Cowboy candy probably isn’t something you hand out at Halloween — unless your trick-or-treaters are fans of jalapeño peppers! These savory and sweet candied jalapeños are so freakin’ delicious, they just make everything better. It’s more than just a fun name. I’d say they might even top your favorite candy bar as a tasty treat, because you’ll want to put them on everything you grill from now until the end of summer.

I’ve got an easy cowboy candy recipe for you here, and we’re putting them on one of my favorite grill recipes: burgers! We round out the perfect combination of savory and sweet in this recipe with Bush’s Original Baked Beans, which are the perfect side for summer grilling. Nothing says backyard BBQ more than a spicy burger with Bush’s Baked Beans on the side!

Post sponsored by Bush’s Original Baked Beans.
Cowboy candy on a burger with a side of Bush's Original Baked Beans.

Why You’ll Love Cowboy Candy

The texture of cowboy candy is similar to bread and butter pickles, but with extra zip from the spicy pepper. When it comes your burger, cowboy candy is a spicy treat to kick things up a notch. Plus, if you have leftover syrup from making these savory and sweet peppers, one of my favorite ways to use it up is for glazes or on ribs and chicken. This stuff is liquid gold.

If you’re looking for more burger topping ideas, check out my recipes for Oklahoma Onion Burger, BBQ Bacon Burger and Animal Style Burger!

Cowboy Candy Ingredients

  • Cowboy candy: Start with fresh jalapeños, and then we’ll pickle our thin pepper slices in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, granulated white sugar, turmeric, celery seed, granulated garlic and cayenne pepper.
  • Burger: To make the cowboy candy the real star of the show, we’re going with a classic bacon smashburger with cheese. Ground beef, slices of bacon, cheese slices, kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder and mayo are all we need.
  • Baked beans: Bush’s Original Baked Beans are perfect here! We dress them up a bit with cowboy candy and chopped bacon.
Bush's Original Baked Beans with cowboy candy on top.

How to Cut a Jalapeño

Have you ever sliced spicy jalapeños, forgot and then rubbed your eyes? It’s brutal! The easiest way to prevent this experience is to wear disposable gloves while you slice peppers.

Make sure you wash your hands well afterward, along with your cutting board and the knife you used to cut the spicy pepper. If you do get some capsaicin — the compound in hot peppers like our jalapeños, banana peppers and serrano peppers that gives them that flavorful kick — on your hands and it causes a burning sensation, you can use dish soap, rubbing alcohol or even yogurt to cool things down.

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How to Make Cowboy Candy

Cowboy candy in summer > leftover Halloween candy in summer. Let’s put these candied jalapenos on a burger!

Making the Cowboy Candy

First up: those savory, sweet, spicy peppers. Start by thinly slicing 1 pound of fresh jalapeños. You can use your favorite chef’s knife or a mandoline cutter for this part! Put a cast-iron skillet on medium heat, and then add 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 3 cups of granulated sugar, ½ teaspoon turmeric, ½ teaspoon of celery seed, 1.5 teaspoons of granulated garlic and 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the skillet. Bring the vinegar mixture to a full rolling boil, then add the sliced jalapenos.

Cooking cowboy candy slices in the sugar syrup.

Let those jalapeños cook in the boiling syrup for 2-3 minutes, then take them out with a slotted spoon and set them aside in a mason jar.

Boil the sugar sauce for another five minutes, then remove it from heat and pour the boiling sweet syrup into the mason jar with the jalapeños. Finish up your cowboy candy by placing the jar of jalapeños in the fridge to cool.

Ideally, you’ll want them in there for three or four days, but you’ll get a nice flavor with two or three hours if you’re in a pinch.

Pouring the sugar syrup over the jalapeno slices to create cowboy candy.

Grilling the Burger

Heat your grill to high heat, about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, for direct cooking. Put a cast-iron skillet on the fire so it can preheat.

Grab a handful of ground beef and then gently roll it into a ball. Repeat this process until you’ve got six total burger balls.

When your skillet is smoking, add that ball of ground beef to the skillet. Place a piece of parchment over the ball, and then firmly press with the spatula until the burger is smashed on the skillet.

Adding cheese to the cowboy candy burger.

Season the patty with salt, pepper and garlic powder, then let it cook for another 1-1.5 minutes. Carefully flip the burger patty over and then season the new side. Top with a slice of cheese and let melt for 1-2 minutes.

Once the cheese has melted, pull the burger off and let it rest. Repeat this process for the rest of your patties.  

Bacon and Beans

Add a cast iron skillet or plancha over the flames to heat, then place some sliced bacon in the cold skillet. Cook the bacon until it’s nice and crispy, then glaze the slices with a little of the cowboy candy sugar syrup. This is how we’ll incorporate even more of that cowboy candy goodness into our beans! Pull off and keep warm.

Cooking bacon and Bush's Baked Beans.

Add another skillet to the heat with a can of Bush’s Original Baked Beans. Bring the beans to a full simmer, then pull them off and top with chopped bacon and cowboy candy.

Assembling the Cowboy Candy Burger

Serve your burgers on toasted buns with mayonnaise, double stacked patties, candied bacon, cowboy candy and Bush’s Baked Beans on the side. Enjoy!

Assembling the cowboy candy burger.

What to Serve with Cowboy Candy

Like I said, you can put cowboy candy on everything. Hot dogs are another great way to get your cowboy candy fix! The great thing about a hot dog is that Bush’s Baked Beans also pair perfectly with them. You could also add bits of hot dog to the beans for the ultimate meaty bean experience!

For another great beans recipe, check out my Steakhouse Baked Beans! I’ve also made some other fantastic recipes with Bush’s like this Southwest Breakfast Burrito and Smoked Chipotle Steak Chili!

Leftovers and Reheating

You can keep the cowboy candy in that mason jar of sweet brine in the fridge for up to two months. Wrap the cooled-down burger patties tightly in foil and keep them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

For More Jalapeños

FAQs

OK, you got me hooked on cowboy candy. What other ways can I use it?

Awesome! Glad to hear you’re now a seasoned cowboy candy fan. These spicy jalapeno slices are great in so many things. Putting them on top of cocktails, cornbread, guacamole, Hawaiian pizza and eggs are just a few ideas!

Why smash the burger?

When you smash a beef patty, you supercharge the sear on that burger. The extreme heat and pressure seals in the juices and flavor, giving us a crispy crust on top of it all — a perfect landing spot for cowboy candy.

Where can I find Bush’s Original Baked Beans?

People love Bush’s Original Baked Beans so much, they’re everywhere. Check out the company’s store locator to find out which supermarkets carry them near you. While you’re on the website, you can also discover Bush’s other products, bean recipe ideas and more.

Also make sure to check out how I partnered with Bush’s for these Smoked Citrus Chile Chicken Wings and Steakhouse Ribeyes with Horseradish Butter recipes!

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Cowboy candy on a burger with a side of Bush's Original Baked Beans.

Cowboy Candy

Cowboy candy is a freakin' delicious way to turn fresh jalapeño peppers into a savory, sweet treat that is perfect for topping burgers.
Author:Derek Wolf
No ratings yet
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: American
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

Cowboy Candy:

  • 1 lb Jalapeños thinly sliced
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 3 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp Celery Seed
  • 1.5 tsp Granulated Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Powder

Burger:

  • 1 lbs Ground Beef
  • ½ lb Sliced Bacon
  • 6-8 Sliced Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Salt/Pepper/Garlic
  • Mayonnaise as needed
  • Burger Buns

Baked Beans:

  • 16 oz cans Bush’s Original Baked Beans
  • 1/2 cup Cowboy Candy
  • 1/4 cup Chopped Bacon

Instructions 

Cowboy Candy:

  • Add a cast iron skillet to medium heat.
  • Place all the ingredients (outside the jalapenos) to the skillet and bring to a small boil.
  • Add the jalapenos to the rolling boil for 2-3 minutes, then pull off and set aside.
  • Boil the sugar sauce for 5-6 more minutes, then pull off and add everything (boiled sugar sauce and jalapeños) to a mason jar.
  • Place in the fridge to cool for at least 2-3 hours but ideally 3-4 days.

Burger & Baked Beans:

  • Heat your grill at high heat (around 400F) for direct cooking. Add a cast iron to the fire to preheat.
  • Grab a handful of ground beef and gently roll it into a ball. Repeat this for 6-8 balls or until you’re out of meat.
  • Get your skillet ripping hot (so it's gently smoking).
  • Add a burger ball to the skillet. Place a piece of parchment over one ball and then firmly press with the spatula until the burger is “smashed” on the skillet.
  • Season the patty with salt, pepper and garlic. Let cook for another 1-1.5 minutes.
  • Carefully flip the burger patty over and then season the new side.
  • Top with a slice of cheese and let melt for 1-2 minutes. Once melted, pull off and rest.
  • Repeat for the rest of your patties.
  • Add a cast iron skillet or plancha over the flames to heat and add some sliced bacon to the cold skillet.
  • Cook them bacon till crispy, then glaze with a little of the cowboy candy sugar sauce. Pull off and keep warm.
  • Add another skillet with a can of Bush’s Baked Beans. Bring to a full simmer, then pull off and top with chopped bacon and cowboy candy.
  • Serve your burgers on toasted buns with mayonnaise, double stacked patties, candied bacon, cowboy candy and Bush’s Baked Beans on the side. Enjoy!

Notes

How to Cut a Jalapeño
Have you ever sliced spicy jalapeños, forgot and then rubbed your eyes? It’s brutal! The easiest way to prevent this experience is to wear disposable gloves while you slice peppers. Make sure you wash your hands well afterward, along with your cutting board and the knife you used to cut the spicy pepper. If you do get some capsaicin — the compound in hot peppers like our jalapeños, banana peppers and serrano peppers that gives them that flavorful kick — on your hands and it causes a burning sensation, you can use dish soap, rubbing alcohol or even yogurt to cool things down.

Nutrition

Calories: 1319kcal | Carbohydrates: 183g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 22g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 8416mg | Potassium: 1201mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 155g | Vitamin A: 1758IU | Vitamin C: 139mg | Calcium: 129mg | Iron: 6mg

Derek Wolf

Derek is the driving force behind Over the Fire Cooking. He started cooking with live fire in 2016 and decided to start a social media page so his friends and family could follow the journey. Fast forward to today and Over the Fire Cooking has spread across multiple platforms with millions now following Derek's fire cooking journey. He's a southern fellow who enjoys everything from classic BBQ to Central and South American inspired dishes. Whatever he's cooking up, it's guaranteed to be so freakin' delicious!

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