There is no other season that calls for an amazing do-it-yourself burger bar than SUMMER!! Fun, festive and a little sophisticated, this burger bar will impress your guests and keep them happy!
This post is partially sponsored President® Brand cheese. All opinions, ideas and recipes are purely my own. I will never recommend products that I don’t support 100%. You can read my full disclosure here.
There is nothing better than bringing friends and family together for a festive, outdoor summer gathering. And what better food to serve than a good old American burger!?
With a burger bar, guests are able to choose from a wide range of burgers, cheeses and condiments to craft their ultimate, perfect burger! There is something for everyone, from the Classic to the Sophisticated to the Veggie! Your guests will have a blast building their burger and debating who built it best!
WHY A BURGER BAR IS PERFECT FOR SUMMER GATHERINGS
- It allows guests to customize their perfect burger.
- Appeals to a wide range of different diets and flavor palettes.
- It brings guests together around a burger -building table to chat and debate about who can make the best burger!
- Most of the prep for the burger bar can be done ahead of time, making this a simple way to entertain.
- It’s a super impressive “centerpiece” for your summer gathering!
WHAT TO INCLUDE
There are five main categories to think about when assembling your burger bar:
Burgers: It’s always good to have burgers to appeal to different palettes and diet types. But keep it simple! One ground beef (80% lean) and one vegetarian/meat alternative option (veggie burger, Beyond burger) is all you need!
Cheeses: It’s ALL about the CHEESE! Président® cheeses offers the widest range of speciality cheese varieties so it’s easy for guests to perfectly pair their burger with the ideal cheese! These are some cheese pairing suggestions for specific burgers:
- The Classic: Président® Emmental Swiss, Président® Pub Cheese and Sharp Cheddar
- The Sophisticated: Président® Brie, Président® Comté, Président® Le Blue
- The Veggie: Président® Emmental Swiss, Président® Comté, Président® Plain Goat
It’s best to melt the cheese right onto the burgers when cooking. However, I always like to include some extra cheese on the table as well.
Buns: One bun-type is perfectly fine, but you can also mix it up for more variety. Some buns you can include:
- Sesame Seed
- Hawaiian Rolls
- Large lettuce leaves for your low-carb’ers!
Toppings: Here is where I like to keep it pretty simple. About 3-5 toppings is perfect. Here are some options:
- Sliced onion (red/white)
- Extra cheese
Condiments: These are the “sauces” and toppings that are the finishing touches for the perfect burger!
- Burger Sauce: Equal parts mayo and ketchup and a little dill relish OR Thousand Island dressing
- BBQ Sauce
- Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam (SEE RECIPE BELOW)
THREE TYPES OF BURGERS TO INCLUDE
Cheeses, toppings and condiments, the possibilities are absolutely endless when putting together your own burger bar! Guests can assemble a wide variety of burgers depending on their taste and personality! Here are some examples:
The Classic Butter Burger: The Classic Burger is just that! Typical diner-style that will be a go-to for many of your guests! Guests can put an indulgent twist on a classic burger cooked in butter and slathered with a delicious burger sauce! Get the recipe HERE.
The Sophisticated Brie Burger: For you more discerning guests who want a true gourmet burger at home! This burger is topped with melty, gooey brie, then slathered with a delicious bacon and caramelized onion jam and peppery arugula! True bliss. Get the recipe below!
The Veggie: It’s always a good idea to think of guests with different dietary needs. Veggie burgers or Beyond burgers are a great option for vegetarian guests!
ASSEMBLING YOUR BURGER BAR
When assembling your burger bar, just keep it simple!
Step 1: Choose a medium sized table (not too big) so everything is easily within reach. Reserve the middle of the table for the burgers and buns. Guests can also “order” their burger/cheese selection straight from the grill master, however chances are, you’ll need a place for some cooked burgers as well.
Step 2: Arrange larger toppings (lettuce, tomatoes, etc) around the burgers and buns.
Step 3: Group condiments/sauces in one place. Using small mason jars is a festive way to hold things like ketchup, mustard, etc.
Step 4: Add a few red/white/blue decorations or flowers for a final touch! This includes fun, festive plates, napkins and utensils.
TIPS FOR A PERFECT BURGER BAR
- When deciding on how many burgers to buy, calculate 1.5 burgers per guest. This may sound a bit odd, but figure some guests will have one burger and some will two (or more!). By estimating 1.5 per guest, you’ll have your bases covered!
- For the ultimate burger, butter buns and lightly toast them on the grill.
- Be sure to include small serving utensils for each item on your burger bar.
- Label any unfamiliar items such as burger types, speciality cheeses or special condiments to ensure guests know what they are enjoying!
- Use your burger bar as a conversation starter! Chat about all the fun toppings and condiment options and encourage guests to get creative when building their burger! Feeling competitive? Offer a prize for the most creative burger!
SIDE DISHES TO SERVE
The burger bar is the centerpiece, so keep the sides simple! A few varieties of chips and a salad or two such as this Sweet Corn Salad or this Perfect Orzo Salad or just a simple fruit salad are all perfect!
Summertime is the perfect time to bring friends and family together for a festive celebration….and FOOD brings everyone together! This epic burger bar will foster joy, conversation and a lot of messy hands to create a gathering to remember!
OTHER SUMMER RECIPES YOU’LL LOVE
Brie Burger with Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam
For the burgers
- 1.5 lbs. ground beef (80% lean)
- 8 oz Brie, cut into 1/4" slices (about 16 slices total)
- 4 brioche buns
- arugula for topping
For the bacon/onion jam
- 4 slices bacon chopped into 1/4" pieces
- 4 cups sweet onions, diced (about 4 cups)
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- In a large non-stick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add chopped bacon. Cook for 5-6 minutes until bacon is crisp. Remove bacon from skillet and drain on paper towels (reserve for later). Drain some of the bacon grease but leave at least 2 tablespoons in the skillet.
- Next, add onions to the bacon grease. Cook over medium heat until onions are softened (about 5 minutes). Then, reduce heat to LOW and cook onions for another 35-40 minutes until onions are soft and caramelized. They should be a rich brown color.
- Stir in brown sugar, reserved bacon, balsamic vinegar, and salt. Cook 2-3 minutes more until all flavors are incorporated.
- Transfer jam to a bowl. Serve with burgers at room temperature. If you want to make it ahead, jam will keep in an airtight container for 4-5 days in the fridge.
- Form meat into (4) 4-inch patties (about ½ inch thick). Season both sides with sea salt and pepper.
- Cook burgers in either a skillet or on the grill until internal temperature reaches 155-160 degrees, flipping one time (about 2-3 minutes on each side).
- After flipping the burger, add 4 slices of brie to each burger and cover to ensure the cheese melts completely. Let burgers rest, covered for a few minutes–this will allow the juice to redistribute and the cheese to get extra melty!
- To assemble burgers, spread the bacon onion jam on the bottom of the bun. Top with burger, more jam and arugula. Serve immediately.