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The Bourbon BBQ Benchwarmer
Makes four servings

Bourbon BBQ Sauce: 1 cup ketchup 1/2 cup bourbon 3 tablespoons brown sugar, packed 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon liquid smoke 1 teaspoon onion powder 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper Cheeseburgers: 4 slices thick cut bacon, halved 2 pounds ground beef, divided into 4 equal patties Kosher salt, to taste Pepper, to taste 4 thick slices Wisconsin havarti cheese 4 pretzel buns, split and toasted Caramelized onions or store-bought crispy onions

For BBQ sauce: Place all ingredients in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce to simmer and cook 8-10 minutes, until thickened. Remove and let cool. (Sauce can be made in advance and refrigerated until ready to use.) For burgers: Fry bacon until crispy in large skillet. Transfer to paper towel-lined plate to drain. Set aside. Heat grill over medium-high heat. Season beef patties with salt and pepper. Place grill pan on grill and add burgers. Cook until desired doneness, between 3-5 minutes per side. Top each burger with a cheese slice during last minutes of cooking so cheese melts. Place cheeseburger on each toasted pretzel bun bottom. Top with two bacon pieces and generous amount of bourbon BBQ sauce. Finish with caramelized or crispy onions if desired.