There’s nothing quite like a classic, all-American barbecue, complete with grilled hot dogs, juicy hamburgers, grilled corn on the cob and ice-cold beer, all on a red and white checkered tablecloth with some potato salad on the side. We love these summer meals, but what if we took just a few extra minutes to upgrade the classics for even tastier results? Here’s what we’re doing for our next grill-fest.
Hot Dog Toppings
A squirt of ketchup and mustard make for a great dog, and we’re not saying get rid of those, but add a few more options to the table. Quick-pickled red onions (see below), relish and diced tomatoes are great to add to hot dogs. For added crunch, try potato stix on top of the dogs too.
How to Quick-Pickle
Marisa McClellan of the popular site Food in Jars shared this recipe with us. Feel free to adjust the below measurements based on your jar sizes and volume of produce to pickle, but here are the basic ratios:
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- Your fruit or veggie of choice
- 3-4 tablespoons of sugar or honey (optional)
- Combine water, vinegar, salt, and optional sugar or honey in a pot and bring to a boil.
- While the pickling liquid heats up, trim the ends off fruit or veggies and thinly slice with a knife or mandoline.
- Once the liquid is boiling, add these soon-to-be-pickles into the pot.
- Remove from heat after a few minutes and pour everything into your jars.
- Let the jars cool down to room temperature, then add lids and stash jars in the back of the fridge.
Sometimes stuffed burgers can get a little out of hand – we love mac and cheese, but it’s a little much to add it to the middle of your burger. We do suggest, however, adding cheddar or another cheese to the middle of the burger. It makes your typical burgers a little more special and unexpected. To help things along, we fill a burger press halfway with the ground meat, stick a slice of cheese or a handful of shredded cheese on top, and then add the rest of the meat. The burger press helps to keep the patties uniform and keeps the cheese slice fully encased.
Not-Your-Typical Veggie Burger
It’s probably a good idea to have a vegetarian option available as well, and why not surprise and delight your vegetarian friends with a new take on veggie burgers? These burgers use chickpeas and carrots for the base, and get tons of flavor from smoky chipotle seasoning. Add slices of avocado to really impress your friends.
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Bring your grilled corn to the next level by making a Mexican Street Corn Salad, or esquites. We use this simple recipe for a Mexican Street Corn Salad and smoothly peel corn and combine it with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, fresh cilantro and a jalapeno pepper for an added kick.
Check out our essentials for grilling, including must-have tools and thermometers.