Rodney Scott’s Spice-Rubbed Bacon Burger

Here’s how the prolific pitmaster amps up summer’s signature sizzler

Photo: courtesy of rodney scott

With five barbecue joints to his name and a sixth eatery on the way—Nashville’s Chief’s on Broadway, a partnership with country star Eric Church—Rodney Scott does not need to reinvent anything. His pulled pork is the gold standard. His small-town-pitmaster-turned-James-Beard-Award-winner story is legendary. And yet the barbecue baron from Hemingway, South Carolina, can’t help tinkering. His latest invention? A partnership with the Spice House, an artisanal spice purveyor, to develop a smoky, sweet, and savory rub perfect for grilling season.

Stay in Touch with G&G
Get The Skillet, our weekly food and drink newsletter.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

“My manager told me about the Spice House, and I liked what they were doing,” Scott says. “I walked into one of their stores, and the aroma was like ‘boom!’” Their collaboration combines chile, cumin, onion, and garlic with two surprising ingredients, cocoa and coffee. It’s available to order, but he shared a DIY version below that makes a serviceable substitute.

As a vessel for the earthy blend, Scott also shared a recipe for a two-patty, onion-topped bacon burger. “I’m trying to find the right words to describe this burger besides ‘absolutely amazing,’” he says. “It just has many flavors you don’t expect.” 

Just make sure to follow the recommended ingredient amounts lest you turn your burger into a Venti Double Cheese Half Calf. Then again, a buzz seems to be working for the nonstop Scott. “My address says Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina, but I’m in Atlanta today and heading to Alabama next week,” he says. “I’ve just been opening restaurants, getting everybody acclimated, doing what we do.” 

Get the cookout-ready recipe below.


  • Rodney Scott’s Bacon Burger with Black Chile Coffee Cocoa Rub (Yield: 4 double-patty burgers)

  • For the sautéed onions

    • ¼ cup canola oil

    • 1 large yellow onion, cut into ¼-inch-thick slices

    • 1 tsp. Black Chile Coffee Cocoa Rub (order here, or recipe follows)

  • For the burgers and peppers

    • 2 lb. ground chuck

    • Canola oil, for the grill

    • 4 jalapeño peppers

    • 4 tsp. Black Chile Coffee Cocoa Rub (order here, or recipe follows)

    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (about 4 oz.)

    • 4 slices white American cheese

    • 4 Martin’s potato rolls (or other soft sandwich buns)

    • ½ cup Thousand Island dressing

    • 4 slices thick-cut bacon, fried crisp and cut into 2-inch pieces

    • ¼ cup Rodney Scott’s The Other Sauce (or BBQ sauce of choice)

  • For the DIY black chile coffee cocoa rub

    • 1 tbsp. chile powder

    • 1 tbsp. kosher salt

    • 1 tbsp. brown sugar

    • ½ tbsp. garlic powder

    • ½ tbsp. cumin

    • ½ tbsp. cocoa powder

    • ½ tbsp. onion powder

    • ½ tbsp. finely ground coffee


  1. Make the rub: If preparing the rub yourself, combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Set aside.

  2. Make the sautéed onions: In a sauté pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the onion slices. Stir occasionally so they don’t stick or burn. Cook until the onion is tender and slightly caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Then season it with the Black Chile Coffee Cocoa Rub and set aside.

  3. Make the burgers: Fire up your grill. Heat the grill to 225°F to 250°F. 

  4. Divide the ground chuck into 8 equal portions (4 ounces each) and form each into a 1-inch thick patty.

  5. Char the peppers: Use grilling tongs to lightly brush the grill grate with a canola oil–soaked cloth. Place the jalapeños on the grill until evenly charred and black, turning them every 2 minutes for 10 to 12 minutes.

  6. While the peppers are still hot from the grill, place them in a bag and close it, or place them in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow the peppers to steam for about 5 minutes. Take the peppers out of the bag and use a spoon or gloved fingers to remove the skin. Discard the skin, stems, and seeds (and take care not to touch your face or eyes).

  7. Crank the heat on the grill up to between 400°F and 450°F, by opening the vents three-fourths of the way for a few minutes. Once the temperature has risen, close the vents slightly to maintain temperature and avoid flare-ups.

  8. Cook the burgers: Season both sides of the patties with the Black Chile Coffee Cocoa Rub, then place them on the grill and close the top.

  9. Cook until each side has developed a slight brown crust and some dark grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Put cheddar cheese on 4 of the patties and white American cheese on the remaining 4 patties.

  10. Split and toast the potato rolls on the grill, flat side down, for 30 to 45 seconds, depending on your preference of doneness. Spread the Thousand Island dressing on both the top and bottom buns. Stack a cheddar-topped burger on top of an American cheese-topped burger on each bun. Top with the sautéed onions, bacon, and BBQ sauce. 

  11. Place the top bun on top and serve with the grilled jalapeños on the side.