Southwest Redeye Burgers with Ancho Coffee Rub and Chipotle Barbeque Sauce

Pairs well with:


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

I decided to create this burger after reading about redeye gravy, a coffee-based gravy originally created by cowboys back in the 1800s. I thought it would be interesting to incorporate coffee into a rub for a burger. Rubs are a great way to quickly add flavor and the coffee is nice because it goes well with the smoky flavors in the burger and adds depth of flavor without an overpowering coffee taste. Mixed with the brown sugar, it also adds a nice crust to the burgers. I complement the burgers with a homemade barbeque sauce using Southwest flavors like chipotles in adobo to add heat. And to complement these flavors, I also incorporate sharp cheddar cheese, sweet sauteed onions, smoky bacon, and fresh, bright slices of tomato. Enjoy!


Sautéed Onions:
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon light brown sugar, packed
¼ teaspoon salt

Chipotle Barbeque Sauce:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 ½ teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons minced chipotles in adobo
1 teaspoon adobo sauce
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 ½ cups water
1/3 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon light brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 ½ tablespoons molasses
3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 lbs. ground beef chuck, preferably organic grass-fed
¼ cup grated yellow onion
1 ½ teaspoons salt
¾ teaspoon black pepper

Ancho Coffee Rub:
2 tablespoons finely ground strong coffee
4 teaspoons ancho chili powder
4 teaspoons light brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt

12 slices Applewood smoked bacon
Canola oil for brushing the grill rack
6 slices sharp cheddar cheese
6 good quality onion rolls, split
2 vine ripened tomatoes, sliced into 12 slices


Preheat a gas grill over medium heat.

To make the sauteed onions, heat the oil in a large fireproof skillet on the grill. Add the onions and stir to coat with the oil. Season the onions with the brown sugar and salt. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are golden and softened. Place the onions in a bowl and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, make the chipotle barbecue sauce. Heat the butter in a medium fireproof saucepan on the grill. When melted, add the onion and garlic and cook 3-4 minutes until onions are slightly softened. Stir in the chipotles, adobo sauce, salt, water, vinegar, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the molasses and tomato paste. Simmer until sauce is thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from grill and keep warm.

To make the patties, combine the ground beef, grated onion, salt, and pepper in a large bowl being careful not to overwork the meat. Form the meat into 6 patties, making a slight indentation in the center of each one so that the patties cook evenly. Place the patties on a plate.

To make the ancho coffee rub, mix the coffee, ancho chili powder, brown sugar, and salt together in a small bowl. Sprinkle approximately 1 teaspoon of the rub on each side of the burger patties and pat it in. Set aside.

Cook the bacon in a large fireproof skillet on the grill until crispy. Cover with aluminum foil to keep it warm and set aside.

Turn the heat on the grill to medium high and brush the grill rack with oil. Place the burger patties on the grill, cover and cook for 4-6 minutes, then flip over and cook another 4-6 minutes for medium doneness. During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking, top each burger with a slice of cheese and close the grill to melt it. During the last 2 minutes of cooking, place the onion rolls cut side down on the edges of the grill and toast lightly.

To assemble the burgers, slather the bun tops and bottoms with some chipotle barbeque sauce. Place each patty on a bun bottom and top with 2 slices of bacon, 2 slices of tomato, and a mound of sauteed onions. Add the bun tops and serve.