Here’s a fun idea for your next backyard barbecue— a Build Your Own Burger Bar complete with the best burger patties and a buffet of toppings and condiments. You provide the options, while your guests bring their appetites and creativity!
During the summer, burgers are my first choice for grilling and entertaining. They’re easy, versatile, and a crowd-pleaser for sure. Why not take the extra step and give your friends and family a wide variety of sauces, cheeses and other toppings so they can create their ideal burger? Read on for my suggestions on how to make a Build Your Own Burger Bar, plus my burger recipe!
The Best Burger Recipe
A burger bar starts with a good hamburger patty, of course. I’ve found that 80% lean ground chuck is the best meat the start with. It has more fat, but a lot more flavor. You can add flavorings and spices as you like, but if you start with flavorful beef it’s not necessary.
I like to keep my patties simple— with a heavy sprinkling of salt and pepper, a dash of Worcestershire sauce, a bit of garlic powder, and some fresh herbs. See the recipe card below for the full recipe. These hamburgers are so flavorful and juicy!
How to make Hamburger Patties
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef with seasonings and mix with a fork or your hands. Do not overwork the meat or your patties will be tough.
- Divide meat into even portions. I shape them first into balls to make sure they’re all the same size. You can also use a kitchen scale for more accuracy. My patties are usually 1/4 or 1/2 lb, but you also want to consider the size of buns you are using.
- Shape into patties by pressing down on the middle and in from the sides to prevent the meat from cracking. Or, have you seen this hack for shaping patties between two tuppeware lids? It’s genius!
- Place shaped patties on a plate or try lined with wax paper. Grill them right away, or wrap them in plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
How to assemble a “Build your own burger” bar
The possibilities for toppings in a burger bar are almost endless! How big or small you want your options to be is totally up to you. Have your buns, hamburger patties, and toppings spread out on a big buffet table so your guests can choose what they like. Have the table placed next to the grill if you’d like to serve the patties as they’re done cooking. Here are the toppings I served with this burger bar, but don’t feel limited to only what you see here. Get creative!
- Pepper Jack
- Red onions
- Caramelized onions
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Jalapeño peppers
- Yellow mustard
- Dijon mustard
- BBQ sauce
When you’re done building your burger, if it is so tall you can’t fit it in your mouth without a bit of effort, then you’re doing it right. I’m always guilty of overloading my burgers, or is that even possible?
The great thing about a Build Your Own Burger Bar is everyone gets to make the burger they love, and explore new flavor combinations and ingredients. What is on your perfect burger?
Looking for a few side dishes to serve alongside your burgers? Here are a few delicious ideas:
- The Best Potato Salad
- Italian Pasta Salad
- Ultimate Fruit Salad
- Grilled Hasselback Potatoes
- Caesar Salad with Homemade Caesar Dressing
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This recipe was originally published July 2014.
The Best Burgers
For the patties:
- 2 1/2 lbs (1 kg 100 grams) ground chuck (preferably 80% lean)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons Worchestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh herbs like sage, oregano, or rosemary
- 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
To serve (optional):
- 6 hamburger buns
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Cheese and other toppings, as desired
- In a large bowl combine the ground beef with the salt, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, and herbs with your hands.
- Divide mixture into 6 balls. Press into a disk about 3/4 inch high.
- Brush both sides lightly with oil. Cover and chill until ready to grill, up to 8 hours.
- Grill over high heat, about 4-5 minutes on each side until internal temperature reaches 165°F and no pink remains. If adding cheese, place on the top of the patty during the last 30 seconds of cooking. Serve immediately as desired.