2018 Derby Burger

D to the Double B (Derby Bourbon Burger)

by Jay Neubacher from Louisville, KY 


2 pounds Ground Beef

2 tablespoons olive oil

16 ounces sliced cremini mushrooms

1 onion, thinly sliced

6 Brioche hamburger buns

6 slices provolone cheese

6 pieces sliced bacon, cooked crisp and crumbled 


Spice Mix:

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon all-purpose seasoning blend (such as Old Bay)

1 tablespoon bourbon smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

Burger Sauce:

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3/4 cup ketchup

1 whole chipotle pepper in adobo sauce



Shredded lettuce


  1. Make Spice Mix: Mix all ingredients in small bowl. Set aside. *Cook's tip: You may substitute smoked paprika for bourbon smoked paprika.
  2. Make Burger Sauce: Combine mayonnaise, ketchup, chipotle pepper and 2 teaspoons prepared Spice Mix in food processor or blender. Cover and pulse on and off until pureed. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. *Cook's tip: Spice Mix and Burger Sauce can be prepared a day ahead. Store Burger Sauce covered in refrigerator.
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Add mushrooms, onions, and 2 teaspoons Spice Mix; cook 20 minutes until mushrooms and onions are tender and browned, stirring occasionally. Remove; keep warm.
  4. Lightly shape Ground Beef into six 3/4 inch thick patties. Sprinkle with Spice Mix evenly onto patties (about 1/2 teaspoon per side).
  5. Place patties in center of grid over medium, ash-covered coals. Grill, covered, 11 to 15 minutes (over medium head on preheated gas grill, 13 to 14 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. About 2 minutes before burgers are done, place buns, cut-side down, on grid. Grill until lightly toasted. During last minute of grilling, top each burger with cheese. *Cook's tip: Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Ground beef should be cooked to an internal cooking temperature of 160°F. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness. You may substitute hamburger buns for brioche hamburger buns. 
  6. Place burgers on bottoms of buns. Top burgers with mushroom mixture and bacon. Top with Burger Sauce and lettuce. Close sandwiches. *Cook's tip: Extra Spice Mix and Burger Sauce can be used to season and dip your French fries!


Don't forget to try the Derby Burger at select Kentucky Derby Festival Events including Kroger's Fest-a-Ville and BeerFest, in Louisville Kroger stores, and at Napa River Grill in May!

While you're here...

check out last year's winning Derby Burger!

Total Recipe Time: 35 minutes

Chilling Time: 2 days

Makes 4 Servings


 Pickled Red Onions:

1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1-1/2 teaspoons black peppercorns

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 cups thinly sliced red onions

1/2 cup bourbon

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup honey

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided


 1 pound ground beef (80% lean) 

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 tablespoons instant granulated coffee

3 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder

4 slices provolone cheese

4 medium pretzel buns

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt



1. To prepare picked red onions, add salt, peppercorns and thyme to 16-ounce Mason jar; top with onions. Combine bourbon, apple cider vinegar and honey in small saucepan; bring to a boil over medium heat. Carefully pour hot bourbon mixture over onions, making sure to cover all ingredients. Seal jar; let stand for 1 hour or until mixture reaches room temperature. Refrigerate minimum of 2 days prior to serving.

2. Combine ground beef, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper in medium bowl; mixing lightly but thoroughly. Shape into four 1/2-inch patties. Combine coffee and cocoa powder in small bowl; mix well. Place coffee mixture on large plate. Dredge both sides burger patty in coffee mixture, pressing lightly to coat.

3. Heat large nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Generously coat with nonstick spray. Place patties in skillet; cook 10 to 12 minutes until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally.

4. Lightly brush each pretzel bun with olive oil. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. In same skillet, place bun face down; toast 30 seconds to 1 minute until golden brown.

5. Place patty on bottom bun. Top each patty with one slice provolone cheese and pickled red onions, as desired. Close sandwiches.


Cook's Tip:

To Grill: Place patties on grid over medium, ash covered coals. Grill, covered 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally.










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