Taking a burger from boring to blazin’

Getting ready for the last big grillling holiday of 2017

hamburgers and hotdogs cooking on flaming grill

KINSTON — Labor Day — the unofficial last weekend of summer for many in the Tarheel State — is upon us. As citizens across the state gather to mark the transition from the summer calendar to the school calendar, backyard grilling will be a priority and burgers will be on the menu for many.

Burgers are moving up on the culinary ladder according to Amy Nedwell, director of marketing for Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, a full-service gourmet burger chain which traces its beginnings to Charlotte.

“An upscale burger is the fastest-growing category in casual dining in the world,” said Nedwell. “We want you to have a great burger with great ingredients. We highlight local craft beers and support the communities around us so you have a place to feel comfortable bringing your family, meeting your friends or grabbing a beer after work.

“You’re enjoying darn good food,” she added.

As a burger bar, Bad Daddy’s encourages customers to create their own burger. So, if you added all 51 toppings to their Create Your Own Burger menu item, you would have a $52 burger that included peanut butter, buttermilk fried bacon and 12 layers of cheese. (And yes, two customers have actually tried this.)

Since Bad Daddy’s allows you to create your own burger, it’s only fitting they helped us in creating awesome recipes for you to try at home.

We know that many of you will be serving up the classic Carolina-style burger over the Labor Day weekend. But the pros at Bad Daddy’s tested a plethora of garnishes and dubbed the list below as some of the best creative collaborations if you want to venture into exotic burger territory.

  • Peanut butter, pimento cheese, bacon bourbon jam and potato chips: The smoothness of the peanut butter, pimento cheese and jam is contradicted by the crunchy chips to create a burst of flavor.
  • Peach relish and goat cheese: Take the best of summer’s fruit and pair it with salty, crumbled goat cheese to create a light sweet and savory blend.
  • Brie cheese, applewood smoked bacon and grilled apples: Perfect for a regular burger or a turkey burger, create a French-inspired flavor with slices of brie cheese, bacon and grilled apples.
  • Cream cheese and jalapeño: The mix of spicy jalapeño with the cool creaminess of cream cheese will add a refreshing kick to your patty.

Step away from a classic patty and bun combination by utilizing some of the following tips on creating a more unique burger:

  • Press in a panini: Flatten the burger in a panini press for a different taste focused more on the inside of the burger and less on the bready-bun.
  • Veggies as a bun: Cut down on carbs and create a different flavor by using veggies like lettuce or mushrooms as the bun of the burger.

Or if you want to forgo cooking yourself and instead step into the burger joint, Bad Daddy’s locations in North Carolina include Charlotte, Raleigh, Cary, Winston-Salem and the soon-to-open spot in Greenville.

Grillers in need

Labor Day is the last official grilling holiday of the summer, and LongHorn Steakhouse’s expert Grill Masters will be on hand to help backyard chefs prepare for cookouts. On Sunday, Sept. 3, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., grillers in need can dial the LongHorn Grilling Hotline at 1-855-LH-GRILL (1-855-544-7455) for immediate help from a tried-and-true grilling expert. The steakhouse also offers tips and tricks on its website, expertgriller.com.