The Cheese & Burger Society Presents The Bourbon BBQ Benchwarmer


by Paula of Bell’alimento

The clock is running out to enter the Green Bay Packers Football Sweepstakes! Enter by September 2 and you could be the lucky winner who will score an all-inclusive trip for two to a Packers game at Lambeau Field, complete with pregame sideline passes, two Packers Elite Jerseys from the Packers Pro Shop, two tickets to the Packers Hall of Fame, and spending money for food and drink. Or, you could be one of three First Team Winners who win $500 towards Packers Pro Shop gear! Enter now at

It’s that time of year again! You know what I’m talking about. Come on, are you ready for some FOOTBALL? We sure are. Well, I have to admit I’m most excited about football because of the food and the tailgating that goes along with it!

BBQ Bourbon Bacon Burger

It’s not a party without food, right? Cheeseburgers are a great food option in general, but especially for football and tailgating. Nobody can deny that fresh-from-the-grill taste. This one is going to knock your knee-high football socks right off. Seriously, it’s big, beautiful, and has bourbon in it. We’re calling it the Bourbon BBQ Benchwarmer. You won’t mind sitting in the stands on a cold day after you’ve had this satisfying cheeseburger. Nope.


It starts with a massive beef patty, cooked to your desired doneness. Then it is topped with thick and crispy bacon strips and a homemade bourbon BBQ sauce that will have you licking your lips. And since it’s not a cheeseburger without cheese, I use perfectly melting Wisconsin havarti cheese to layer on a buttery flavor. All of that is sandwiched between a big, beautiful pretzel bun for a cheeseburger worthy of your game day appetite.

Now that the grub is covered, here are some other handy tips to use for the quickly approaching tailgate season!

  1. Check the stadium website for any tailgating rules and regulations. You don’t want to show up with things that you aren’t going to be able to use.
  2. Prepare food and snacks ahead of time as much as possible. Aluminum foil and storage containers are your friends!
  3. Freeze a few almost-full water bottles to serve as ice in your coolers, and at the end of the day, pass them out for a cold and refreshing drink.
  4. Use pop-up hampers for makeshift trash receptacles. Line them with trash bags, and at the end of the day you’ll be ready to go with an easy cleanup.


The Bourbon BBQ Benchwarmer


Servings: 4




For Bourbon BBQ Sauce: 

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup bourbon
3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


For Cheeseburgers:

4 slices thick cut bacon, halved
2 pounds ground beef, divided into 4 equal patties
Kosher salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
4-thick slices Wisconsin havarti cheese


For Assembly:

4 pretzel buns, split and toasted
Caramelized onions or store-bought crispy onions, optional




For BBQ Sauce:

Place all ingredients in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes, until thickened. Remove and let cool. (Sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.)


For Burgers:

Fry bacon until crispy in large skillet. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside.

Heat grill over medium-high heat. Season beef patties with salt and pepper. Place grill pan on grill and add burgers. Cook until desired doneness, between 3 and 5 minutes per side. Top each burger with a cheese slice during last minutes of cooking so cheese melts.


To Assemble:

Place cheeseburger on each toasted pretzel bun bottom. Top with two bacon pieces and generous amount of bourbon BBQ sauce. Finish with caramelized or crispy onions if desired.