Wendy’s Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger

Wendy’s Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger

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As mentioned in my Wendy’s pita recipe, I finally got around to making the Smoky Bacon cheeseburger.

You know, there are tons of old Wendy’s burgers & chicken sandwiches that were oh-so-good but even if they brought them back, they just wouldn’t taste the same as they did back in the ’90’s. Something would be different about it. I think I’ll plan to do the chickens next:

  • Monterey Ranch Chicken Sandwich (with bacon)
  • Chicken Cordon Bleu (ham, Swiss & Grey Poupon!) – this is a no tomato, no lettuce chicken sandwich
  • The Wild Mountain Chicken was after my time (2000’s), but I could try this: spicy chicken, co-jack, bacon (this one had red onions, too)
  • The Big Bacon Classic cheeseburger was very popular, too.
  • Speaking of chicken sandwiches, remember the 39¢ chicken littles from KFC?

And now I’m craving a double stack, which used to give me nightmares! When that burger first came out, for 99¢, people would order ten at a time – that’s 20 hamburger patties that need to be cooked to Wendy’s perfection at once, nevermind the other ten cars in the drive-through.

Speaking of Grill Skills, check out this blast from the past:

The Smoky Bacon cheeseburger is a really simple burger.

All you need is:

  • A Good Kaiser Roll
  • Ground beef patties (we made ours 1/4 lb.)
  • Smoked Cheddar Cheese
  • Bacon
  • Onion
  • Barbecue Sauce

How to bake bacon

First, you bake your bacon in the oven at 425 on a baking rack, for about 18-20 minutes. I like to flip mine halfway through for even cooking, but my oven is not level. So, that’s just me.

How to saute onions

Slice and sauté the onion in butter. Just make them translucent, and maybe a little brown, however you like your onion best. Keep them warm.

I love my tomato slicer. It has a hook to keep it from sliding around on the counter. When I made these, I bent that hook slicing the onion.

Hubby says “cheap Chinese steel” – bend it one more time, and it will break. Meh.

It is tough to slice harder veggies like onion & potato – it’ll do it, but its best for tomatoes, cucumbers.

I’m actually not sure what brand mine is, but its “commercial-grade” and it rocks.

Toasted kaiser roll

You should slice and toast the kaiser roll. All Wendy’s burger buns are toasted & steamed. This time, I used a little butter in the frying pan. I don’t like using the toaster oven for this because they get a bit too dry. Once I toast them, I put them back in the bag for that steam effect.

Grill Skills: how to make the cheeseburger

For the burgers, I use two plastic plates with lips to smash the meat into a patty. The ground beef comes packaged in a square wrap from Wisconsin Meadows. We like their 30# grass-fed beef variety box. It lasts the two of us about 6 months. Since it’s already square, I just slice it into 4 equal squares, and then smash them between my saucer plates. Then, following the Grill Skills throwback video, place the meat in the frying pan, salt it, squish it, flip it & repeat.

With the burger still in the pan, I melt the cheese in the pan (just like they do at Wendy’s), then place it on the burger and let it sit, continuing to cook while the cheese keeps melting. The cheese is really hard to slice nicely, so if you can get smoked cheddar at your meat market, ask them to slice it into sandwich slices for you.

I had to get this cheese from Bavaria Sausage, since they hardly ever have smoked cheddar at Pick N Save. And I was placing an order for our Oktoberfest brats, anyway.

Cheeseburger assembly

Then, assemble your burger and enjoy this classic flashback Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger from Wendy’s!

I just pile it altogether like this:

  • Meat
  • Cheese
  • Bacon (2 slices broken in half)
  • Onion
  • Barbecue sauce

Check out our recipe for copycat chili and stay tuned for more (like the new french fries).

Wendy’s Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger

Copycat Wendy's Smoky Bacon Cheeseburger (1996)
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4
Calories: 851kcal
Cost: $17


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 4 kaiser rolls (large)
  • ½ lb hickory smoked bacon
  • 1 onion
  • 4 Tbsp barbecue sauce Stubb's Sticky Sweet


  • Bake the bacon on a baking rack at 425° F for 18 minutes – do not preheat the oven
  • Slice & toast the kaiser rolls in a frying pan on medium heat, pressing them down to ensure even toasting. Toast two rolls at a time for about 4 minutes each.
  • Slice the onion and sautee in a frying pan with 1 Tbsp of butter. Cook until translucent, or until brown. Ten minutes for cooked onion, up to 30 minutes for caramelizing.
  • Separate the beef into four ¼-pound patties, squished flat. Fry them in a frying pan, two at a time. Lay the meat in the pan, salt, and squish. Cook five minutes, flip & repeat. Turn the patties two more times then add cheese during the last five minutes. Drain by picking up the patty with a spatula and tilting it using the side of the frying pan. Each set of two patties should cook in 20 minutes on medium heat.
  • Assemble your cheeseburger by placing the cheese burger on the bun, topping with 2 – 3 strips of bacon, a pile of onions & a drizzling of barbecue sauce.



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