My favorite cheeseburger hands down is a basic burger: maybe something with cheese, lettuce, tomato, a little mayo. That’s usually what I seek out the first time I’m visiting a spot known for its cheeseburgers. Next on the list after the “classic” version is some version of barbecue cheeseburger. I love the combination of meat, bun, cheese and barbecue sauce.
My taste for barbecue sauce on cheeseburgers is why the “Bronco Burger” was an attractive option when we recently planned a cookout at our house. The Bronco includes, among other delicious features, a homemade cherry cola barbecue sauce that offers a bit of a kick. The accompanying mozzarella cheese provides a cool down effect that pairs nicely with the sauce.
This burger recipe was a fun one to make alongside Molly. As I grilled the burgers in the backyard, she made the barbecue sauce in the kitchen. Let’s dive right into what you’ll need to make your own Bronco Burgers, along with the process for putting the burgers and sauce together.
1.5 pounds ground beef of your choice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon prepared chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
mozzarella cheese of your choice
sweet onion slices
dill pickle chips
Barbecue Sauce Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1.5 cups ketchup
1.25 cups cherry Coke (or your preferred cola)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup cherry preserves
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1. Melt butter in pan
2. Add onion and garlic and saute.
3. Whisk in remaining ingredients.
4. Bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Cook until mixture thickens.
The sauce will take you about 45 minutes. It takes a while to thicken in some cases.
1. Mix your cumin, chili powder, onion powder, salt and pepper into your meat.
2. Patty out into the size of burgers you’d like to eat.
3. Use your fingers to make an indentation in the centers of both sides of the burger patties to prevent them from forming a dome as they cook.
4. Refrigerate your burgers until you’re ready to grill them.
5. Grill until burgers are done as you desire.
6. Arrange burgers with cheese, pickles and onion on your buns and then top with preferred amount of barbecue sauce.
Molly’s Take: One step is left out of this phenomenal burger recipe: Enjoy! The sauce is killer and, despite the time it takes to cook, surprisingly easy to make. Drizzled on top of a perfectly-seasoned burger bursting with flavor and combined with the smoky taste and the texture of mozzarella, all sandwiched between a solid, fresh bun — this sauce is the microphone that makes that burger sing. Add in some pickles and onions and you’ve got a flavor explosion the likes of which I’ve never had at home in a homemade burger. In other words, if you’ve got a minute and a hot grill, try this and tell us what you thought.
Matthew’s Take: These Bronco Burgers are as tasty as any barbecue-sauced cheeseburgers I’ve had, and it’s all because of the barbecue sauce. The spice mixture that goes into the patties has its own role in this #FoodieScore experience, and the mozzarella cheese, pickles and onions create a nice mixture of textures and flavors, but it’s the homemade sauce that provides the lasting impression. And the best part? You can refrigerate the sauce and continue to use it on pork, chicken and other foods for a few weeks after making it. This is a winner if you like barbecue cheeseburgers. I give this one an A for taste, an A- for cost (you may have to buy some spices and items you won’t have on hand), and I give it a B for ease. The sauce took Molly some time and attention to cook. But hey, that’s the point. It wouldn’t be the same with a bottled barbecue sauce.