There are few weekend activities I love more than a good ‘ole backyard cookout—whether at my place or someone else’s abode. As a bona fide foodie, my search for ways to elevate this perennial pastime never ceases, whether that be in the way of new and exciting recipe ingredients, condiments, beverages, cookware or serviceware. Here are some tasty finds in each of these categories sure to enhance your next event.
Lee Kum Kee's Sriracha BBQ Sauce (www.Amazon.com) - $3.99 (18oz.)
Lee Kum Kee has launched a new product this year that's absolutely perfect for any BBQ. It's their Sriracha Barbecue Sauce! This is a spicy twist on the classic barbecue sauce because it combines paprika, mustard seeds and chili peppers. It’s a great balance of smoky, sweet and spicy. If you're looking for a pre-made BBQ marinade or condiment to elevate a burger, Lee Kum Kee has you covered! With a glorious history of 125 years, Lee Kum Kee has become a household name as an ethnic Chinese enterprise as well as an international brand and a symbol of quality and trust. As a century-old ethnic enterprise, Lee Kum Kee substantiates its core value of "considering others’ interests” in every aspect of its business operations. Lee Kum Kee has also lived by the principles of “pragmatism, integrity and constant entrepreneurship”.
Rojo's Fire Roasted Salsa (www.RojosSalsa.com) - $3.29 - $4.59
Rojo’s restaurant quality salsas and dips are made with premium fresh-cut ingredients like diced tomatoes, flavorful chiles, onions and robust seasonings to add a flavorful kick to your cookout. Rojo’s is refrigerated and made in small batches using high-quality ingredients to deliver authentic, homemade freshness and flavor that’s sure to get your party started. Founded in 1985, this company has a rich heritage in refrigerated foods, which began with a secret homemade salsa recipe made by a family in Mexico and brought to the U.S. Today, Rojo’s is the industry leader in refrigerated, fresh-cut salsa, offering a complete line of fresh, restaurant-quality refrigerated salsas that are a gold standard in the marketplace. Rojo’s is available at your local grocer in the refrigerator/deli section.
4th & Heart Artisanal Flavored Ghee (www.FourthandHeart.com) - $14.99
Ghee is the next culinary superstar of the food world and 4th & Heart is leading the way. Ghee is a delicious superfood with numerous health properties that is similar to butter but is better for your health. This pure clarified butter is boiled to perfection eliminating all milk solids making it dairy, casein and lactose free. Ghee is an essential healthy fat and a nutrient powerhouse rich in Vitamin K & E, Omega Fatty Acids and Medium Chain triglycerides among others. 4th & Heart is bringing this ancient Ayurvedic ingredient to the spotlight by crafting ghee in gourmet flavors of White Truffle, California Garlic, Himalayan Pink Salt, Madagascar Vanilla and original. Each one has a superb flavor profile and is a simple way to elevate any dish, both savory and sweet.
Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey (www.NatureNates.com) – Starting at $5.99
Nature Nate's Honey is as nature intended, and very different from your typical grocery store honey. It’s treated with very low heat, keeping all important enzymes intact. It’s also unfiltered, which means it still contains pollen and retains the best flavor, aroma and nutrition naturally. Lastly, Nature Nate’s is made by 100% American bees, helping to eliminate pesticides and ensuring the highest quality product. The company offers two great options. The first is Nature Nate's Raw & Unfiltered Honey, which is made by American Bees and comes straight from the hive. It has not been cooked, and the pollens have not been filtered out. Each batch is tested for a high pollen count and a clean read of corn syrup adulteration, pesticides, herbicides and antibiotics before going into your bottle. Choose the size that fits your family best. Nature Nate's Honey Tins serve as a sweet gift for neighbors, teachers or family members. Choose from five beautiful designs, including Kitchen, Leaves, Berries, Fall Blooms and Wood Grain. Each tin includes one 16-ounce bottle of Nature Nate's Honey. Whether in your pantry, purse or party platter, Nature Nate's products are the natural way to add some wow to your day.
Guac-Lock (www.Casabella.com) - $19.99
Anyone who loves guacamole knows that unsightly browning occurs almost instantly once it’s exposed to air. When avocados come into contact with oxygen, enzymes are released which naturally cause the avocado to turn brown. Thus the key to preventing browning is preventing contact with oxygen. Casabella, known nationwide for bringing color and design to the cleaning and kitchen tools categories, is proud to introduce Guac-Lock – the first-of-its-kind container designed to ensure fresh storage of guacamole and other dips without browning or discoloration. Guac-Lock uses a push-up mechanism that squeezes out all of the air and lifts the guacamole to the top of the container. The push-up feature also creates a container that always looks full, making it ideal for entertaining. The easy to use, clean design can be used for a variety of dips. Separate chip-dish serving accessory makes this innovative storage/serving system perfect for easy home entertaining and transporting to parties. Its patent-pending pushup mechanism compresses the air out and then locks into place with an airtight seal that maintains surface contact with the top of the dip. Which is why Guac-Lock works so well!
Exact Egg Boiler (www.Casabella.com) - $19.99
For perfectly boiled eggs every time, try Casabella's new Exact Egg Boiler. The basket holds half a dozen eggs. Place the basket in a pot of hot water on stove. Bring to boil to desired doneness using the integrated timer to indicate the cooking status of the eggs: soft, medium, or hard boiled. Then simply funnel cold water directly onto the eggs to cool quickly and halt the cooking process. So if you love cooking eggs it has never been easier and more convenient than with the Exact Egg Boiler. The funnel even retracts for compact storage. The Exact Egg Boiler helps to promote a healthy diet is BPA free and dishwasher safe (top rack only).
Honeydrop Beverages (www.Honeydrop.com) - $3.49 - $6.99
Honeydrop Beverages is a line of cold-pressed, raw honey lemonades that provide customers with a GMO free, gluten free thirst quenching experience filled with active enzymes, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Started as a vision to develop a brand of healthier beverages, Honeydrop Beverages contain a tablespoon of pure raw honey and are brewed with simple, natural ingredients. Unlike other honey-based products, Honeydrop Beverages sells only regional honey and supercharged antimicrobial Manuka honey to local customers as they believe pure, raw ingredients are key to health and well-being. National Honey Month begins September to celebrate the purity and versatility of honey, promote beekeeping, and emphasize the importance Colony Collapse Disorder, an issue that Honeydrop Beverages is fighting to combat with their Buy a Bottle, Save a Bee program. By donating a percentage of the profits from every bottle sold to local beekeepers to help build new hives and run educational programs, Honeydrop is helping preserve the bees to ensure that honey can be enjoyed in the future.
Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef WiFi-Enabled Technology (www.CharBroil.com) - $399.99
Char-Broil, one of the world’s oldest and most respected outdoor cooking companies, has done it again with the Digital Electric Smoker with SmartChef WiFi-Enabled Technology. Making it easier than ever to make perfectly cooked smoked meals without being time consuming. Now you can monitor your meal while you go about your day with the SmartChef app, you can control your SmartChef WiFi-enabled smoker from anywhere on your connected network and receive real-time cooking updates straight to your phone. With three intuitive cooking modes and an easy setup process, the SmartChef WiFi-enabled smoker is the next level in outdoor cooking experience. Ideal for summer cookouts and weeknight dinners, allowing both experienced smokers and novices alike to control their cook at the palm of their hands. With the Char-Broil app and SmartChef technology users can remotely monitor and control their meat temperature and cook time for consistently superior taste, and can access new recipes to expand their repertoires.
Char-Broil Apple Wood Chips, Grill Tongs & Basting Spoon (www.CharBroil.com) - $5.99 - $11.99
Add the delicious flavor of smoke to your food. Char-Broil’s apple wood chips for smoking, which come in a two-pound bag, give your food a very mild, sweet and fruity flavor—ideal for poultry, beef, pork, game birds and some seafood. Use a smoker box for electric or gas grills and for infrared grills, place apple wood chips directly on the grill grate. Of course, grill tongs are a necessity in every master griller’s toolbox. Char-Broil’s tongs are easy to grip, so you can flip those steaks at the flick of a wrist. When you‘re finished, just slide the locking mechanism and the tongs slide shut to space when you aren’t grilling, which isn‘t often if we know our customers. The sleek stainless steel design looks as good as it feels. This brand’s basting brush is also handy. It has a ladle, brush and kickstand—all in one. The ladle makes it easy to add sauce to your BBQ favorites, without waste. And the kickstand keeps your brush off other surfaces between bastes.
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***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above were provided and/or sponsored to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***