Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible


Stubb’s Barbecued Blue Cheese Burgers

By Steven Raichlen

Photo credit: All photos by Rob Baas

This recipe is brought to you with support from our sponsor, Stubb’s, who provided the samples and advertising support.

Sometimes less is more. Sometimes more is more. Consider the Bar-B-Q Spice Rub by Stubb’s. The primary ingredients are simple—salt, pepper, garlic, and paprika—but like Stubb’s iconic barbecue sauce, its rub delivers a wallop of flavor.

Which brings us to a recent mash-up we did with barbecue and burgers. The two are related, of course, but involve different live fire cooking techniques. Burgers call for high heat, barbecue, low; barbecue cooks away from the heat for a long time, burgers sizzle directly over the fire. This burger combines the best of both.

To make a barbecue burger, you sprinkle burgers with Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub. Leave it on long enough for the rub to partially penetrate the meat—a half hour or so will do it. During that time, build your fire, adding hickory chips or chunks (or those of your favorite hardwood) to impart a smoke flavor to the fire.

And because barbecue is all about building layers of flavor, stuff slices of blue cheese into the center of each burger, then pile bacon, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and avocado onto the butter-grilled bun.

The result: a burger bursting with rich barbecue flavors, of such prodigious dimensions, it takes both hands to lift and stretches your mandibles to take a bite.


  • Yield: Serves 4
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  • 2 pounds ground beef, 18 to 20 percent fat, well-chilled
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, coarsely crumbled
  • Stubb’s Beef or Bar-B-Q Spice Rub
  • 4 strips bacon, halved crosswise
  • 4 slices red onion (1/4-inch thick—optional)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 kaiser rolls or pretzel buns, split and lightly buttered
  • 4 lettuce leaves
  • 4 slices red ripe tomato
  • 1 ripe avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1/4 cup Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce, or to taste

Step 1: Line a rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Divide the ground beef into 8 equal balls. Run your hands under cold running, then form the balls into flat patties slightly larger than the diameter of the buns, placing them on the prepared baking sheet. (Use a light touch and avoid over-handling the meat.)

Step 2: Divide the blue cheese equally between 4 patties, leaving a margin on each patty of 1/2 inch. Top with the remaining patties, and using your fingertips, seal the edges so the cheese doesn’t leak out during grilling.

Step 3: Generously season both sides of each burger with Stubb’s Beef or Bar-B-Q Spice Rub. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Step 4: Brush the onion slices with olive oil, if using, and season on both sides with Bar-B-Que Spice Rub.

Step 5: Set up the grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Brush and oil the grill grate. Grill the bacon, onion, and burgers until browned on both sides and cooked through (the internal temperature of the burgers should be 160 degrees), 3 to 6 minutes per side. (Move the bacon as needed to dodge flare-ups.) Transfer these ingredients to a platter.

Step 6: Meanwhile, toast the buns on the grill for 1 to 2 minutes, taking care not to burn them.

Step 7: To assemble, place a lettuce leaf on the bottom of each bun, followed by a burger, bacon, tomato, avocado, and red onion, if using. Spoon Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce on top. Replace the top halves of the buns. You’ll need both hands to eat this one!