Level Up Your Cookout with These Build-Your-Own Burger Bar Ideas
A mouthwatering burger is the hero of any cookout. While you can’t go wrong with a traditional burger recipe, it’s always a good time to experiment with new ways to up your grilling game. One way to take your next grilling event up a notch? Burger bars. “Make your own” burger bars are perfect for small or large gatherings alike, whether you’re serving a family dinner or entertaining friends.
What is a Burger Bar?
Like a salad, taco, or hot dog bar, a burger bar gives guests a “build your own” option offering endless ways to customize a long-time grilling favorite. Backyard BBQs, family gatherings, graduations, birthday parties, work lunches, or even watching the big game indoors are all excellent occasions for a build-your-own burger bar.
Ideas for Build-Your-Own Burger Bars
A classic make-your-own burger bar includes the ultimate burger essentials: lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, bacon, mushrooms, mayo, ketchup, and mustard. You can also throw in sautéed onions, avocado, jalapeño, and a variety of cheeses for your guests to try or provide other condiments such as Dijon mustard, ranch, and BBQ sauce.
If you really want to “wow” your guests, or try a new take on a classic burger, experimenting with ingredients or themed burger bars can take your occasion to the next level. Here are a few exclusive Aspen Ridge® Natural Angus Beef recipes and ideas to try with your next burger bar!
1. Smoky and Savory Burger
American cheese is a classic burger topper, but smoked cheddar is a key to one of our favorite burger recipes: The Bacon, Smoked Cheddar, and Caramelized Onion Burger. Not only does this recipe add delicious, smoky flavors to an already mouthwatering Natural Angus beef burger—it provides the perfect base for a top-notch burger bar.
To create this recipe for your burger bar, you’ll need Natural Angus Ground Beef and the basic ingredients for prepping the ground beef (onion powder, Worcestershire, butter, garlic, salt, and pepper). One pound of ground beef usually creates about four patties, so if you have a larger gathering, aim to serve two burgers per person.
You’ll also need:
- Onions (caramelized)
- Kaiser hamburger buns
- Smoked cheddar cheese
If you want to add even more variety and next-level ingredients, serve the following at your burger bar:
- Maple bacon
- Crispy onion straws
- Sliced jalapeños
- Bleu cheese
- Chipotle ranch
- Bourbon mayo
Pro-tip: Serve these beefy Sirloin Wrapped Jalapeño Poppers with Grilled Guacamole and Chips as an appetizer at your next tailgate.
2. Our Natural Angus Beef Spin on Nashville Hot
Like bacon cheddar burgers, Hot Honey Burgers with Coleslaw offer an excellent base with endless options for customization. This spin on the Nashville Hot sandwich is a delicious way to provide your guests with sweet, savory, and spicy eats. Prepare Natural Angus Ground Beef patties according to these instructions and offer the following toppers for your guests:
- Potato or brioche hamburger buns
- Cheddar cheese
- Bacon (applewood smoked or maple)
- Pickle chips
- Red onions
- Onion rings or straws
- Hot honey sauce
- Honey BBQ sauce
- Carolina gold BBQ sauce
- Spicy BBQ sauce
- Sriracha mayo
Want to beef up your Nashville Hot burger bar even more? Add some brisket or shredded beef BBQ as topping options or beef short ribs as appetizers for your guests. Read our Guide to Barbecuing Beef Like a Pro for tips.
3. Korean-Inspired Burger
Kimchi, chiles, and soy sauce always pair well with beef, whether combined in a Korean steak dinner served with broccolini or an Indonesian beef skewer. The same rings true for ground beef, which is why we love this recipe for Kimchi Cheeseburgers with Chili Mayo. This recipe combines Natural Angus beef, provolone cheese, kimchi, and spicy mayo for the perfect balance between spicy, creamy, and crispy.
If you’re hosting a Korean-inspired burger bar, prepare Natural Angus beef patties and kimchi according to the recipe. Provide the following ingredients for your guests to assemble their burgers:
- Potato or sesame buns
- Provolone cheese
- Cheddar cheese (mild or white cheddar)
- Butter lettuce
- Shredded cabbage
- Sliced cucumbers
- Matchstick carrots
- Chili mayo
- Soy sauce
Other Make-Your-Own Food Bar Ideas: Steak Wraps, Kabobs, Sandwiches, and More
If you’re hosting a smaller gathering, celebrating an extra special occasion, or hosting guests indoors, steak is another delicious contender for make-your-own food bars. Thai Beef Lettuce Wraps, Mexican Beef Skewers, Mini Barbacoa Tacos, and Cajun Steak Sandwiches are excellent, easily customizable recipe ideas for food bars. You can also offer a steak charcuterie board if you’re looking for less preparation than a full food bar.
Want more ideas for hosting?
The Aspen Ridge blog, Instagram, or Facebook offers beef cooking tips, video tutorials, meal inspiration, and more. Don’t forget to bookmark our recipes page for more burger, appetizer, and dinner ideas, and find an Aspen Ridge retailer near you!