Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Burgers with Crispy Onion Straws
If you say you don’t enjoy the occasional visit to Red Robin, you’re lying. I don’t know anyone in the whole world that doesn’t go there for the bottomless steak fries alone. You know you love them. But we’re not talking fries, today. We’re talkin’ burgers. And believe it or not, this recipe was inspired by my go-to order on the rare occasion I frequent a Red Robin: The Whisky River BBQ Chicken Burger. Something about the crispy, savory onions, sweet and smoky barbecue sauce and juicy chicken is just the best combo.
So here we have my version. We have juicy grilled chicken slathered in a bourbon-infused barbecue sauce (which starts with store-bought bbq sauce, you’re welcome), the requisite crisp, leafy lettuce and juicy tomatoes, smoky gouda, and those crispy onions to bring it all together on a barely toasted brioche bun. Summer chicken burger perfection.
Bourbon Barbecue Chicken Burgers With Crispy Onion Straws
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 c store-bought barbecue sauce, plus more for spreading on buns (use your fave, Trader Joe’s has an awesome selection)
2 T bourbon or whisky
4 slices smoked gouda cheese (could also sub sharp cheddar)
1 large beefsteak or heirloom tomato, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
4 leaves iceberg lettuce
onion straws (recipe below)
4 brioche buns, lightly toasted
avocado oil, for greasing grill
mayo, for spreading on buns
1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced into half moons
1 c full-fat buttermilk
2 c all purpose flour
salt and pepper, to taste
avocado or other neutral oil, for frying
make the onion straws
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add in enough oil to fill the skillet up about half an inch. In a large shallow dish, add the buttermilk and onions and mix around to fully coat the onions. Add the flour to a large shallow dish and season generously with salt and pepper. Working with a few onions at a time, use a slotted spoon to drain off most of the buttermilk and add to the flour. Toss around to coat then add to the oil. Cook for just a minute or two, until golden-brown. Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt while still hot. Repeat with the rest of the onions. Set aside while you assemble the burgers.
grill the chicken
Add the barbecue sauce and bourbon to a small saucepan over medium heat and cook for a few minutes, until warmed through and just beginning to bubble. Remove from heat and set aside. Heat a cast-iron grill pan, outdoor grill, or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Brush the chicken on both sides with barbecue sauce. Brush the grill with avocado oil and lay down the chicken breasts, working in batches if necessary. Grill for about 6 minutes then flip and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 175 F. Add the cheese slices and place a lid on top or a tent a piece of foil on top and let the cheese get melty, about a minute or so.
Slather the top and bottom buns with more barbecue sauce and mayo then on the bottom bun layer on lettuce, a tomato slice, chicken breast, and a pile of onion straws. Top with a top bun and serve with chips or fries! Enjoy!