This chili cheeseburger is made with an easy homemade chili sauce that goes great on hot dogs or griddle burgers alike. Smoke your own chuck roast to make the chili for this chili burger, substitute ground beef, or use a canned chili sauce to save some time.
My friends know that I’m a foodie, so they send me crazy food videos that they find on social media all the time. And sometimes one of those videos sparks a new idea.
That’s what happened when my friend (who happens to be a butcher – it helps to have friends in high places!) sent me a video of someone smoking a roast to make smoked chili.
I immediately had the idea to combine my charcoal grill and the griddle to create this one epic burger recipe – the ultimate chili cheeseburger with a homemade smoked chuck chili sauce. If you want to up the flavors of your typical chili cheeseburger, then you’ve GOT to try this griddle burger recipe:
Chili Cheeseburger Ingredients
You can use your favorite chili recipe to make your chili cheeseburgers on the griddle, or even substitute a canned chili sauce to make this burger even easier to make.
Here’s what I used for my homemade chili cheeseburger on the griddle:
For the Burger:
- 80/20 ground beef
- American cheese
- your favorite burger seasoning – I actually used some of the homemade chili seasoning that I made to go in the chili sauce. You can find the full recipe down below.
- diced onions
- hamburger buns
For the Homemade Chili Sauce:
- chuck roast or 80/20 ground beef – I smoked a 2 1/2 pound chuck roast and then fresh ground it for my chili sauce, but you can definitely brown ground beef instead.
- tomato sauce – Make sure that you get a plain canned tomato sauce – you don’t want any Italian herbs mixed in.
- tomato paste
- beef broth (or stock)
- beer (or you can use water or more beef broth instead)
- Worcestershire sauce
- spices for homemade chili seasoning – chili powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, granulated garlic, mustard powder, paprika, chipotle chili powder (or cayenne pepper), red chili flakes, pepper, salt, and sugar
How to Make Homemade Chili Sauce for Hot Dogs and Chili Cheeseburgers
I started out by smoking a chuck roast for about 3 hours, and then grinding the beef to use for the chili sauce. That extra step added some smoky flavor, something that you miss sometimes with griddle cooking. Of course, you can just substitute regular 80/20 ground chuck instead. If you do that, just skip down to step 3 below.
Here are the basic steps to make your own homemade chili sauce with smoked chuck:
Step 1: Smoke a chuck roast.
Start by seasoning the roast with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, or use your favorite all purpose seasoning. Don’t go shy on the seasoning, because this is a large piece of meat. Here’s what my chuck roast looked like before I put it on the grill:
Then, smoke the chuck roast at about 275-300 degrees F for about 3 hours.
My Weber Summit Charcoal Grill hadn’t gotten much use recently, so I decided to pull it out of retirement for this chili sauce recipe. You can go here to see how to use a charcoal grill as a smoker, or use your pellet smoker instead.
After the roast has smoked for 3 hours, open the lid on your grill to raise the grill temp up, and sear the roast over the hot coals for about 2-3 minutes on each side. Then, pull your smoked chuck roast off the grill and let it rest for a full hour before moving on to the next step.
Step 2: Grind the smoked chuck roast.
Next, grind the smoked chuck roast for the chili.
Simply cut the smoked roast into large cubes (sized to fit into your meat grinder attachment), and grind on the coarse setting. Since the meat was already cooked, I found that grinding with the coarse blade attachment gave me a nice fine texture, perfect for this homemade chili sauce.
Step 3: Add ground chuck and other chili sauce ingredients to a pot.
Once your meat is ground, you’re basically just making chili.
Start out by sautéing the diced onions and jalapeños until they’re tender.
Then, add the cooked vegetables to the ground chuck in a large pot. *Note – If you’re using regular 80/20 ground beef for your homemade chili sauce, then you can follow the recipe card at the end of this post.
Next, add about 1 cup of beer and the tomato paste to the beef and vegetables. Cook the mixture down for about 2 minutes to knock the rawness off the tomato paste. Then, add the remaining chili sauce ingredients including tomato sauce, beef broth, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and homemade chili seasoning.
Your chili sauce should look something like this:
Continue to cook the chili sauce over low heat, stirring often, until it’s reduced to your desired thickness. It took about 45 minutes for my sauce to reduce to the thickness that I wanted.
I personally like a thicker chili sauce so that it’s more like a condiment instead of a soupy, runny mess on my chili cheeseburgers. If you want a thinner sauce, then you can add more beef broth or stock, or don’t reduce the sauce as long.
*NOTE – This recipe makes plenty of homemade chili sauce, so you’ll have extra for chili dogs or chili cheese fries. You can also freeze the leftover chili sauce in a freezer bag. Heck, even freeze it and use it as a chili starter when you need a quick hearty dinner idea… just add some canned beans, salsa, and/or crushed tomatoes. The possibilities are endless!
How to Make Chili Cheeseburgers on the Griddle
Once your chili sauce is done, this chili cheeseburger cooks up like pretty much any other griddle burger. You can choose to make a thick hamburger like this Blue Cheese Mushroom Burger or make a classic smash burger and top it with the chili sauce. We personally decided to go with a burger patty that was a medium thickness.
Here’s how to make the chili cheeseburgers on the griddle:
- Preheat your griddle on low to medium. For this cook, I used my Pit Boss Ultimate Griddle, but you can use any flat top grill, or even cook these burgers inside in a cast iron skillet.
- Form your ground beef into equally-sized hamburger patties, and season both sides with some of the leftover homemade chili seasoning or your favorite burger seasoning.
- When the griddle is hot, place the patties down on the griddle.
- Allow the hamburger patties to cook on the first side until about halfway cooked through.
- Add a small pile of diced onions to the griddle for each burger patty. Flip the burgers to the second side on top of the diced onions.
- Allow the burgers to cook on the second side in the onions for about 1-2 minutes before adding cheese.
- Continue to cook your griddle cheeseburgers until they’re cooked to your desired doneness and the cheese is melted.
- As the burgers finish cooking, add your buns to the griddle cut side down to toast.
Your cheeseburgers should look something like this when they’re done:
Then, just remove the burgers from the griddle and you’re ready to build your chili cheeseburgers!
We added yellow mustard, some raw diced onion, and a good helping of the homemade chili sauce. And here’s the finished product:
Hope you guys enjoy these delicious homemade chili cheeseburgers! And feel free to print the recipe card down below:
Griddle Chili Cheeseburger with Homemade Chili Sauce
For the Homemade Chili Sauce:
- 2½ lb 80/20 ground chuck
- 2 tbsp butter or oil
- 1 medium onion small diced
- ½ jalapeno small diced
- 8 oz can tomato sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ⅔ cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp mustard
- 8-10 tbsp chili seasoning see recipe below
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups beef broth
- 1 – 1½ cup beer optional – or substitute more beef broth or water
For the Chili Seasoning:
- 4 tbsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tbsp granulated garlic
- 1 tbsp mustard powder
- 2 tbsp paprika
- ½ tbsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- ¼ tsp red pepper flake optional
For the Chili Cheeseburger:
- 1 lb 80/20 ground chuck
- homemade chili seasoning or your favorite burger seasoning
- ½ medium onion diced
- 4 slices American cheese
- 4 hamburger buns
To Make the Chili Sauce and Seasoning:
- In medium bowl, combine all chili seasoning ingredients and mix well. Set to the side.
- In a large pot over medium heat, brown ground beef until beef is cooked through. As the beef is cooking, break it up into fine crumbles. Transfer beef to colander to drain excess fat.
- In the pot, sauté diced onions and jalapeños in about 2 tablespoons of butter or oil until tender. Add the drained beef.
- To the pot, add 1 cup beer (or water/beef broth) and tomato paste. Mix to combine and cook for about 2 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and 8-10 tablespoons of the homemade chili seasoning. Mix to combine. Stir in 2 cups of beef broth.
- Taste for seasoning and add more chili seasoning if needed. Continue to cook the chili sauce over low to medium low heat, stirring often, until sauce is reduced to your desired thickness, about 30 minutes to 1 hour.
To Make the Chili Cheeseburgers:
- Preheat griddle on low to medium low.
- Form ground beef into 4 equally sized patties. Season with some of the homemade chili seasoning or your favorite burger seasoning.
- When griddle is hot, place the burger patties on the griddle and allow to cook on the first side until about halfway cooked through.
- Add a small pile of diced onions to the griddle for each burger, then flip the burgers to the second side on top of the onions. Cook for 1-2 minutes and add one slice of American cheese to each burger patty. Continue to cook the burgers in the diced onions until burgers are cooked to your desired doneness. Then transfer burgers to a cutting board or plate to rest for about 5 minutes.
- Add one cheeseburger patty to each bun, top with homemade chili sauce, and add desired condiments (like mustard and diced raw onion). Enjoy!
- This recipe includes instructions for making the homemade chili sauce with 80/20 ground beef. You can also smoke a chuck roast and grind the meat yourself by following the instructions in my YouTube video.
- This recipe makes plenty of homemade chili sauce, so you’ll have extra for chili dogs or chili cheese fries. You can also freeze the leftover chili sauce in a freezer bag. Or, even use it as a chili starter when you need a quick hearty dinner idea.
- If you want your chili sauce to be looser in consistency, you can add more liquid or not reduce the sauce as long.
- If you’re not using beer, substitute beef broth or water, or a combination of the two.
- For a slightly sweeter chili sauce, add 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.