About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Cook. To prepare the bourbon bacon jam, cut the bacon into 1-inch pieces. Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until the fat is rendered and the bacon is browned, approximately 10 minutes. Remove the bacon from the skillet and place on paper towels to drain. Remove all but one tablespoon of the bacon grease from the skillet. Add the diced onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, approximately 7 minutes. Add the coffee to the skillet and use a spoon to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the bacon, bourbon, vinegar, brown sugar, and maple syrup to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the mixture is thick like a syrup, approximately 15 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender or food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Use within an hour, or the jam can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to four weeks.
Fire up. Prepare a grill for indirect cooking by placing a chimney full of pre-heated charcoal briquets on one side of the grill’s charcoal grate in order to create direct and indirect cooking zones. Adjust the grill vents to bring the temperature to about 225°F on the indirect side. Add 2 to 3 chunks of your favorite smoking wood to the charcoal for flavor. On a gas grill, adjust the temperature knobs so that one half of the grill is off and the other half is heated enough to maintain a temperature of approximately 225°F on the indirect side.
Prep. Divide the meat into two 8-ounce portions. Gently form the meat into patties that are approximately 1/2-inch wider than the bun to allow for shrinkage during the cooking process. Season both sides of the patties with kosher salt.
Cook again. Place the burgers on the indirect side of the grill, positioning the vent directly above the burgers in order to force the smoke over and around the meat. Cook the patties for about 10 minutes.
Push the tip of a rapid-read thermometer such as the Thermapen into the side of both burgers. When the temperature reaches 105°F, flip the burgers and cook for approximately 10 more minutes. Because they are not over direct heat, you do not need to flip them often.
When the burgers are about 20°F below the final doneness temp you want (see AmazingRibs.com’s award winning Food Temperature Guide), get ready to move them to the direct-heat zone. If you are on a gas grill, crank it up to high. On a charcoal grill, you may want to add more pre-lit coals. If necessary, take the meat off of the grill and close the lid while the hot side heats up.
Put the burgers on the direct heat side to brown them. Leave the lid up so the heat is concentrated on one side of each burger. If the fire flares up, move the burger to another spot. Flip the meat every minute to form a nice crust on both sides.
When the interior reaches 5°F below the desired doneness, add two slices of baby Swiss cheese to each burger and let them cook until the cheese melts, approximately two minutes.
Serve. To assemble the burgers, place each patty on a bottom bun and, if desired, add lettuce and/or sliced tomato. Spread a thick layer of bourbon bacon jam on the top buns before placing on the burgers. Serve immediately. Note that any remaining bacon jam can be used for grilled cheese sandwiches, on crostini, and more.Enjoy this video that a reader, Mike Chavez, made of this recipe.