How to Plan a Burger Cook-Off

Cook-offs are a great way to get together with friends, have a little sociable competition, and enjoy great food at the same time. With summer coming upon us quickly, why not plan a burger cook-off?

Burgers are an excellent theme for a friendly competition. They are relatively inexpensive allow for a lot of creativity, and well, everybody loves them. So pick a date, send out invites, and get your grill on.

Prep Work

You’re the host, so you’ll want to get a few things ready. Invitations can be casual. In fact, you could probably just call or text your friends to invite them. But consider handcrafting some simple paper invites with graphics like burgers, ketchup and mustard bottles, or picnic tables. That way, you’ll be certain that everyone will know exactly what’s expected of them at this monster burger cook-off. Remind guests to bring their ingredients for the ultimate burger. You’ll provide the rest.

Decorations should be kept low-key as well. Plan the cook-off for a summer weekend afternoon or evening, and hold the entire event outside. Utilize picnic tables with cute checked tablecloths. Hang paper lanterns around the yard for atmosphere. Then they’re ready to go when the sun starts dipping low in the sky. Consider having a basket with blankets in case the evening gets chilly.

On the Side

Your guests will be providing the main course with their burger competition entries. You’ll need to have the rest on hand. Make sure you have plenty of hamburger buns ready to go. And be creative with your offerings: consider ciabatta bread, Kaiser rolls, or sourdough. That way, contestants will have plenty of options.

For side dishes, don’t go crazy. Prepare a tasty cole slaw, potato salad, and fruit salad. Potato chips are a simple side that can also provide some variety at the meal. Or you may want to do some baked fries in both regular and sweet potato. Dessert could be as easy as cute cupcakes or ice cream cones to match the whimsy of a burger bash evening.

Soda and beer can be kept in large tubs with ice. Have tall pitchers with lemonade and ice tea. Most people will be focused on the competition at the grill, so don’t feel like you need to man a full-service bar.

Other Factors

One grill may not be enough. Enlist the help of friends to bring over a couple ahead of time. Have the grills all heated up and ready to go when you want the cooking to begin.

Don’t forget the plates, napkins, and forks. But you’ll also want to have a few sharp knives out so that competitors can cut bites for everyone to try some of the tasty burgers they’ll be creating.

After the heat of the main competition is over, relax with classic board games. It will keep the party and the fun going into the night.