Hamburgers and hotdogs are a staple of our summer barbeque menus — they’re more cost effective than steaks or ribs and kids love them, making them perfect for both big backyard parties and weeknight family meals. Stock your pantry with interesting condiments that will last you throughout the summer or come up with special combinations of fresh ingredients that mimic the gourmet burgers and dogs you’ll find on restaurant menus or popular food trucks. Here are some ideas that go beyond the standard trinity of ketchup, mustard, and relish:
If a sauce works on your favourite pasta or another kind of meat, it’ll probably work on a hotdog or hamburger. Experiment with Asian flavours like hoisin or wasabi, pasta favourites like marinara or pesto, Caesar or ranch salad dressing, chimichurri, horseradish, mint sauce, or anything else that strikes your fancy.
If your table can’t do without the classics, make your own relishes, ketchup, mustard, and mayo. This way you can control the sugar and salt content and add in different spices and flavouring.
Veggies (And Fruits!)
Skip the iceberg lettuce and try other greens like spinach or a spring salad mix, cucumbers, sprouts, cole slaw, fresh herbs, grilled pineapple, avocado, sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions, or banana peppers.
Sub good old process cheese slices with something more luxurious. Try a little bit of melted brie, crumbled blue cheese or feta, Manchego, Provelone, mozzarella, or a soft creamy cheese like Boursin.
Adding more meat to burgers and dogs? Why not? Bacon is always a crowd-pleaser (try wrapping it around your hotdog wieners) and a nice scoop of leftover chili beefs up a hamburger or a hotdog.
Add Some Crunch
Add some texture to your burgers and hotdogs with some crushed potato or tortilla chips. It may sound a little weird, but the salty crunch is surprisingly delicious!
Changing up the bun can make your hamburger or hotdog feel like a totally different meal. Try a different kind of bread (a pita is especially great if you choose Mediterranean toppings like feta, tzatziki, cucumber, and olives) or go for a bread-free burger or hotdog. Lettuce wraps are a great alternative for those who avoid bread, or use a Portobello mushroom cap as the bottom “bun” of an open-faced burger.
With those ideas in your pocket, feel free to create “theme” burgers and dogs like an Italian burger (bruschetta, mozzarella, basil, and lettuce), a Blue Hawaiian burger (grilled pineapple, blue cheese, teriyaki sauce, fried onions), or a Vietnamese Banh Mi hotdog (shredded carrot, mayo, cilantro, cucumber). If you’re planning a big bash, lay out a buffet of condiments and toppings and let your guests come up with their creations. You’ll never want to have a burger or hot dog the same way twice again!