Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pig Candy BBQ Cheeseburger

The French have the mirepoix.  Cajuns have "the trinity".  What do tailgaters have?  Bacon, cheese, and bbq sauce!  

Seriously, try to name one tailgate food that can't be improved with the addition of one or more of these.  So when Bush Beans sponsored a tailgate for us recently, I went "all in" and used all three for a great burger.   Since our tailgate had limited cooking set ups, I wanted a burger that could be made at home, transported and then quickly put together onsite. 

Instead of cramming a bunch of toppings into a cooler and carrying them with us, I crammed a bunch of toppings into a BBQ Cheese sauce and cooked some bacon.  They were really good the first time at the tailgate and they went great with the Maple Cured Bacon flavor of Bush's Baked Beans.  

But the beans tastes of cured bacon and real maple syrup, slow-simmered with a secret blend of seasonings, were whispering to me.  They kept saying "sweet" and "bacon".  I finally realized what they were telling me this burger really wanted....PIG CANDY!!!!! 

Bacon + Sugar + Spicy = Pig Candy

Pig Candy BBQ Cheeseburger
serves: 6

For The Burgers
  • 3 lbs ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 hamburger buns

For the Pig candy
  • 1 lb smoked bacon
  • 1/2 cup turbinado sugar (you can substitute brown sugar)
  • 1 tsp BBQ rub (or 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper)

For the BBQ Cheese Sauce
  • 1 Tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (we used colby jack this time but medium cheddar works great)
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix together the bacon, sugar, and bbq rub, thoroughly coating the bacon with the seasoning.
  2. Cook the bacon at 375f according to package directions for "baking".  Instead, I cooked mine at 375f indirect with coal and cherry wood on my grill. 
  3. Preheat a sauce pan over medium high heat.  Melt butter and saute the jalapeno for 2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the flour and stir constantly for another 3-4 minutes until a blonde roux forms. 
  5. Reduce heat to medium and whisk in the half and half.
  6. Whisk in the red pepper flake and cheese in small batches, allowing the cheese to melt before adding more.
  7. Add the BBQ sauce, taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper as needed.   We just added a pinch of each.
  8. Store BBQ Cheese sauce in a thermos and it will stay warm for several hours.
  9. Mix the burgers together and divide into a dozen 4-ounce patties.   
  10. Grill the patties on a 450f charcoal grill for 4 minutes per side.
  11. Assemble each burger from the bottom up:  bun - burger - 2 slices pig candy - burger - 2 or 3 Tbsp BBQ cheese sauce - bun.  
  • The pig candy amounts will give you 4 extra pieces.  Tell no one.  They are yours to cherish and devour.  
  • Wash your hands with really cold water before making the patties and keep your beef well chilled while forming the patties.

They were very good at the tailgate with regular bacon.  But Pig Candy wins every time.

Notice the "custom cherry wood rack divider"...it is very expensive equipment ;) 
The BBQ cheese sauce brings a ton of flavor but makes it portable.

Pig Candy BBQ Cheeseburger with Bush's Baked Beans - Maple Cured Bacon

Bush Beans Gameday Giveaway

And now for the lucky winner of the tailgating package sponsored by Bush's Beans......

#12 - Big Dude said...I mentioned the give away on my blog - http://bigdudesramblings.blogspot.com/2011/11/grilled-cheese-for-breakfast.html

WOW!  Not only was Larry also #1 to enter this contest (as well as #12), Bev and Larry have hosted the East TN food blogger get together for the past two years.   I almost wanted to re-draw because it looks "funny" with another Knoxville blog winning from my Knoxville blog sponsored by a Knoxville company but Alexis said, "No way, he won it fair and square!".   

Congratulations, Larry!  Email me your address.  

Thanks everyone and get ready for my December giveaway - a nice boxed set gift package for the BBQ lover. 


  1. Larry, Congradulations!! It should be great on the Poontoon Boat!

    And chris thanks for you cheese receipe, looks great


  2. This looks amazing. I love the "Pig Candy" and the cheese sauce sounds wonderful, too!

  3. Pig Candy? The name is killing me, but the idea still has me drooling. I've been pondering the whole sugared bacon thing for months now, wondering if I should dare try it. I already have quite the love affair with bacon as it is. These burgers look fantastic, Chris.

  4. No way, he did win it fair and square and Alexis is right. Congrats Larry & Bev. A very deserving win.

    Love your pig candy Chris and the BBQ mirepoix. I will remember that.

  5. Okay. This may be the most beautiful burger I've ever seen! That picture is so stunning...I just sat here and stared, mouth watering for a solid 5 minutes. Y.U.M.

  6. Everything about that makes me want to jump through the screen and eat it!

  7. Oh my goodness! I just drooled all over my keyboard. I can only imagine how good that must have tasted. Wow!

  8. Pig Candy...yes please! BBQ cheese sauce?!? Holy Heart Attack Batman! Perfect timing on this dish Chris as Lipitor is now available as a generic! But you forgot something...Tailgaters have "the QUAD"...bacon, cheese, BBQ sauce and BEER! If you caint warsh it down then it aint edible!

  9. Whoa! You are one of the first bloggers to use pig candy like this. Hey, you may even be THE first! We should make an award for you. Love, love, love the cheese sauce too.

  10. My cardiologist just put another kid through college just from the impact looking at this had on me. What a great looking burger!

  11. Oh Chris you are making me so happy right now. You know my love of bacon! But pig candy?!?! Oh boy I've gotta try this stuff. Plus I love sweet & salty combos. And your cheese sauce looks just beautiful! I bookmarked this bad boy!

  12. The pig candy and BBQ cheese sauce look SO good! I will be making this to go with our burgers next time.

  13. OMG OMG OMG, did I say OMG yet?

  14. First, congrats to Larry on the giveaway!! What a great little gift he received :)

    Second, I think I just found my favorite burger, and I haven't even eaten it yet! Chris, you are a true genius... I'm not worthy, I'm not worthy!!!

  15. Lucky Larry! He won my apron giveaway too. The burger looks wonderful - truly mouth watering!

  16. I would tailgate with you anytime! Awesome.


  17. You are so right about the Pig Candy! Love that stuff! Never had it on a burger but that needs to change. The cheese sauce looks incredible! I want that burger right now even though I already ate dinner!

  18. Chris - I think the tailgaters ingredients win it hands down and your burgers look outstanding. I've got to try the sauce and pig candy at some point - I've been resisting adding sugar to already fattening bacon. I'm really excited to win and intentionally waited a while to add my Facebook comment so I wouldn't have entry's 1 & 2 - glad I did. Most of the prize package will become part or our RV gear when we travel.

  19. You could win me over with just about anything sweet-and-salty. It's really THE ultimate flavor combo.

  20. Darn Chris, you're pics are literally jumping out the pages begging me to eat them. I love candied bacon and the mixture of that with the burger and cheese sauce- OMG! :)

  21. i don't know if there are two words that have ever brought a smile to my face like "pig candy" LOVE IT! and i love that burger, so yummy.

  22. "Pig candy" it sounds like heaven to me! Love, love your pictures,Chris!


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