Chilli burger with bacon, cheese, cola barbecue sauce, thyme onion rings and sweet potato chunks

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Dinners / Pub food


It’s Sunday which means it’s easy pub food day! Today it is a moist and juicy chilli burger with smoked streaky bacon, melted Jarlsberg cheese, crispy thyme onions rings and coke cola barbecue sauce. The burger is served with soft and chewy sweet potato chunks and extra barbecue sauce for dipping. Oh yes! It is a super Sunday.

The trend for burgers has seen the dawn of more pop-ups, diners and gourmet fast-food joints. London in particular plays host to so many of these. However, this delight can be made and eaten in the comfort of your own home.

All of the flavours (the spicy burger, sweet and smokey sauce, salty bacon, nutty cheese, light crispy onion rings and caramelised sweet potatoes) are scrumptious. The recipe for the burger patty is adapted from What Katie Ate’s Aussie burgers. All you want from a burger patty is for it to be moist, meaty and well seasoned. The rest of the taste comes from the accompaniments but for extra flavour, I have used Aberdeen Angus minced beef.

This recipe involves a few different timings. The sweet potatoes and bacon both need to be cooked in the oven and the burger and onions rings need to be cooked just before you are ready to serve. Don’t get overly worried about this though. Once the sweet potatoes and bacon are ready, just turn the oven to low or off and then add the burgers and/or onion rings to keep warm until ready to serve. You will need to warm the burger bun in a low oven anyway and this means you will have a bit more time to get organised.



Ingredients (makes 6 burgers):

For the burgers:
800g minced beef
1 large onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
Small bunch parsley, finely chopped
12 slices smoked streaky bacon
6 slices Jarlsberg cheese
6 rolls or burger buns
Salt and pepper

For the barbecue sauce:
700ml coke cola
400g tomato ketchup
60ml cider vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon chilli powder (or to taste)
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

For the onion rings:
1 large onion, cut into 1 cm slices, rings separated 
140g self raising flour
180ml sparkling water
2 tablespoons thyme leaves, roughly chopped
Sunflower oil for frying

For the sweet potato chunks:
4 large or 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm chunks
4 – 5 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Barbecue sauce:

  • First make the barbecue sauce. Simply add all of the ingredients for the sauce to a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then simmer to allow the the sauce to thicken. This will take about 45 minutes. Allow the sauce to cool a little while before you are ready to serve it as this will help it to thicken even more.


Sweet potato chunks:

  • Heat the oven to 200 degrees celsius.
  • Place the diced sweet potato in a plastic sandwich bag or large bowl. Add the olive oil, paprika, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper and toss until the potato chunks are all coated.
  • Lay on a baking tray and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. The potatoes should be soft and golden brown on the outside. Keep an eye on them as they cook as the sugar makes the potatoes caramelise quite quickly. Don’t worry if some of the edges look a little darker on the outside. They aren’t burnt, just full of caramelised flavour.



  • Mix the mince, diced onion, chilli flakes, wholegrain mustard, dijon mustard, parsley, a good sprinkling of salt and pepper in a bowl until well combined. Divide the mixture into six and shape into burgers. Place on a plate lined with a piece of kitchen roll, cover with cling film and chill until ready to cook.
  • Place the slices of bacon on a baking tray and put in the oven to cook at 200 degrees celsius for 20 minutes until golden and crispy. When you are ready to cook the bacon, simply move the sweet potatoes to the bottom of the oven to allow them to keep warm while the bacon cooks. If the outside of the potatoes are looking a little bit brown at this stage, cover them with tin foil to stop the outside roasting any further.


Onion rings:

  • Add the oil to a heavy based sauce pan, no more than 1/3 full. Heat to 180 degrees celsius. It will take a good 5 – 10 minutes to reach the desired temperature.
  • Place the flour, thyme, a good pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add the sparkling water and mix. The batter will be quite gloopy. This is what you want so that the onion rings have a nice thick coating around them. The sparkling water makes the batter nice and light so they won’t feel heavy when cooked.
  • Using a fork, dip the onion slices in the batter until covered. Allow any excess batter to drip off before carefully submerging the onion rings into the hot oil. The onion rings will take about 2 -3 minutes to cook. They should be crispy and golden when ready. You will need to cook the onion rings in batches to prevent the temperature of the oil dropping too low. Once they are cooked, remove from the oil using a slotted spoon and place on a piece of kitchen towel to dry off any excess oil. These will be so hot so don’t worry about leaving them for a few minutes while you get the burgers ready. If you need bait of extra time though, just pop them in the oven (turned down to low) to keep warm.


To assemble:

  • Place the burger buns in a low oven to warm.
  • Heat a dry pan over a medium-high heat to cook the burgers. You want the pan to be really hot so give it 2 minutes or so to warm up. Add the burgers to the pan. I like the burgers medium so cook for 2 minutes on each side pressing them down with the back of a fish slice as they cook. If you like them more well done, cook the burgers for 1 – 2 minutes longer on each side. Once you have cooked the burgers on the first side and turned them over, add the cheese to allow it to melt.
  • Smear some barbecue sauce on the bottom of the bun. Top with the burger patty, two slices of crispy bacon, a little more barbecue sauce and then an onion ring. Place the burger bun on top.
  • Serve with a pile of potato chunks and some extra barbecue sauce on the side.

A meaty Sunday treat!


The Author

I am a food lover with a passion for cooking and entertaining inspired by two very special grandmothers and a fabulous mum. I recently moved to London which has provided a plethora of new places, cultures and fascinations to stir up some underlying creativity. My hope is to share some cooking and entertaining ideas which I like and others seem to like too. I will also throw in the odd bit of Scottish flare to make sure I maintain my true braveheart roots. Hope you enjoy!

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