Bacon cheeseburgers. Mushroom and Swiss burgers. Pizza burgers. You name it. I think we all have our personal favorites. Around here, we have a local tavern that even serves up specialty burgers with toppings like cream cheese, jalapenos, raspberry sauce and gloriously gooey cheese curds piled on top (which sounds a little crazy, but it’s actually delicious).
Here’s my point: we all have our preferences. So if you’ve got a full house or you’re inviting over a few friends this summer, why not create a build-your-own-burger bar?
Here are eight easy tips and hints to help you get started:
How to Build Your Burger Bar: 8 Tips & Hints
- Pick your patties. I’m typically a “93% lean” kind of girl (And to be clear, I’m talking about ground beef here. This girl’s BMI isn’t anywhere near 7%.) But when it comes to burgers, choosing beef with a slightly higher fat content, such as 85% lean, results in much juicier burgers – and they’ll hold together better, too.
We love to season ours with a little kosher salt and Garlic Pepper Seasoning. And remember, you’re not limited to ground beef! Ground turkey, black bean or garden burgers can be delicious, healthy options for your guests, too.
- Veg out with fresh veggies. As the weather gets warmer, make the most of what’s in season.
Set out an assortment of fresh veggies, such as:
- Sliced tomatoes
- Lettuce/salad greens
- Sliced avocados
- Sliced jalapenos
- Grilled mushrooms
- sliced red onions
- Choose a few different cheeses. Cheeseburgers are always a crowd-pleaser. While you can keep it simple with classic American, one of the beauties of a burger bar is offering a variety of choices.
Try: - Sharp Cheddar - Swiss - Pepper Jack (for those who like it spicy) - And even a wheel of creamy Brie!
- Get saucy. Ketchup and mustard are always required, but take it up a notch by setting out some seriously succulent sauces. My favorites: Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce and Bacon Pepper Jam.
- Add extra crunch. Set out small dishes of other classic burger fixings, like crunchy pickles, crispy onion strings and/or bacon strips.
- Keep it simple with sides. Going all out with the burgers? Keep the sides simple (and keep your sanity!) with an assortment of chips, fruit and veggies.
- Bring on the buns. Think buns are boring? Think again! You’ll find a variety of choices in the bakery section of your local grocery store. Pretzel bun sliders are one of my personal favorites. In addition to the usual white/wheat options, you can also try:
- Brioche buns
- Onion rolls
- Ciabata rolls
- Kaiser rolls
- Suggest a couple combos. If you’re hosting a backyard BBQ, consider adding a couple notecards to the buffet with your favorite combinations right next to your burger patties.
For example, include little signs like: Cowboy Burgers (Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce, Bacon + Onion Strings) (That one is my husband’s personal favorite.)
Or create a card for my favorite combo:
Bacon Brie Burgers
(Bacon Pepper Jam, Brie + Lettuce)
Now what’s YOUR favorite combo? Check out a bunch of our top-rated burger recipes right here. And be sure to tell us your tips below, or share your ideas with us on Facebook.
We’d love to hear all about your best burgers!
Happy grilling! - Jen