes them to the next level, even if it does drip all over your hands. Be prepared to get messy.
Whether it’s grilling season or not, nothing beats an amazing gourmet burger. Be sure to also bookmark our Red, White, and Blueberry Burger, Grilled Poblano Pepper Southwest Burger, and Cilantro Bomb Burger for your next cookout!
Bacon Jam Burgers
If these burgers look familiar to you, maybe you have been to the Magnolia Table restaurant in Texas where they are referred to as Gaines Brothers Burgers. They were the first recipe I tried from Joanna Gaines Magnolia Table cookbook and they were just so amazing that I knew I had to share them on the blog.
I’ve adjusted her recipe a bit though because the portion size was out of control for the eaters in my family! I mean, 4 pounds of meat to make 6 burgers that also get topped with a generous amount of bacon jam is just too much for most mere mortals to handle. So I scaled things way down to just 1 1/2 pounds of ground beef shaped into 4-5 patties, which is more like a regular (but frankly, still pretty darn big) burger that I can actually handle in one sitting.
I love serving these on poppy seed buns made with my homemade brioche hamburger bun recipe, but any soft, fresh hamburger bun will work well. The buns get brushed with garlic-infused melted butter and toasted on the grill at the last minute. I definitely recommend not skipping that step.
This “recipe” is less about the recipe and more just about the assembly since the only unusual or time-consuming part is making the bacon jam. At Magnolia Table they call is Bacon-Tomato Sweet Drip Jam, but I have never heard of drip jam before and don’t know where that name comes from. It’s catchy though, right?
Because the drip jam takes about an hour to make, I recommend doing that part ahead of time, even a few days in advance. It keeps really well in the fridge anyway and can be used on tons of other things from eggs at breakfast to pizza to sandwiches. The sweet and savory combination of salty bacon, caramelized onions, and brown sugar is a total winner and makes basically anything seem gourmet.
Then when it’s time to eat all you have to do is shape the burger patties and throw them on the grill over a hot flame! Slice some tomatoes nice and thick, grate some cheese to melt on the burgers during the last few minutes of grilling, and you’re set!
How to make bacon jam burgers
To make the best burgers, start by dividing the meat into equal portions, about 6 ounces each or roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Gently shape into burgers that are slightly larger than the size of the buns you plan to use. 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch thick is a good size to make sure that you end up with a thick, juicy burger. The patties might seem large, but keep in mind that they will shrink when as they cook!
Make a shallow depression in the center of each patty with your fingers. This will help the burger cook evenly without puffing up in the middle quite as much.
Generously season both sides of each patty with salt and freshly ground black pepper. This is done to personal preference but I typically use around 1/4 teaspoon of salt per patty, and a little less pepper than that.
How to grill burgers
Get your grill going so that it can get nice and hot. Medium-high to high heat is best for grilling burgers.
Add the hamburger patties directly over the flames or heat source and grill, covered, for 4-6 minutes per side, depending on how well done you like your burgers. I like my burgers a juicy medium with just a little pink in the center so I am usually around the 4-5 minute mark for my burgers, but you can grill them longer if you prefer them well-done.
Add the grated cheese during the last 2-3 minutes so it can melt.
When the burgers are done, let them rest for a few minutes after removing from the grill. This lets the juices redistribute before serving, and the burgers actually continue to cook a bit during this period from the residual heat.
Tips for the best grilled burgers
- Don’t flip the burgers more than once. Flipping your burgers more than once is detrimental to a succulent, juicy burger. It can turn a perfectly good hamburger patty into a hockey puck.
- Resist the urge to press on the burgers with the spatula while they are cooking! I know it’s tempting to hear the sizzle of the juices on the flames beneath, but that sound is all the flavor and juiciness being wasted!
- Choose the right meat! Go with ground chuck or 80/20 ground beef. Ground chuck is known for being richer and more flavorful, but it also has a higher fat and calorie content. Burgers aren’t exactly diet food and super lean ground beef typically makes disappointingly dry burgers that are lacking in flavor.
- Form the burgers loosely, using your hands. Try not to compress or overwork the meat too much while making the patties.
- Shape your patties slightly larger than the buns you plan to use since the burgers will shrink a bit while grilling.
- Make an indentation in the center of each patty by pressing with your fingers. This helps the burgers cook evenly and not plump up quite as much while cooking.
- Use quality hamburger buns (brioche, french, or potato are my top picks) and toast them on the grill before assembling the burgers. Toasted buns are essential for a fantastic burger experience!
- Check out my Burgers 101: How to Grill Burgers post for more helpful information!
What to serve with bacon jam burgers
These burgers are pretty massive, so I tend to keep sides minimal. You can never go wrong with cold, sliced watermelon and a burger, in my opinion, but I also love burgers with sweet potato fries. For a more filled out dinner menu though, consider trying some of these great grilling sides:
- Deviled Egg Potato Salad
- Crispy Baked Sweet Potato Fries
- Cottage Cheese Jello Salad
- Classic Macaroni Salad
- Best Baked Beans
- Frog Eye Salad
Even more mouthwatering burger recipes
- All-American Hamburger with Crispy Fried Onion Strings
- Soy-Glazed Mushroom Swiss Burgers
- Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers
- Greek Lamb Burgers
- Chicago-Style Italian Burgers
Bacon Jam Burgers
- 1 1/2 pounds 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup Gruyere or Havarti cheese freshly grated or sliced
- 4 brioche buns split
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 Tablespoons salted butter melted
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups bacon jam
- 4 thick slices of ripe tomatoes
- 3-4 cups baby arugula
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Clean and oil grill, if needed.
- Divide the meat into 4 large balls, then shape into 1/2 to 3/4-inch thick patties slightly larger than the buns with your hands, taking care not to overwork the meat. Make a shallow depression in the center of each burger for more even cooking.
- Season the burgers with the salt and pepper on both sides.
- Place the burgers on the grill directly over the flames or heat source and cook for 4-6 minutes without moving. Flip and grill on the other side for another 4-6 minutes until the burgers reach your desired degree of doneness. Divide the cheese between the burgers during last two minutes of grilling and close the lid so it can melt.
- While the burgers are grilling, stir the garlic into the melted butter. Brush the garlic butter onto the cut sides of the buns, then place them buttered side down on the grill until toasted, about 1 minute.
- To assemble the burgers, spread a generous amount of the bacon jam on the bottom bun. Top with a thick slice of tomato, followed b the burger patty, more bacon jam, and a generous handful of arugula. Set the top bun in place and serve immediately.
- The burger patties can be shaped up to 24 hours in advance, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.
- The bacon jam can be made up to 2 weeks in advance.
Recipe inspired by and adapted from the Magnolia Table cookbook.