Personally I like my air-conditioned kitchen, it's bug free and convenient, for me.
However, I also love to host parties, as you may have gathered from this blog. And one of the funnest parties is a Burger Bar Bash.
We used to host these at least once a year when we lived out west, and it was always popular. We hosted a couple at the campsite when we lived in a RV a few years ago. I had very generous friends who let me use their BBQ grills, cause I only had a small one. And I no longer even own that one, but I have my George Forman grill and quite frankly I'm happy with that.
But lately, I've been craving a good old fashioned Burger Bar Bash again.
So until I get around to doing it, I thought I would let you in on some planning tips.
First off, depending on your pocketbook and budget, you may only want to make all the toppings and have everyone bring their own meat.
I'm kinda funny that way, but I like to do it all.
From the meat to the toppings to the buns, I'm a bit of a control freak that way.
First off, figure out how many people you can accommodate, budget wise, or space wise.
I used to plan on just over one pound of hamburger meat for every three people. And as I said, I like to 'control' it all so I make my own patties. Told you I was a control freak on this. I learned that a 6 oz. uncooked patty would fill up most people. And I always make extras, just in case a teenage boy or three wanders in. Quick math lesson, 15 lbs. of hamburger meat will make 40 patties. And any leftover patties that aren't cooked, just go ahead and freeze.
And... I'm rather picky on the whole fat to lean ration on my hamburgers. I like a 50/50 ratio of ground chuck and ground round. I want some fat, but I hate to bite into a grease burger. ***SHUDDER*** And even though I made a mixture, I did not play in the meat. You can toss it gently together and then just barely pat the patties together. I also had turkey burgers for those people who don't eat red meat, as well as Veggie Burgers for those who don't eat meat at all. (I've been known to just make those for myself, cause I like them).
You can buy the veggie burger patties or make them yourself. Your call.
And don't forget the dimple in the burger when you grill them. They cook evenly that way.
OK, now we have the meat handled. Well, kinda, I'll clue you in on one of my fave burgers later.
Next up is the buns. And here is where I get super, super picky. I hate, abhor, despise those buns that fall apart as soon as you bite into it. They just moosh up and well, I won't buy them. And usually, the bun is way too small for my burgers and the toppings. So, I buy French Hamburger buns. You know the kind, they're made from French bread, and they do hold up. And I've also been known to buy a loaf of French Bread and just cut it into 4ths or 5ths and make buns that way. And I've just discovered Pretzel Buns, which seem to be pretty sturdy as well. A good Kaiser roll can work also. Your call on that one, but please don't use those puny little buns that get sold in an 8 pack. I think they're only good for those cardboard patties some hamburger chains sell, cause they can only handle a two ounce patty, a small squirt of mayo and mustard.
I'm not opinionated on this subject, at all. Am I?
Condiments are next. I have the usual, Ketchup, yellow mustard, brown mustard, BBQ sauce and Mayo. And have also been know to put out a couple of bottles of hot sauce as well. I cater or attempt to cater to most tastes.
Then there is the lettuce, tomato and pickles and raw onions. You can shred the lettuce and place it out in a bowl if you like or just tear up the leaves into quarters and pile them loosely onto a platter. I've found that one head of lettuce will do about 20 or 30 burgers. I also have two kinds of pickles available, as some people like Dill Pickles and others like Bread and Butter pickles. I can go either way. But I have to have a large slice of raw onion on my burger, and I don't care if it makes my breath funny. I can always pop a mint.
So there are the basic toppings, condiments, etc. And it works.
I like to go a little further.
A lot further.
I cook up a pile of bacon, have some good pastrami handy, some sauteed garlic, some caramelized onions, sauteed Mushrooms and two or three kinds of cheese for people to choose from. I really don't care for the processed cheese slices, but that's me. I usually offer some good Cheddar or Colby Jack, some Provolone and some Blue Cheese.
And here's where it really gets fun. Grill your burgers, brown your buns if you like, place them on a big platter and let your guests build their own.
You would be amazed at how much fun that is.
Especially when one of your guests builds a Dagwood style burger and can't get their mouth around it.
Ummm. that might actually be me.