For the sweet bourbon sauce:
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup bourbon
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/3 cup sesame oil
- 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced onion
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the burgers:
- 2 pounds USDA choice Angus ground chuck
- Salt, pepper and garlic salt
- 12 slices thick-cut smokehouse bacon, cooked until crispy
- 6 thick slices smoked cheddar cheese
- 6 fresh bakery buns, toasted and buttered
Make the sauce: In a bowl, mix the cornstarch, confectioners' sugar, cayenne pepper, salt and black pepper. In a large saut e pan over low heat, combine the bourbon, 1 cup water, the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, sesame oil, vinegar, mustard, garlic, onion, Tabasco, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Bring up the heat to a simmer and slowly add the dry mix to the wet, whisking vigorously as you go. When the mixture is well combined, cook about 1 more minute. Turn off the heat.
Preheat a grill or griddle over medium-high heat.
Make the burgers: Form the meat into 6 patties. Lightly season with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Grill the patties to medium, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Add 2 strips of bacon to each patty. Melt a thick slice of smoked cheese over each bacon burger.
Place the burgers between the buns, drizzling a generous amount of bourbon sauce on each burger.
Photograph by Jennifer Causey