Carolina Burger

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Active: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 Carolina burgers
North Carolinians know how to pile it on: This burger is topped with cheese, chili and onions — plus a serving of slaw. Duke’s Grill in Monroe has had a Carolina burger on its menu since 1951, but the favorite is all over the region now: Wendy’s added it to the menu in North and South Carolina locations in 2019!


For the Chili:

For the Slaw:

For the Burgers:


  1. Make the chili: Heat the vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the yellow onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, oregano, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, stirring, until the onion is coated, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add the beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper to the pan and continue to cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, 1/2 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chili is thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt.
  3. Meanwhile, make the slaw: Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar and granulated sugar in a medium bowl. Add the coleslaw mix and toss to coat; season with salt and pepper. 
  4. Make the burgers: Mix the beef with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper in a large bowl. Form into four 4-inch-wide patties (about 1/2 inch thick). Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side for medium, topping each patty with a slice of cheese in the last 2 minutes of cooking.
  5. Spread the mustard on the bottoms of the buns. Serve the burgers on the buns and top with the chili, white onion and slaw.