To Top It All Off

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Easy summer toppings for your next sizzling session at the grill

What do we love about summer grilling? The deep, savory smokiness. The bits of char at the edges. The sizzling fat. The steaming juices.  

Tradition guides us to heighten those rich, meaty flavors with hits of vinegar, sugar and salt – the common elements of ketchup, mustard, and relish. We don’t have to stop with these childhood favorites, however. We can adventure into new culinary territory with homemade condiments that punch up our summer palate with bright, interesting, fresh flavors. 

All of our suggestions can be made a day or two ahead of your next session at the grill.


Quick Pickled Onions

  • 2 red onions, thinly sliced

  • 2 tbsp. peppercorns

  • 1 cup red wine vinegar

  • 2 tbsp. sugar

  • 1 tbsp. salt

Whisk the vinegar, sugar, and salt together, and toss in the onions and peppercorns. Marinate in the fridge overnight. Use generously on hamburgers, or sparingly on steak, lamb, or pork.


Creamy Cucumbers

  • 2 medium cucumbers, thinly sliced

  • 2 cups white vinegar

  • 1 tbsp. sugar

  • 1 tbsp. salt

  • 3/4 cup sour cream

  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill

  • Dash of olive oil

Mix the vinegar, sugar, and salt, and marinate the cucumbers overnight. Rinse with cold water and blot dry with paper towel and set aside. Mix sour cream, dill, olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss the cucumber slices in sour cream mixture and serve. Delicious with fish or lamb.


Jalapeño Pickle Relish

  • 16 oz. jar of store bought dill 

  • pickle chips 

  • 2 cups sliced jalapeño peppers 

  • (seeds removed)

  • 1/4 cup tequila

  • 1 cup minced yellow onion

  • 2 minced garlic cloves

  • 1 tsp. celery seed

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh dill

  • 1 tsp. black pepper

Empty the jar of store-bought pickle chips into a stainless steel bowl. Add all other ingredients, stir gently and cover. Marinate for a day or two in the fridge. Chop into small pieces for more spreadable relish. Perfect with hamburgers, hot dogs, bratwurst, or barbequed chicken.


Sriracha Mayonnaise

2 cups Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1/2 tsp. fresh lime juice

2 tbsp. sriracha spice mix

Whisk everything together about an hour in advance of serving. If you want more heat, add more spice mix! Slather this on hamburgers or hot dogs.


Pesto Chimichurri

  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts 

  • (or toasted pepitas)

  • 2 cups fresh parsley

  • 1/4 cups fresh garlic mustard leaves 

  • (or fresh watercress)

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic

  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Olive oil

  • Salt

Puree all the ingredients in the blender. Add olive oil gradually, scraping down the sides once in a while until a rough slurry is formed. Salt to taste. Add a little ground cumin if you like. Use with steaks, roasts, and beer-can chicken.


Spicy Cilantro Lime Slaw

4 cups shredded green cabbage

6 diced cubanelle peppers

1 diced yellow bell pepper

1/4 cup minced Vidalia onion

2 tbsp. ground white pepper

2 tbsp. lime zest

3 tbsp. fresh lime juice

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Olive oil

Mix all ingredients together and marinate in the fridge overnight. For more heat, add a chopped jalapeño or two. Delicious with fish or chicken.


Sweet Beet and Red Cabbage Slaw

2 minced shallots

2 cup grated raw beets

2 cups grated red cabbage 

1 cup grated carrot

4 tbsp. black cherry or pear balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp. ground coriander

Salt and pepper

Olive oil

Toss all ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste. Marinate overnight. To make it a bit sweeter, add a grated Granny Smith apple. Just before serving, drizzle with olive oil and toss. Combines beautifully with pork, lamb, and any grilled sausage.



 Story and styling by  Keith Recker  //  Photography by Marcy Holquist