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Sunny Anderson's Ultimate Burger Bar


Chef notes

I love setting up a burger bar for backyard cookouts! It lets guests customize their burger to their tastes and explore a wide range of ingredients and flavors.


Basic burgers
  • 3 pounds ground chuck
  • 3 teaspoons kosher salt
  • teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 8 brioche hamburger burger buns
All-American Burger
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon pickle relish
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 8-12 slices American cheese
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 head Iceberg lettuce, shredded
  • Pickle slices (optional)
Italian Burger
  • 5 Roma or plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick, lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch basil, leaves trimmed
  • 1 pound smoked mozzarella, sliced 1/8-inch thin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Western Burger
  • 2 Vidalia onions, sliced
  • 16 ounces baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 sprigs thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces Swiss cheese slices
Tex-Mex Burger
  • 8-12 slices pepper Jack cheese
  • Red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 avocados, sliced
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves


For the basic burgers:

In a large bowl, very gently combine ground chuck, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Gently form into 8-12 equal burger patties (4 to 6 ounces each). Refrigerate patties covered on a dish at least 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator and rest at room temperature for 2 hours before grilling.

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Grill burgers for 6-8 minutes on each side for medium rare, longer for well done. Flip only once and do not press down burgers while grilling.

For the all-American burger:

In a small bowl mix the ketchup, mayonnaise and relish. Spread this mixture lightly on the bottom and top buns. Build burger from the bottom with the patty, cheese, onion, tomato, pickles (optional), and lettuce.

For the Italian burger:

Heat oven to 400°F. Arrange tomato slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Top burger with a few leaves of basil, a slice of smoked mozzarella and a few roasted tomato slices.

For the Western burger:

Place onions in grill pan with olive oil, mushrooms and thyme. Move grill pan to indirect heat zone on grill. Season with salt and pepper and cook in grill pan until onions and mushrooms are tender. Make burger with cheese slice and a mound of the onions and mushrooms on top.

For the Tex-Mex burger:

Build and top starting with the patty, cheese, onion, avocado and cilantro.