Tailgate Burger Bar ~ Turn Condiments from Ho-Hum to Touchdown!

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My family’s fall weekends are filled with football. On Saturdays, we cheer on our alma mater, the Miami Hurricanes, and on Sundays, we yell at the TV for the hometown Carolina Panthers. But bland hamburgers and hot dogs are a bore. Interesting condiments are key to a tasty game day. Plain old ketchup and mayonnaise? Ho-hum. We spice up our football experience with an easy to make tailgate burger bar for more flavor and fun. So should you! Here’s how.

Tailgate Burger Bar ~ Spice Up Your Game Day!

(Photo credit: Canva.com)

Curry Ketchup

Curry can scare off both children and adults who fear spicy foods. A mild yellow curry powder, like the one suggested below adds, a brightness to the sauce. Ever tried German currywurst? Yeah, like that!

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon mild yellow curry powder

Stir ingredients together in a bowl.

Curry ketchup and roasted garlic mayonnaise ~ Tailgate Burger Bar

Curry ketchup and roasted garlic mayonnaise (Photo credit: Bryan Richards)

Roasted Garlic Mayonnaise

Garlicy foods can be difficult to introduce to tailgating kids. Roasted garlic takes away the bulb’s spicy, harsh edge. You’re left with a mellow paste that’s sweeter on the tongue.

  • 1 head garlic
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Cut the top off the garlic head. Drizzle the open top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in tinfoil and roast for 45 minutes in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven. Once the garlic cools, squeeze the garlic paste out of the cloves into the mayonnaise. Stir to combine.

Yes, bacon can get better - rosemary bacon! ~ Tailgate Burger Bar

Yes, bacon can get better – rosemary bacon! (Photo credit: Bryan Richards)

Rosemary Bacon

Who can resist bacon? It makes great vehicle to introduce a new spice like rosemary.

  • Bacon (1 slice per person)
  • Fresh rosemary (three sprigs per batch)

Heat your frying pan to medium. Once it’s hot, layer the bacon across the pan. Be careful not to overcrowd. Then layer three springs of rosemary across the top. Your house is going to smell delicious. Once the bacon begins to brown (about five minutes), remove the rosemary and set aside. Flip the bacon and layer the rosemary back on top. Cook until brown on the other side (about five minutes more).

Mustardy Caramelized Onions

I refuse to eat raw onions on my hamburger. The flavor is too acidic, and I taste them all day. Sautéed onions are something completely different, though. They’re soft and sweet and taste fantastic on a burger. Or, as my toddler prefers, they’re super tasty completely on their own.

  • 2 large onions
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

To keep from dirtying too many pans, reuse the mushroom pan. Halve and then slice the onions. Heat the butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add the onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a few pitches of salt and pepper. Cook for another five minutes or until caramelized, stirring occasionally. Add in the mustard, stir, and cook for another minute.

Tailgate burger bar ingredients all coming together

Tailgate burger bar ingredients all coming together (Photo Credit: Bryan Richards)

Sautéed Mushrooms

Most kids don’t like mushrooms because of their mushy texture. Hide that texture in a cheeseburger by layering them between the buns! Children just may find they like the flavor. They may even scoop some creminis or porcinis onto their plates the next time mushrooms are served with dinner.

  • 8 ounce package sliced mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper

Wash and dry the mushrooms. Heat butter and extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, add mushrooms. Cook for five minutes, stirring occasionally. There will be a lot of water in the pan. Add a few pitches of salt and pepper and stir. Cook for five more minutes or until browned, stirring occasionally.

A kicked-up tailgate burger bar plate

A kicked-up tailgate burger bar plate (Photo credit: Bryan Richards)

Tailgate burger bar

Arrange all of the condiments above alongside the burgers, buns, and other burger necessities like lettuce, tomato, and pickles. Encourage both children and adults to experiment with flavors.

Many nutritional experts suggest blending familiar foods, like burgers and dogs, with more exotic flavors, like curry and rosemary, as a great way to introduce new foods and to help picky child eaters expand their palates. Challenge your child to try at least one new ingredient. You both may be surprised by what they like.

Kick up your tailgate burger bar even further with these creative hamburgers that appeal to adults and children alike.

What additional toppings would you add to a burger bar? Let us know in the comments below!

About Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy

Bryan M. Richards began his blog, TheWanderingGourmand.com, to document his culinary adventures with his wife around the world (and around the kitchen). During the first eight years of their marriage, they followed their taste buds across five continents, 20 countries, and 71 cities and drank plenty of beer along the way. Then Deacon was born, and they’re learning how to incorporate their son into their culinary adventures. Currently, Bryan balances his role as stay-at-home dad to his young son with his novel writing and freelance gigs covering craft beer, food, and travel. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Follow his adventures on Facebook and Instagram as @BRichWrites.

  1. Karlaroundtheworld | Karla says

    That sounds like a burger that’s packed with flavor! Definitely perfect for game day! I would love to keeo the recipe! Thanks!0

  2. (Swallow) (Swallow)… so delicious!!! This dish reminds me of Korean kimchi, kimchi served with this dish in cold days, there is nothing better than!!!!

    • Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy says

      Kimchi and burgers? I would have never thunk… Then again, there is a burger-sushi-fusion restaurant here in Charlotte.

  3. Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says

    Rosemary bacon sounds divine. I’m going to have to give that a try!

  4. Sarah @ BucketListTummy says

    Love these ideas. The bacon looks so good, it’s gotta be crispy for me to eat!

  5. Reesa Lewandowski says

    Oh love the idea of adding the rosemary to the bacon!

  6. Such a good idea to spice up the condiments. I want to come to your house on game days!

  7. What a yummy burger. I m going to have to try it.

  8. OurFamilyWorld says

    Wow, what a yummy burger! I am going to try these I bet my hubby would love this

    • Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy says

      It was written by a hubby so I can verify these recipes have been hubby tested and approved 🙂

  9. Melissa @ Married my sugar daddy says

    I never thought of creating a burger bar! What a neat idea! We are vegetarians–and this would be such a great way to get my kids excited about building their own veggie burgers!

    • Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy says

      If you’re doing veggie burgers, you might want to leave out the bacon…. 🙂

  10. Rach Ferrucci says

    I love jazzing up burgers and these look delicious, I’ll need to try this Sunday!

  11. Amanda Love says

    Regardless if we’re tailgating or not, these burgers will make my sons go crazy! Thanks for sharing the recipe, it’s packed with flavors which makes it amazing!

    • Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy says

      They’re perfect for a fun weeknight meal, too as none are too complicated to make.

  12. Chrystal | Nevermore Lane says

    We just grilled out and did a burger bar a few weeks ago. They are so much fun and everyone can make their burgers just how they want them.

  13. Toni | Boulder Locavore says

    This looks SO delicious! An ultimate tailgate burger! Definitely giving this a try!

  14. This is a great idea and I love the burger bar. It makes me so hungry

  15. We are huge caramelized onion eaters here. I have never thought of adding Dijon though. I must do this with our next batch!

  16. These are the best ideas. I’d love to add more flavor to our condiments. We definitely have to add some mild curry to the ketchup.

  17. What a great idea! I’d never think to do a burger bar but it’s pretty brilliant. Something for everyone that way! It’s great!

  18. I love the idea of a burger bar so everyone can create their ultimate burger. I think I would choose to include all of these delicious topping ideas on mine!

  19. Pam Wattenbarger says

    I don’t mind raw onions on a burger, but I agree that sauteed ones are something else altogether. Those mustardy sauteed onions sound perfect for a burger bar.

  20. This is such a great idea. It will make it easier on everyone to have more fun.

  21. Stacie @ Divine Lifestyle says

    This is the best idea ever! I love the thought of a burger bar complete with all the ingredients you’d ever want. Thanks!

  22. Catherine Sargent says

    This looks like a great tailgate burger bar. I have never had curry, but I would like to try the curry ketchup. I would add garlic pickles.

    • Bryan Richards, The Hungry Travel Daddy says

      Never had curry? You’ll have to let me know what you think of it. I guarantee you’ll be seeking out an Indian restaurant this weekend….

  23. Theses burgar look yummy

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