How to Build a Burger Bar, According to Five Marys

How to Build a Burger Bar, According to Five Marys


To make the ideal burger bar, you need to nail two things: burgers and toppings. Lucky for us, our new Resident, Five Marys—a Northern California livestock farm run by Mary and Brian Heffernan—is an expert on both. Not only does Five Marys produce exceptionally consistent, grass-fed, dry-aged beef, but they also run their own, burger-forward restaurant, Five Marys Burgerhouse. In the most recent episode of their new series, Raised On The Ranch, Mary shares her blueprint for the ultimate burger bar—here are four of her best tips.

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1. Source Quality Beef

According to Mary, much of the impetus for starting Five Marys Farm came from her and Brian’s pursuit of truly great burger meat. “What motivated us was actually the quest to find the perfect ground beef,” she says. Years later, they’re producing it themselves. Five Marys ground beef is grass-fed and dry-aged, giving it a deep and complex flavor, making it perfect for your next burger night or barbecue. If you’re planning to grill out in the near future, we recommend ordering some Five Marys beef online. However, if you’re in need of burgers at this very moment, the butcher at your local grocery store should be able to steer you towards another beef of similarly high quality.

2. Season Your Beef

When seasoning her burgers, Mary embraces both quality and quantity. For specific seasonings, Mary prefers using her Five Marys Spice Rub—a blend of sea salt, rosemary, thyme, red pepper flake, and “some really good black pepper.” A balanced collection of heat, salt, and earthiness, a seasoning like Five Marys Spice Rub enhances the flavor of the beef without overpowering it. Regarding quantity, Mary seasons her patties liberally—covering them edge-to-edge in spice blend—and so should you.

3. Homemade Toppings

Mary makes two toppings entirely from scratch—bacon marmalade and tomato jam—that we cannot wait to put on our next burgers. The marmalade, which consists of bacon, onions, garlic, coffee, apple cider vinegar, and brown sugar, masterfully mixes sweetness, acidity, and salt into a spreadable condiment. Meanwhile, Mary’s tomato jam couldn’t be easier to make: Just simmer tomatoes with sugar, vinegar, and red pepper flakes until you reach your preferred consistency. Even better, since these condiments both last up to a week, you can prep them days in advance of your burger bar. Oh, and don’t worry, both recipes are included in the burger below:

4. Get Your Friends Together

Don’t do your burger bar alone. Follow the example set by Mary and Brian and gather your closest friends, family, neighbors, whoever, to enjoy your delicious spread on a long summer night.

What is your preferred way to set up a burger bar? Let us know in the comments below!

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