Beer can burgers for the festive season

A beer can burger, ready for the kettle braai or oven.

No, this does not mean the burgers are cooked in a beer can. Or that a can of beer is included in the burger patty mix. Or that you need to drink a can of beer when you eat the burger, although you’re welcome to do so, if you so choose.

And it’s actually not really a burger. Rather, it’s a quantity of seasoned burger patty mixture, shaped into a cup, using a beer can, which is then filled with really yummy stuff, wrapped in streaky bacon, and topped with cheese before grilling it in your kettle braai, or the oven.

And it’s preferable to use a can of about 50mm in diameter, or else it makes a “burger” which will defeat all but the mightiest of appetites. I find a 200ml mixer can to be ideal.

Dear foodie friend Ann Coetzee made these for us the other night for dinner, and they are simply delicious.

Ingredients, selection and preparation

1.5kg ground beef: the mince must have 30% fat, to avoid it cooking too dry, so you’ll have to ask your butcher to prepare it specially for you.

16 slices streaky bacon: this equates to two slices per burger

200g mature cheddar cheese: grated

1 camembert round: cut into eight even slices

8 tbsp barbecue sauce

(Burger seasoning)

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp salt

1 tsp black pepper


1 onion: peeled and chopped

1 red pepper: chopped

3 cloves garlic: crushed

250g mushrooms: sliced

1 fresh red chilli: chopped, seeds and all


If you’re using a kettle braai, you’ll need 20 briquettes per side, arranged for indirect heat cooking. Be sure to start your fire at such a time that you can prepare the burgers, including some chilling time in the fridge. If you plan to use the oven, pre-heat to 190°C. Cooking time remains the same, at 40 minutes.

Make the burgers first. Mix the seasoning into the ground beef. Place a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray, or spray with Spray and Cook.

Take a cricket-ball sized ball of ground beef, and place it on the tray, starting in one corner. Press the base of the can into the ball of ground beef to form a cup, and shape it with your hands. Wrap the resultant cup in two slices of streaky bacon.

Place the tray in the fridge for about 30 minutes to chill and firm up the burgers, while you cook the filling.

Heat a medium pan, add some canola oil and fry the onion until soft. Add the mushrooms, peppers, and chilli and fry until cooked through, about 20 minutes all together.

Set the filling aside to cool.

When your kettle braai coals are white, or the oven is up to temperature, divide the filling between the eight burgers, add to each a tbsp of barbecue sauce and a slice of camembert, and top with the grated cheddar cheese.

Cook for 40 minutes covered, in the centre of the kettle braai, or in mid-oven.

Serve with your favourite braai accompaniments.

Preparation time: 60 minutes

Cooking time: 60 minutes

Yield: 8 burgers