Ohio Smokeshack Burgers

Accolades 2010 Finalists
Serves Makes 6 burgers
Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

However, no matter what your cultural preferences are, there’s one thing we can all agree on – barbecue is mouth-watering, lip-smacking delicious! These burgers are my interpretation of an American tradition . . . on a roll!


Barbecue Bacon Jam

  • 1 1/2 pounds thick-cut hickory-smoked bacon slices, trimmed and chopped
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup Sutter Home Zinfandel
  • 1/4 cup granulated maple sugar
  • 1/4 cup hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons roasted ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Fresh Pickle Coleslaw

  • 1/2 cup high-quality mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 1 cup peeled and shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup diced pickle chips, preferably fresh-packed bread-and-butter-style with no salt added
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion


  • 2 tablespoons hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon naturally smoked sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 pounds freshly ground beef chuck
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack
  • 6 ounces good-melting, extra-sharp yellow cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 6 bakery Vienna burger rolls, split (egg-wash-glazed rolls, with a slightly crisped crust and a soft, tender interior)


To make the jam, cook the bacon in a deep fire-proof Dutch oven or skillet on a gas grill over medium heat, stirring frequently, until crisp and the fat is rendered, 15 to 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain. Pour the accumulated grease into a small heat-resistant bowl and return 2 tablespoons of the grease to the pan. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cranberries and cook until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Return the bacon to the pan and stir in the Zinfandel, sugar, barbecue sauce, vinegar, chile powder, paprika, and cumin. Simmer, stirring frequently, until most of liquid is absorbed, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool slightly. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and pulse 6 to 8 times just until coarsely chopped; do not over-process. Transfer the jam to a medium fire-proof saucepan with a lid, stir in the pepper, cover, and set aside.

Meanwhile, to make the slaw, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, sugar, celery seed, mustard, pepper, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, carrots, pickles, and onion. Stir the dressing into the cabbage mixture. Cover and refrigerate until assembling the burgers.

To make the patties, combine the barbecue sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, coriander, pepper, allspice, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Spread the ground chuck out in a large shallow pan and, handling the meat as little as possible, evenly mix the sauce mixture into the meat. Shape into 6 equal patties to fit the rolls.

Heat the grill to medium-high. When the grill is ready, brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until nicely charred and done to preference, 4 to 6 minutes on each side for medium. Meanwhile, place the saucepan with the bacon jam, covered, on the outer edge of the rack to heat thoroughly. During the last few minutes of cooking, top each patty evenly with the cheese and place the rolls, cut side down, on the outer edges of the rack to toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, place equal portions of the slaw on each roll bottom, followed by a cheese-topped patty. Lightly spread 3 heaping tablespoons of the  jam on top of each patty, add the roll tops, and serve with napkins.