Now is the time to build a better burger.
mr-Perfect Grilled Burgers
Credit: Jen Causey; Food Styling: Margaret Dickey and Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

I love a classic burger. I've also had a billion of them (that's a rough approximation) in my lifetime, and I'm willing to bet you have too. I don't have any beef with the standard burger toppings and adornments, but I am a little bit bored of them. With a few quick tweaks, from condiments to construction, your burger can go from forgettable to irreplaceable. That is, if you're okay with being begged to host next year's Labor Day party.

Free the Sauce

A surefire way to determine whether a condiment should be retired is to forget it in the fridge. If once your burger has been dressed, drenched, and topped with a bun you remember the forgotten bottle, just leave it. Set aside a few extra minutes this weekend to create a truly stunning sauce. Balsamic Ketchup (pictured)Spicy Chipotle MustardGarlic Aioli

Surprise-Inside Burger

It's a known fact that the only thing better than a surprise is a cheesy surprise. Rather than treat your cheese as an afterthought, let it cook to gooey perfection while nestled between two juicy patties. Feta-Stuffed Burgers Pimiento Cheese-Stuffed Burgers Stuffed Border Burgers (pictured)

Make Your Bun Feel Pretty

I know better than to suggest you spend hours toiling over the perfect homemade bun when there is a long weekend to be enjoyed. Don't do that. Instead, give pre-made rolls a makeover by brushing with an egg wash and sprinkling with poppy or sesame seeds. This is a small cost, big reward move. Get instructions here.