Meatloaf Burgers with Bourbon Bacon Tomato Jam

I did it, y’all.

I created the most delicious concoction ever.

The best part? It all came from my brain. This entire recipe I made up in one day with only ingredients I had on hand.

Here’s how it all went down: On Sunday, I had everything I needed to make meatloaf. However, I didn’t want just meatloaf. Bleh. Boring. I wanted something more. So, I thought to myself, “what is meatloaf?”

Well, first and foremost, meatloaf is made of hamburger meat. BINGO! Hamburgers! I could make a MEATLOAF into a BURGER! Wonderful idea! I had these homemade hamburger buns from the farmer’s market that I could use anyway! How come nobody has ever made a meatloaf burger before?!? It’s brilliant!FullSizeRender (100)

So…what else goes on burgers? Ketchup! I don’t know how to make my own ketchup, but I do know how to make a jam-like sauce, so I could do that with some grape tomatoes I had just bought. I also had some leftover bacon from making my Asparagus Poppers, so I could throw that in the jam as well. I added a red bell pepper to the tomatoes & bacon, and—thinking I needed a twist to make the sauce slightly sweet & delightful—I threw in a Texan’s favorite beverage: Dr. Pepper. I mixed that with a little bit of Jim Beam bourbon and BOOM! A jam, and a recipe, was born.

A beautiful sight: bourbon and Dr. Pepper.


I cannot begin to describe to you how fantastic this jam tasted…it hit ALL of the high notes. The roasted tomatoes and bell pepper were so succulent and juicy. The jam was pure perfection. Heck, the BURGERS were pure perfection.

I felt like every time I took a bite, angels whispered sweet nothings in my ear. The tomatoes burst, the cheese melted, and the crispy rendered fat on the edges of the meatloaf waltzed across my tastebuds.

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Meatloaf Burgers with Bourbon Bacon Tomato Jam

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1.5 cups Italian bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 TBS. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 1 TBS. fresh thyme, minced
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

For the Jam:

  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 TBS. olive oil
  • 8 strips of bacon
  • 3 TBS. bourbon (I used Jim Beam)
  • 1/4 cup Dr. Pepper

For the Burgers:

  • 4-6 hamburger buns
  • shredded cheddar cheese

    Pro Tip: Take off all rings before making meatloaf.
  1. Make the meatloaf: In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add onions and green bell pepper, cook until translucent but not fully cooked, about 3-4 minutes. Add thyme, basil, parsley, Worcestershire and beef broth, stir. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer until liquid is reduced by half, about 8-9 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.IMG_2578
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic powder, salt and pepper and eggs. Add onion mixture and mix until well combined. If meat isn’t holding together so well, add more breadcrumbs. Mold meat mixture into a loaf pan and bake at 325 degrees for about 1 hour.IMG_2579
  3. Now make the jam: toss grape tomatoes, red bell pepper, olive oil, salt and pepper together on a rimmed baking sheet. Lay thyme sprigs over veggies. Roast at 450 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the skin on the tomatoes and bell peppers have blistered. Discard thyme and let veggies cool. Once cool, dice bell peppers.IMG_2581
  4. In large skillet, fry strips of bacon until crispy. Drain bacon on paper towels and crumble once cool. Reserve bacon drippings. IMG_2583
  5. Add onion to bacon drippings. Saute over medium high heat until browned. Add tomatoes and bell pepper, stir, cooking for 2 minutes. Add bourbon and Dr. Pepper to the skillet. Let simmer, uncovered, until liquid has reduced by half (about 10-15 minutes), stirring frequently until mixture is thick and well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add crumbled bacon.IMG_2584IMG_2585
  6. In another skillet, heat pan to medium high heat. Slice meatloaf into 1″-2″ thick slices. Add slices, one at a time, to hot pan. Sear both sides of the meatloaf until fat has rendered and slightly carmelized, about 2-3 minutesIMG_2589
  7. Assemble the burgers: Toast burger buns, then smear tomato jam onto the bottom bun. Add seared meatloaf on top of that and sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on top. FullSizeRender (96)FullSizeRender (98)


Yes, a lot of work for a meal. But trust me, it is well worth it. Searing the meatloaf after you’ve baked it gives you that nice burger taste with the caramelized fat around the edges. The sharp cheddar cheese I added was a nice touch, it balanced out the sweetness of the jam.

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I was so impressed with the jam, though; it was the piece de resistance of the meal. Roasting the tomatoes and red bell pepper made this jam so much better, it brought out the flavor in both of the veggies.




5 thoughts on “Meatloaf Burgers with Bourbon Bacon Tomato Jam

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