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The best burger bar ever: Mix-ins and toppings

Amber Graefen

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Apr 19th, 2017

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Mmmm. Burgers. From the smoky char to the melted cheese to the crunchy garden toppings to the buttery bun — burgers capture our taste buds and hearts. They are simple to eat and truly a comfort food for many Americans.

So why not turn grilling burgers into a party with the best burger bar ever?

Hosting a burger bar takes a bit of planning and prep, but on the day of the party you’ll be off-duty, watching your guests create personalized creations. Either shop and chop and put out an array of favorite toppings, or choose a theme with matched mix-ins and toppings. We’re partial to the theme approach. Add some themed decorations and beverages and you’ve mastered an epic burger blowout your friends will be talking about until your next bash.

To get you started, here is a great burger base recipe and some grilling tips. After that are themed meat-mix-ins and burger bar toppings to create a Greek, Italian, French or even a Mexican Burger Bar. ¡Olé!

Best basic burger base

(makes 4 quarter-pound burgers)

1 egg
1 teaspoon Signature Kitchens mustard
1 teaspoon Signature Kitchens Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove Signature Kitchens garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 pound ground beef

In a large bowl, whisk the egg, then add mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Incorporate any other mix-ins from the recipes below if desired. Add a heaping spoonful of meat at a time, stirring until all ingredients are blended. Shape mixture into patties about 3/4-inch thick, being careful not to over handle.

A few burger grilling tips:

  • Make sure your grill is clean so the burger doesn’t stick. Depending on your grill, you may want to lightly oil.
  • Make sure grill is at a medium heat before adding burgers.
  • Use your thumb to make a small depression in the top center of each burger to prevent a rounded top during cooking.
  • Space burgers an inch or more apart.
  • Close lid.
  • Cook burgers until they are no longer pink inside, turning once, about 6-8 minutes per side.

 

greek

Greek Burger Bar

 Greek mix-ins: Add 2 tablespoons of Greek salad dressing to the meat, as well as 1/8 cup each finely chopped feta cheese, Kalamata olives and green pepper. Could substitute lamb for the beef or use half beef, half lamb. Optional: Serve in a pita pocket.

Greek burger bar options: Lettuce, tomatoes, feta cheese, assorted sliced olives, chopped pepperoncini, mint leaves, Signature Cafe hummus.

 

italian

Italian Burger Bar 

Italian mix-ins: Add 2 tablespoons Italian dressing to the meat as well as chopped mozzarella cheese, prosciutto or salami, fresh Italian parsley, 1 teaspoon dried oregano. For those who prefer a cheeseburger, add a slice of mozzarella at the end of the grilling time. Serve on toasted Italian or focaccia bread.

Italian burger bar options: Signature Select pesto sauce, Signature Select pizza sauce, aioli, spinach leaves, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, roasted tomatoes, chopped olives, roasted peppers, cucumber, red onion.

 

italian

French Burger

 French mix-ins: Substitute Signature Kitchens Dijon mustard for the regular mustard in the basic recipe above. Mix in 2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese, 1/8 cup white French wine, 1 teaspoon dried tarragon. For those who prefer a cheeseburger, add a slice of French (or Swiss) cheese at the end of the grilling time. Serve on toasted brioche hamburger buns.

French burger bar options: Caramelized onions, sliced Brie, arugula, cornichons (sour French pickles), fig jam, sliced pears.

 

mexican

Hamburguesas Mexicanas

Mexican mix-ins: Add 1/2 cup salsa, 3 tablespoons canned diced roasted green chilies, 1-2 teaspoons cumin. For those who prefer a cheeseburger, add a slice of Chihuahua cheese at the end of the grilling time.

Optional red bun: To create a spicy red bun, add beet juice and/or food coloring and some dashes of hot sauce to your favorite bun recipe. Top with poppy seeds before baking.

Mexican burger bar options: Hot sauce, salsa, lettuce, tomato, red onion, avocado or guacamole, fresh jalapeño, Chihuahua cheese, diced roasted green chilies, cilantro.

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