Cheeseburgers. Pizza burgers. Turkey burgers. Our local tavern even has a beloved “Humpty Dumpty” burger that my husband LOVES, served with melted cheese and a fried egg on top. (Personally, I find that one a little alarming.)
Here’s my point: whether you’re a fan of classic grilled burgers or you like to get a little adventurous, we all have our personal favorites.
Why not let your family create their own combinations this summer? Here’s how to build your own burger bar, perfect for kicking back in the backyard – especially with picky kids!
How to Build Your Burger Bar
1. Pick Your Patties. Forget 93% lean. (I know, but trust me.) When it comes to burgers, choosing beef with a slightly higher fat content, such as 85%, is worth the splurge. Your burgers will hold together better – and they’ll be much juicier, too.
You can also mix up your routine by adding a little uncooked chopped bacon, ground pork or chorizo to your patties.
2. Don’t Skip the Seasonings. I love to season our burger patties with a little kosher salt and Garlic Pepper Seasoning. But some nights we go for bolder steakhouse flavor with Ultimate Steak Seasoning. Both are delish!
3. Break out the Buns. Who says you need to use traditional hamburger buns? Change things up with:
- Brioche buns (they are super soft, so even kids like them!)
- Ciabatta rolls
- Pretzel buns
- Kaiser rolls
- Or Hawaiian sweet rolls for sliders
You’ll get extra points if you smear on a little butter and toast ‘em on the grill, too. It only takes a minute, and it’s so worth it!
4. Get a Little Cheesy. Cheddar. Munster. Brie. Swiss. Pepper Jack. Smoked gouda. Even blue cheese crumbles. Arrange a variety on a platter or cutting board, so everyone in your family can grab their faves.
Pro tip: During the last minute of cooking, add your cheese to your burgers, and carefully add a small splash of water. Close your grill or cover your pan for 30 seconds. The steam will quickly and evenly melt the cheese every time.
5. Veg Out. Set out a variety of different veggies like:
- Lettuce, mixed greens or arugula
- Tomato slices
- Sliced jalapenos
- Grilled mushrooms
- Sliced red onions
You can even try fruit, like sliced heart-healthy avocados (great on BLT burgers) or pineapple (perfect for teriyaki sliders).
6. Crunch It Up. Want a tangle of different textures and flavors? Set out crispy bacon and onion strings for BBQ burgers.
You can offer other crunchy toppings for your burgers, too - like fresh coleslaw and different pickle varieties.
7. Keep Your Cool with Condiments. Yes, ketchup and mustard are always required. But you can turn your burgers up a notch with a lot of different toppers, from sauces to salsas. Our family’s all-time favorites: Smoky Bacon BBQ Sauce and Bayou Bourbon Glaze.
A little dollop of creamy Dill Pickle Dip is delicious on burgers, too!
8. Experiment with New Combos. And last but not least, don’t be afraid to try something new! This weekend I made these new Bacon Brie Burgers, inspired by my deep and abiding love for Bacon Pepper Jam.
Loaded with smoky bacon, smoky-sweet jam and creamy brie on brioche buns, these juicy burgers were absolutely delicious.
What’s YOUR favorite combo? Share your ideas below, or tell us your tips on Facebook. You can find a bunch of great summer burger recipes right here, too. We’d love to hear what flavors you flip for!
Happy grilling, friends!