Red, White and Blueberry Burger

The original Red, White and Blueberry Burger recipe by Cakewalker showcases the essence of American food and culture. Nothing says Fourth of July or any summertime BBQ more than this award-winning burger!

Red White and Blueberry Burger

When the Los Angeles Times challenged burgermeisters from across the country for their best burger recipes, the gauntlet was thrown down! I’m always up for a challenge, but I must admit, the notion of switching gears to share a different facet of my kitchen experience gave me a wee bit of trepidation. What would happen if I put the buttercream frosting aside for a while? Would Cakewalker friends abandon me if I picked up a wide spatula for flipping burgers instead of pastry bags?

Sutter Street in Old Town Folsom

Where I live: Sutter Street in Old Town Folsom at the Folsom Mercantile Exchange, circa 1856.

I had to test the waters, so I wrote up a recipe and baked some burger buns one day. It was still baking, right? And I made sure to keep close to sweet by using a nice measure of brown sugar in the recipe. Still, dare I do an about face? I posted a picture of those buns cooling on the stove onto Cakewalker’s Facebook fan page. And to my surprise and delight, friends wanted to know more about the buns!

Fresh baked Brown Sugar Burger Buns by Cakewalker

With your affirmative nod, the support of my family & friends and my promise to come back to things sugary sweet, I accepted the challenge and entered the first Los Angeles Times’ Battle of the Burgers. The requirements were simple: submit a recipe and an essay stating why it was the best, baddest burger out there—a photo to accompany the entry was highly encouraged, but not necessary. From nearly 90 entries, a public vote determined the 20 semi-finalists. Those 20 recipes were then tested by the LA Times Test Kitchen to which 5 were chosen from the paper’s Food staff as finalists. I’m so excited to tell you that the recipe for my Red, White & Blueberry Burger finished as a Top 5 finalist!

The Top 20 Burgers

Photo credit: courtesy of the Los Angeles Times, June 17, 2011   Test Kitchen & Interns

My sweet reward included an invitation to the LA Times to meet the staff, visit the Test Kitchen and have a photo taken to appear in print along with the burger recipe in the June 30, 2011 Food section of the Los Angeles Times—just in time for the Fourth of July holiday! My family and I were welcomed by the warm and gracious staff making our visit there the pinnacle of an extended Father’s Day weekend.

 Watch the LA Times “Battle of the Burgers” video

To answer the numerous requests for, and to mark the occasion of my first recipe published outside this blog, I present to you the essay, photo and recipe for the Red, White & Blueberry Burger. My heartfelt thanks to all of you for the support and votes—it made this joyous accomplishment that much sweeter!


On a recent Saturday afternoon I was intrigued by a Facebook post from the LA Times calling for the best burger recipes. By default, I’m wired sweet, but there’s an undeniable savory side to me as well. So I went to the garden for some inspiration keeping the Fourth of July tucked in the back of my mind. There I spied our blueberry plants whose green fruit was just starting to hint at a shade of blue. And the jalapeno plants were beginning to set flowers…spring was well underway and that’s when I sprang into action. My garden tour brought to mind some blueberry jam I had canned the previous summer and some chipotle peppers in Adobo—both within reach in the kitchen pantry.

To me, this is one of the best burgers ever because it showcases the essence of American food and culture. The gorgeous red ripeness of a grapefruit-sized Hot House tomato; its firm, yet tender flesh cut to release its juice. White onions born from our fields and sliced thin, floured and seasoned then fried in pork fat to a golden crisp. Under it, a sheet of artisan Point Reyes Blue Cheese perfectly melted and draped over a pure ground chuck beef patty grilled to perfection. What pulls it all together? My sweet and smoky Blueberry Chipotle BBQ sauce. The quintessential summer berry meets the melting pot of chili peppers in a bold sauce that captures both the sweet heart of America and the spirited fire in our bellies. And the hand-held meal is encased in a malty-sweet Brown Sugar Burger Bun. Nothing says Fourth of July or any summertime BBQ more than this Red, White & Blueberry Burger!

Red, White and Blueberry Burger by Cakewalker

Red White and Blueberry Burger

Red, White and Blueberry Burger

The original Red, White and Blueberry Burger recipe by Cakewalker showcases the essence of American food and culture. Nothing says Fourth of July or any summertime BBQ more than this award-winning burger!
5 from 21 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: barbecue sauce, blueberry, burger, chipotle, Fourth of July, grilling, holidays, Los Angeles Times, original
Prep Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 1001kcal
Author: Brooks Walker


Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp chipotle chilis (canned) chopped, about 3 chilis
  • tbsp adobo sauce from the chipotle chili can
  • 5 tbsp blueberry jam rounded, may use preserves

Fried Onions

  • 1/2 cup flour all-purpose
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt rounded
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper rounded, fresh ground
  • 1/4 tsp Creole seasoning rounded, like Tony Cachere's or Emeril Essence
  • 1/4 cup bacon fat rendered, or canola oil
  • 1 whole onion white, peeled and sliced very thin (about 1/16 inch) into strings or rings

Brown Sugar Burger Buns


Make the Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce

  • In a food processor, combine the ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, molasses, garlic, chipotle chiles, adobo sauce and blueberry jam.
  • Purée all the ingredients until very smooth. This makes about 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, which will keep, refrigerated in an airtight container, for up to 1 week.

For the Fried Onions

  • In a large plastic bag, combine the flour, baking powder, sea salt, pepper and Creole seasoning, shaking to thoroughly mix together. Add the onions and shake to coat. Transfer the onions to a bowl, tapping off any excess flour mixture.
  • In a cast-iron skillet heated over medium-high heat until hot, add the bacon fat. When the fat is hot, add the onions in small batches, frying until crisp and golden brown, three to five minutes per batch. Drain the onions on a paper towel and set aside.

Additional Burger components

  • Moist mesquite wood chips in a smoker device (or foil pouch) for the grill, if using an outdoor grill
  • Ground chuck hamburger patties (formed to match the width of the bun), seasoned with garlic salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 15 ounces blue cheese, preferably Point Reyes blue, sliced
  • Brown sugar burger buns, sliced in half
  • Curly red leaf lettuce leaves, washed and dried
  • Fresh tomato slices

Prepare the burgers

  • Heat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until hot. If using a grill, fit a smoker device (or foil pouch) with the mesquite wood chips to smoke while grilling.
  • Oil the grill top and add the burgers. Grill the burgers on each side until cooked through to desired doneness, eight to 12 minutes. Top the burgers with cheese and continue to grill just until the cheese melts, one to two minutes.
  • When the burgers are almost finished grilling, toast the buns: Place the buns, cut side down, on the grill to lightly toast. Remove the burgers and buns.
  • Assemble the burgers: Dress the cut sides (top and bottom) of each burger with a good spread of barbecue sauce. Top each bun bottom with a burger patty. Top the cheese with another dollop of barbecue sauce, and then divide the onions, mounding a pile of onions over each burger. Top each mound of onions with a slice of tomato, followed with two to three leaves of lettuce. Top each burger with a bun top and serve immediately.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 1001kcal | Carbohydrates: 86g | Protein: 59g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 25g | Cholesterol: 175mg | Sodium: 1812mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 20g
Tried this recipe?Mention @cakewalkr or tag #cakewalkr!

Re-published from June 30, 2011


  1. 5 stars
    Now that’s a burger that makes me wish I still ate beef! Congratulations on your success with this incredible creation! Have a happy fourth my friend!

  2. 5 stars
    Same here Brooks, those buns are the best. What next my friend?

  3. Oh, these burgers look delicious! Can I have one please??

    !!!!!!!!!!!!!! Congrats Brooks!!!!! This is no small accomplishment! I am so happy for you!

  5. Just found your site – Love it, Brooks! I’m always looking for good burger recipes as my husband welcomes the change. Congratulations on the Top 5 – Awesome!! I’ll definitely be back for more.

  6. This is quite a delicious burger and I usually don’t eat meat this would definitely change my mind!

  7. Blueberry chipotle barbecue sauce?! I never knew such a thing existed and it sounds amazing!!! Absolutely loving your blog and so glad to be a new follower! Feel free to stop by and check out my first giveaway going on at my blog 🙂

  8. Food Eats says

    Wow! That is really an exciting accomplishment. I think you might need to start posting some savory recipes too. This recipe is only going to make your readers crave more! Right now I’m craving that Blueberry chipotle barbecue sauce. Delicious!!!!

  9. 5 stars
    CONGRATULATIONS!!! Such a great burger and what an accomplishment to reach the top 5. I’m not surprised, though…everything you make looks fabulous! Happy 4th, Brooks~

  10. The recipe of Blueberry Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is unique and I appreciate your style of writing. The post is delicious! Shall visit here again. Keep in touch!

  11. 5 stars
    Yeah!!!! Congratulations Brooks!! I enjoyed watching the video and reading your post and essay. Your burger is absolutely a winner–I knew it when I first saw your FB post about it!

  12. OMG! you did great job with this burger Brooks..! drooling all over it … ;p

  13. burger combination looks wonderful
    congratulations on the achievement

  14. 5 stars
    Food experiences have life long impression on us when we eat it and say ” Wow, I never would have put this together, and yet it’s delicious”. Brooks you have the magic knife and fork to make food come alive and change a dull day into a delicious mind expanding
    experience. U-go-boy!

  15. WOW, now that’s a burger!!! Would love for you to come link this up on my Summertime Family Favorites Party!!! ~Angie

  16. Hello again! Congrats on making the foodbuzz Top 9! WOO HOO!

  17. 5 stars
    Well done! This burger totally deserves the glory 🙂 That sauce is outstanding, love the flavor combo. Buzzed!

  18. This burger looks great! Love that blueberry chipotle bbq sauce!

  19. The Mom Chef says

    Bravo on an amazing burger. I love the idea of the chipotle blueberry sauce. I was wondering how the blueberry was going to play into it. I’m thrilled that you made it as a finalist into the
    top 5!

  20. Create with Mom says

    lovely way to celebrate happy 4th of July!

  21. 5 stars
    I have made blueberry BBQ sauce before and it was delicious! Yours sounds amazing! Perfect for a 4th of July burger! I am loving the home made buns and fried onion topping as well! Overall these sound amazing :)!

  22. Congratulations on making the Top 5. That is such a great accomplishment. Your burger looks amazing! I’m going to make the blueberry chipotle BBQ sauce, and can’t wait to taste it!

  23. Way to go Bro! Congrats!!

  24. 5 stars
    Congratulations, Brooks, and you most certainly deserve it! This is a seriously tempting burger and we love the Blueberry-Chipotle BBQ sauce. Don’t think you need fear stepping away from the butter cream once in a while…

  25. Congrats! Awesome burger! The blueberry-chipotle sauce sounds off-the-charts delicious!

  26. Wow. These look amazing! Glad you laid aside the buttercream long enough to mastermind these beauties!

  27. Congrats! This looks absolutely amazing.

  28. 5 stars
    Brooks…these burgers are the things dreams are made of! Congratulations!!!

  29. 5 stars
    Oooh these look amaaazing! 🙂

  30. Madeline says

    5 stars
    How did I just find this recipe now, all these years later?!?! Definitely enjoying one this upcoming holiday. Thank you, Brooks!

    • Brooks Walker says

      You’re welcome, Madeline. Glad to hear you’ll be making the burgers. Happy grilling!

  31. 5 stars
    Very great recipe! These are very tasty!

    • Brooks Walker says

      Thanks, Devin. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe and I appreciate the compliment. Cheers! 🙂

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