Ladies and gentlemen, start your fires! With Memorial Day just a few weeks away, the summer grilling season is upon us. While grilling can seem intimidating to some—what with the propane and coals and, oh yeah, fire—there’s always that one pyromaniac friend, that meat meister and grill sergeant who cannot stay away from the flames. They’ve got their technique down pat—their spatula work and flipping skills are impeccable. They’re on a first-name basis with the butcher, and only cook the most delectable of cuts. But we guarantee that even the most grill obsessed will be blown away by what’s in our Grill Sergeant Gift Box. It’s got all the exceptional dry rubs, tangy marinades and essential sauces to fuel their fiery passion. But that’s not the only way to turn up the heat this summer—read on for all of our smokin’ hot grilling gifts...
Here’s the Rub: Spice Mixes and Rubs
Everyone from Instagram’s suave salt bae to your salty grill daddy knows that every grilled food must have salt and ample seasoning. These mixes and rubs are sure to spice things up...
- Farmer Freed’s Meyer Lemon Salt — A bright blend of organic Meyer lemon zest and flaky sea salt that’s perfect for fish, asparagus or even grilled melon preparations.
- Spiceologist’s Chile Margarita Spice Mix — With only five ingredients—chile pepper, brown sugar, salt, orange peel, and lime oil—this is one of the most versatile spice mixes we’ve ever come across. The griller in your life can liberally add it to literally anything... including their margarita.
- Spicewalla’s Cowboy Steak Rub — Herbaceous and smoky, the blend is made up of salt and black pepper boosted by garlic, cumin seed, dill seed and crushed red pepper. The texture is coarse, with chunky salt crystals and whole seeds.
- Clif Family’s Porcini Mushroom Dry Rub —Porcini mushrooms are already rich in flavor and rather hard to improve upon, but the Clif Family has done just that by combining them with cumin, mustard, Chinese five-spice, brown sugar and garlic.
- Bourbon Barrel Foods’ Bourbon Barrel Smoked Paprika — Holy smokes! All the flavor of smoking meat for hours and hours but in no time at all. Simply add a dash.
Getting Sauced: Sauces and Marinades
We’re hittin’ the sauce... in the very best of ways. Sauces and marinades are the single best way to preserve the meat's tenderness and juiciness (or the vegetable’s, for that matter). And while some grill meisters like to get inventive with their own mixtures, we’ve found the best one from small-batch America, so you can save ‘em the hassle...
- Filfil’s Garlic Spread & Marinade — The actual name of this sauce is filfil chuma, aka a North African garlic-based wonder-sauce, perked up with vinegar, paprika, cayenne and other spices. Can be used as a marinade or finishing sauce.
- Filfil’s Garlic Hot Sauce — A bit tangy and a lot kicky, we are obsessed with this sauce. Twenty whole cloves of garlic go into each bottle, enough to knock out any vampire, but not too pungent. Try dousing on anything from pizza to grilled melon.
- Lillie’s Q’s Carolina Barbecue Sauce — Lillie’s Q was named Food & Wine’s best new BBQ restaurant in the country, and this is why. It is the most perfect Southern BBQ sauce with secret ingredients such as apple and lime juice.
- Xilli’s Mole Poblano Sauce — What takes 30 different ingredients, 5 days to make and about 30 minutes for you to enjoy? This thick, rich, chocolatey, open-and-go Mexican mole. With notes of pepper heat, acidic tomato, starchy plantain and bittersweet cacao, it will be the most complex grilling sauce in the grill master’s repertoire.
Practice Safe Grilling: The Condiments
Grilling isn’t complete without mustard and ketchup. And we’ve got the best two takes of those classics. But, Americans, condiments do not need to be so limited. Whether your grill master is slathering up a hot dog or (man)spreading onto a burger, these are the best condiments for any grilling enthusiast to try...
- Tin Mustard’s Whole Grain Mustard — We typically wouldn’t say that a condiment is the best thing we’ve ever tasted, but this is no normal mustard. Whole grain pickled mustard seeds pop like caviar in your mouth. Gift this with a little spoon for them to just dig in.
- First Field’s Jersey Ketchup — This is not your diner countertop standard. It’s an original recipe made with sweet Jersey tomatoes so good it could even go on steak.
- Mike’s Hot Honey — An infusion of chiles and honey with a splash of vinegar. It sounds simple, but this is a super-condiment that we can easily imagine on grilled halloumi (or grilled cheese, if it’s raining).
- The Kitchen Garden’s Original Organic Sriracha — A preservative-free, farm-fresh take on the original rooster sauce will have them crowing about the new bird in town.
- Three Little Figs’s French Onion Confit — Sure, we’ve all had grilled onions on our burgers or steak. But when onions are cooked down with white wine, red wine and Cognac, you’ve got a spread that no one will be able to resist.
To Top it Off: Grilling Toppings
When it comes to grilling, we’ve got the pickles on top. For the final flourish, don’t gherk around. These are our top choices that pair well with some char...
- Unbound Pickling’s Bacon Pickles — Pickles. And. Bacon. And it’s vegetarian. (Nope, we’re not gherkin’ around. It’s liquid smoke!) Read more to find out how they pull this off.
- Backyard Brine’s Everything Bagel Pickles — These cukes spiced with sesame seeds, poppy seeds, peppercorns and onions will quickly be any grill afficionado’s everything.
- Gordy’s Pickle Jar’s Pickled Thai Basil Jalapeños — The pickled jalapeños sloppily thrown on baseball nachos these are not. Sliced jalapeños pickled in a classic brine, brightened by the distinctive herbal, citrus notes of Thai basil. They’ll love the sweet heat.
So come on, baby, light their fire. Turn up the heat for your favorite summer grill master. They’ll be fired up, and we’re pretty sure they’ll let you join in for some of their smokey, savory, charred, absolutely mouthwatering work.