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    Cowboy Burger Recipe

    Published July 28, 2023. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This incredible Cowboy Burger recipe is piled high with thick-cut burgers with BBQ sauce, cheese, crispy bacon, fried onions, and pickled jalapeños. You will be floored when you taste the unique flavors of this burger.

    Believe it or not, my favorite form of eating beef is in a cheeseburger. I actually prefer them over steak. If you are in the same boat, then you must try my Smash Burgers or my Classic Cheeseburger Recipe.

    cowboy burger on a cutting board


     

    Cowboy Burger

    A Cowboy burger is a thick-cut hamburger that is served on a toasted bun with onions, cheese, bacon, optional jalapeños, and BBQ sauce. While I’ve seen variations of this burger, I’ve never discovered its origin. You can customize this burger in any way you see fit to make it work to your liking.

    My version of the cowboy burger utilizes fried tobacco onions, pickled jalapeños, cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and a homemade BBQ for the ultimate burger to serve up. This has consistently received rave reviews, and if you make it, too, I believe it will be a hit.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    ingredients to make a cowboy burger
    • Beef Burgers – My homemade ground beef recipe is perfect for this. However, 80/20 ground chuck would be great as well.
    • Bacon – Regular-cut crisp cooked bacon is what you’ll need.
    • Onions – You will need to make some tobacco onions for this recipe. Feel free to pre-made French-Fried onions.
    • JalapeñosPickled jalapeños bring a touch of vinegar, salt, sugar, and just the right amount of heat to the burger. These are easy-t0-make; however, you can use canned or jarred nacho jalapeños instead.
    • Buns – I prefer homemade potato buns, but any hamburger bun works.
    • BBQ sauce – My homemade BBQ sauce goes delicious with this. However, any tangy, sweet, or smoky BBQ sauce will work.
    • Cheddar – I like to use mild cheddar to melter well and still have delicious cheddar flavors.

    How to Make a Cowboy Burger

    Start by preheating the smoker or grill to 500°.

    turning the smoker up

    Season the burgers generously on both sides with salt and pepper.

    seasoning ground beef

    Next, place the burgers onto the grill and cook them for 4 to 6 minutes per side.

    cooking ground beef in a smoker

    In the meantime, bread the onions and fry them until golden brown. Set them aside to drain.

    making tobacco onions

    With about 2 minutes left in the cooking process, add the cheese to the burgers.

    adding cheddar cheese to smoked burgers

    In addition, add the bacon to the grill to reheat and crisp up.

    grilling bacon

    Set the burgers aside to rest for 3 to 4 minutes.

    bacon and a cheeseburger on a plate

    In the meantime, brush the buns with melted unsalted butter.

    adding butter to a bun

    Toast them in a pan over medium heat or on a griddle at 350° for 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted.

    toasted potato buns

    Layer on the burger as follows: bottom toasted bun, burger, 1 to 2 slices of crisp cooked bacon sliced in half, ¼ cup of pickled jalapeños, crispy tobacco onions, 2 to 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and finally, the top toasted bun.

    adding bbq sauce to a cowboy burger

    I like to serve this alongside some additional BBQ sauce.

    holding a cowboy burger

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: These cowboy burgers are meant to be eaten as soon as they are finished cooking. You can, however, prepare all the toppings 1 day ahead of time.

    How to Store: Keep the meat, buns, and toppings separate and covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The cowboy burgers by themselves will freeze well covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.

    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of cowboy burgers to a 13×9 casserole dish and cover with foil or a lid. Bake in the oven at 350° for 8-12 minutes or until warm.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    Chef Notes + Tips

    • If you don’t like spicy food, you can purchase pre-made mild nacho chiles instead of pickled jalapeños.
    • To make the BBQ sauce creamy, mix ½ cup of the sauce with ½ cup of mayonnaise.
    • Feel free to experiment using different aged cheddars.
    • You can add as many or as few toppings as you like.

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    Cowboy Burger Recipe

    5 from 8 votes
    This Cowboy Burger recipe is piled high with thick-cut burgers with BBQ sauce, cheese, crispy bacon, fried onions, and pickled jalapeños.
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 12 minutes

    Ingredients 

    Instructions

    • Start by preheating the smoker or grill to 500°.
    • Season the burgers well on both sides with salt and pepper.
    • Next, place the burgers onto the grill and cook them for 4 to 6 minutes per side.
    • In the meantime, bread the onions and fry them until golden brown. Set them aside to drain.
    • With about 2 minutes left in the cooking process, add the cheese to the burgers.
    • In addition, add the bacon to the grill to reheat and crisp up.
    • Set the burgers aside to rest for 3 to 4 minutes.
    • In the meantime, brush the buns with melted unsalted butter.
    • Toast them in a pan over medium heat or on a griddle at 350° for 2 to 3 minutes or until toasted.
    • Layer on the burger as follows: bottom toasted bun, burger, 1 to 2 slices of crisp cooked bacon sliced in half, ¼ cup of pickled jalapeños, crispy tobacco onions, 2 to 3 tablespoons of BBQ sauce, and finally the top toasted bun.
    • I like to serve this alongside some additional BBQ sauce.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: These cowboy burgers are meant to be eaten as soon as they are finished cooking. You can, however, prepare all the toppings 1 day ahead of time.
    How to Store: Keep the meat, buns, and toppings separate and covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. The cowboy burgers will freeze well, covered for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating and serving.
    How to Reheat: Add the desired number of cowboy burgers to a 13×9 casserole dish and cover with foil or a lid. Bake in the oven at 350° for 8-12 minutes or until warm.
    If you don’t like spicy food, you can purchase pre-made mild nacho chiles instead of pickled jalapeños.
    To make the BBQ sauce creamy, mix ½ cup of the sauce with ½ cup of mayonnaise.
    Feel free to experiment using different aged cheddars.
    You can add as many or as few toppings as you like.
    The recipe prep and cooking times are based on the buns, pickled jalapeños, and fried onions being ready. 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 723kcalCarbohydrates: 38gProtein: 42gFat: 44gSaturated Fat: 18gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 17gCholesterol: 137mgSodium: 1429mgPotassium: 824mgFiber: 2gSugar: 16gVitamin A: 829IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 218mgIron: 7mg
    Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course
    Cuisine: American, southern