Jack Daniels Burgers. These juicy, glazed cheeseburgers taste just like the ones at T.G.I. Friday’s. The sweet, sticky glaze (and a few tips) will take your typical backyard burgers to the next level.
Like most of the recipes I share here, this one started with an obsession. Unlike the rest, however, the obsession wasn’t mine at first. In fact, I’d never eaten Jack Daniels Burgers before I first tried to create this recipe years ago. Actually, I’d never eaten any burger– at least not since I was old enough to remember.
(I had strange food aversions back then, to say the least. Who would have thought I’d wind up here?)
I did wind up at Friday’s too often back in high school, though, usually after a shift working down the street at the mall’s Auntie Anne’s. It was one of the few near-by places to sit and eat that was open past 11, and it was priced reasonably enough for a 17-year-old girl who flipped pretzels part-time to afford. Most importantly, it’s where my friend Wesley would suggest eating, and being that I have always been the least decisive person ever, I went along with any opportunity to not have to pick.
On the subject of being the least decisive person, I always had a hard time picking what to eat (even though I’d eaten there only days before). But Wesley… Wesley never had to even look at a menu. He always ordered Jack Daniels Burgers. ALWAYS. Twice, three times a week.
There’s that obsession I was talking about.
And if there ever was a burger that seemed appealing to me, it was the Jack Daniels burgers he would order, shimmering with the sticky glaze, complete with melted cheese and crispy bacon poking out from the sides of the bun.
So when I found myself in charge of a cookout for the first time since starting my blog (and since we’d stopped going to Friday’s years before), Jack Daniels Burgers were the first thing that came to mind. I couldn’t just make any boring burger that I’d slap on the grill– I was there to impress. And to try my first burger, apparently.
So I researched. And after days of pouring through cook books and online forums and every resource I could get my burger-hungry hands on, I felt confident enough to step up to the grill. Or I guess I should say the stove, because the real key to making these burgers live up to their full potential lies in that whiskey glaze.
The glaze is simple to make– just throw it all in a saucepan and let it simmer until it reduces to a nearly-syrupy consistency. I make a big batch because it saves well in the fridge, and I use the leftovers for everything from shrimp to ribs to chicken and even to brush on vegetables that I throw on the grill. I’ve even given the glaze as a gift before. Packed up in a mason jar, it’s been the perfect birthday gift for Wesley year after year.
And the great thing about the glaze is that as it simmers, I’m able to prepare the other burger ingredients. I form my patties (complete with indents on the top to stop them from swelling up), cook the bacon, and slice up the onion and tomato so they’re ready to go by the time my burgers come off the grill. I even have a chance to make the Grilled Fries that I always serve alongside my burgers. No time wasted!
Except, of course, for all of that time in my life that I went without eating burgers. After taking one bite of a Jack Daniels burger for the first time, I finally understood what I’d been missing out on. I was hooked.
Some say I’ve been on a burger bender ever since.
Can you blame me? With juicy ground sirloin, flavorful Jack Daniels glaze, melted white cheddar cheese, perfectly crunchy bacon, lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, and a grilled brioche bun, this burger has it all. It’s a game-changer.
Oh, and I wasn’t the only one who loved these burgers the first time I made them (and every time since then). James loved them. My family still requests them. And most importantly, there was one for Wesley. “Tastes just like the original,” he said. “Actually, it’s better.
“You know, I’m kind of obsessed with it.”Print
These delicious burgers taste almost exactly like the ones from TGI Friday’s, but– dare I say– even better. Even if you’re a beginner at the grill, I’ll walk you through every step for the most impressive burger you’ve ever made.
For the Jack Daniels Glaze:
- 1 cup water
- 1 ½ cups pineapple juice
- 1/2 cup teriyaki sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 cups brown sugar
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup white onion, finely minced
- 1/4 cup Jack Daniels Whiskey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Burgers:
- 2 pounds ground sirloin (or other ground beef, with around 20% fat)
- Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
- 6 slices white cheddar or provolone cheese
- 12 slices bacon (about 1/2 of a one pound package)
- 6 hamburger buns
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 6 large leaves lettuce
- Hamburger pickle chips
For the Jack Daniels Glaze:
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the water, pineapple juice, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally, and then immediately reduce to a low simmer. Add the remaining glaze ingredients and stir to combine.
- Let the mixture simmer for about an hour, or until it becomes syrupy and reduces by half. Don’t turn up the heat if you can avoid it, low heat is key to making the perfect glaze without burning the sugar. Be sure not to let the glaze boil up.
For the Burgers:
- Divide the ground sirloin into 6 equal-sized portions. They should be about the size of tennis balls.
- Very gently, round out each ball and then flatten each ball to create your patty. You want to make sure to do this all very gently, and you don’t want to over-handle the meat.
- Gently press your thumb into the center of each patty to make a slight indent. This will prevent the burgers from bloating as they cook, so you won’t have to flatten them while grilling. Season with salt and pepper and set aside while you prepare the bacon.
- Cover a baking pan with aluminum foil and line out your bacon on top. The bacon can be very close together, but you don’t want it to overlap. You may need to use two pans.
- Place the pan or pans in the cold oven and then heat to 400° F.
- After 17 minutes, check your bacon. If it’s completely crispy, take it out. If not, check every 3 minutes until it is done. Transfer the bacon to a paper towel lined plate to absorb excess grease.
- Preheat the grill to high heat. When it’s ready, place the burgers on the hottest part of the grill.
- After 5 minutes or so, you should notice the juices as they begin to fill the divots in the top of your burger. This means that the meat is cooking in the middle, and they should be ready to be flipped.
- Gently flip the burgers and grill for about a minute before you brushing on the Jack Daniels glaze using a basting brush. Let cook for another 2 minutes, and then top with the cheese. Close the lid to melt the provolone cheese onto the burger. When the cheese is melted (it should only take a minute or so), you’re ready to serve the burger.
- If you’re not sure your burgers are done, check with an instant read thermometer. The USDA recommends at least 160°F for ground meat. All grills are different, so if you’re not sure, it’s better to check.
- Let the burgers sit as you toast the buns. Then, add a little extra glaze to the bottom of each bun, then add the burger and all of the fixings you like! Serve immediately.
This recipe makes more glaze than necessary for the 6 burgers, but reserve the rest for later.
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