What’s pizza without toppings? Just plain dough. In other words, not good. What about BBQ sauce for your steak or seasoning for your chicken?! Without toppings your cookouts simply won’t have the ‘oomph’ our guests so crave in BBQ. Toppings make the meal and even the person; it’s a fact. What are the best toppings for burgers and every other BBQ staple? Let’s run through some timeless classics as well as a few cutting-edge topping trends.
Cheese is the Lebron James of toppings – it’s been around a long time, succeeded on all levels, and it’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. Whether it’s on a burger, pizza, fries or just on the side! A record 5000 kinds of cheese were entered in the International Cheese Awards this year – that’s right, 5000. Now, I’m not suggesting you have that variety on hand for your BBQ, but a few options are always great. You can’t go wrong with cheddar, mozzarella, feta and creamy goat cheese. All these options taste fantastic on burgers or pizza and will leave everyone greatly satiated. Is someone vegan or allergic to dairy? No problem. There are numerous alternative cheeses to pick from as well, just check your local grocery chain for so many different options. This is your first step in winning the neighborhood BBQ championship.
Pass the Ketchup?
It’s the most common BBQ phrase, and it also ranks pretty high at my kitchen table… nightly. Ketchup is often a child’s most beloved condiment – ketchup on burgers, mac n’ cheese, shepherd’s pie, fries, eggs, cereal- okay maybe not cereal, but you see where I’m going with this. Pair ketchup up with any of these amazing BBQ recipes for kids and you’re going to be a star.
But wait. Ketchup isn’t just for children anymore! Rejoice as Heinz has come out with several different flavors such as jalapeño and Sriracha, as well as a few ‘health conscious’ options like no sugar added and organic. Ketchup is a must at any gettogether.
Courteney Cox Chugs It
Who would have guessed that combining mayonnaise, buttermilk and some basic herbs could launch the salad dressing market into a culinary staple of the American diet? Ranch dressing is overwhelmingly the most consumed (and drank) dressing in North American – there’s even a Ranch Dressing soda. Again, we’re not kidding.
So, if you’re serving a side salad, Ranch dressing better be an option! Ranch dressing is no longer a condiment; it has become a side that people eat alongside their salads, burgers, fries, pizza and countless other meals. Ranch is super versatile and delicious. Whether you like Kraft or Hidden Valley, having Ranch on hand is a must for any event. My family’s’ favorite is Southwest Ranch or Cheesy Jalapeño Ranch – both are delicious on burgers.
Add Some Spice to Your Life
Salsa is one of the best, most underrated, toppings. There are numerous brands of salsa sold in store, but a fresh, homemade salsa can’t be beaten. It’s much easier to make yourself than you think, all you need is fresh tomatoes, chilies, onions, cilantro, some lime juice, and seasonings- salt, pepper, dried oregano, and cumin. Control how hot it is by adding fewer chilies to ensure everyone loves it. A quick and easy recipe to follow can be found here and if you’re feeling adventurous add your own twist to it!
The Great Sauce Debate Continues
South Carolina is known as the home of BBQ sauce to many barbeque enthusiasts, but you don’t have to travel to the Palmetto state to enjoy great sauce; after all, what’s a BBQ without BBQ sauce? Dry, that’s what.
BBQ sauces come in so many flavors and are spiced every which way, but they all mostly consist of tomato paste, vinegar, mustard or mayonnaise as a base, as well as liquid smoke, onions, spices, and sweeteners. Some popular flavors of BBQ sauce are honey, maple, and smoky. A more recent trend has been popping up all over the US, fruit flavored sauces such as apple, apricot-habanero, peach and black cherry are gaining traction. So get creative by adding a little sweetness to your grilled meats – it has never been so easy, or delicious.
What’re the Best Toppings for Burgers?
Some foods just taste better grilled and there’s no debating the burger is one of them. But what about toppings? You have your standard lettuce, tomato, and pickle always available, but there are so many other options. Try putting out jalapeño, banana pepper, corn, fresh herbs, avocado, goat cheese, mushrooms and basically anything you can think of. Burgers are full of personal preferences, so what are the best toppings for burgers? Sadly, there’s no definitive answer. But having out a few extra condiments can take your backyard BBQ from bland to King James status! Bonus: your guests can add these items to their side salad as well.
Some New-Age, Next-Level Shiggin’
Lastly, I’m going to touch on what I like to call toppings to bring your BBQ to the next level. We often overlook some of these simple toppings for the easier go to’s, but you shouldn’t! Prepping a few of these items, day-of, will change your BBQ routine.
- Grilled pineapple is quick, simple, just brush with oil and throw the slices on the grill.
- Caramelized onions can be made in a pan on your stove top, and they add the perfect amount of richness to your burger.
Bonus: roasted peppers, herbed butters, and tzatziki also pair well with anything and everything at a BBQ. We like our fries dipped in tzatziki, give it a try.
BBQ foods are like personalities, and each is made interesting and beautiful by a unique blend of complimentary toppings and condiments. Although we couldn’t definitively answer what the best toppings for burgers are, we’re sure you get the point – have a good selection at your next event, and it will be an instant winner! You might just end up being your neighborhood go-to for grilling delicious summertime cookouts!