We all have those memories of our favorite summer cookout. Whether it’s a Fourth of July gathering with family, a pool party as a kid, or a crisp evening around the fire, there’s just something about a hot day and a hot grill that goes well together.
In the summer, any occasion is the perfect moment to gather with loved ones and celebrate! And, of course, no summer event is complete without food.
Every summer we fire up the grill and make the classic American dishes: hamburgers, hotdogs, baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, corn on the cob…
These recipes are classics for a reason - they’ve won over American hearts at years of backyard cookouts.
But with a few creative twists, you can make any traditional summer cookout recipe into a taste of something new. Because as the grilling season goes on, you might be ready to spice things up.
Most people will have a cheeseburger this summer... but how many will have a Vermont maple cheddar cheeseburger? And how many events will host a build your own hotdog bar with more than just plain ketchup and mustard?
It’s easy to elevate classic grilling recipes with a few simple twists. And for us, that means infusing the mouth-watering flavors from Vermont.
But no one wants to add more work to their to-do list at a summer cookout… Don’t sweat it.
All of our prepared pantry items make it super simple to mix up your summer cookout recipes. Plus you can order all our ingredients online so they arrive at your door in time for the party!
So get ready to be a backyard hero and serve the most memorable cookout of the summer. We have a few ideas that will give your next event a bit of Vermont personality.
Is there any better sound than the sizzle a burger makes when it hits the grill?
Hamburgers are an American tradition and “must-have” at any summer cookout. Whether your burgers are made with ground meat or plant-based proteins, the combination of flavors is endless on a good old burger.
The flavor starts with your burger patty...and it’s not hard to make your own! If you’re looking to wow at your next summer cookout, we recommend you start here. Grab some high-quality ingredients and make your own burgers.
For a classic hamburger, start by choosing the type of ground meat you’d like to use for the patties. Feel free to think beyond beef here. It’s often a combination of leaner meats like turkey and more flavorful, fatty meats like pork and lamb that make the juiciest burger.
Next is seasoning. Salt and pepper always work, but you can also add a kick with any other dried spices. Our Vermont Country Seasoning is a mix of classic spices that can take the flavor up a notch, while still keeping it simple. Season the ground meat and mix until just incorporated, but don’t overwork the meat more than necessary.
Another way to spice up your burger is with barbeque sauce. Add some to your ground meat at this stage to infuse a sweet and tangy kick in each burger. Our Cold Hollow Cider BBQ Sauce and Maple BBQ Saucewill make each burger bite transport you to a Vermont fall getaway. Add grilled onion andmorebarbeque sauce to your cooked burger on the bun to finish it off.
So now that the burger meat is seasoned they’re ready to turn into patties.
Once your meat is prepared, use your hands to form the desired number of burger patties. Tip: Make each patty slightly bigger than the bun you plan to use - they’ll shrink a bit when they cook.
If you’re looking to save time the day of your gathering, you can prepare the burger patties in advance and store them in the fridge or freezer. Then they’ll be ready to go once the grill is fired up.
Now the burgers are ready to hit that grill!
And then comes the all-important summer cookout question: cheese or no cheese?
Most backyard cookouts run a tally of the number of hamburgers vs. cheeseburgers. But to us, every burger should come with cheese.
That’s because there’s just too much delicious Vermont cheese to offer.
Cheddar cheese is a classic hard cheese Vermonters love. The longer a cheddar cheese ages, the more complex its flavors become.
The most classic cheddar cheese for your burgers is our Grafton Cheddar, aged between one and two years. Choose between sharp, nutty, creamy, and sweet flavor profiles, then slice a few pieces off the block and add to each burger on the grill. Watch the cheese melt as you daydream of the Green Mountains.
Our Grafton Maple Smoked Cheddar is also a great option for an epic cheeseburger. It goes perfectly with the barbeque sauce burger we mentioned earlier.
If there are hamburgers on your grill, chances are there are also hot dogs.
Don’t overlook the hot dog’s potential. They are a great treat in a toasted bun with plenty of toppings.
So don’t limit yourself to just ketchup. It may be the most classic American hot dog topping, but adding a few unique condiments can make a regular hot dog taste brand new.
First, get those dogs on the grill. Most hot dogs are pre-cooked, so you’re looking to heat them and get those perfect grill marks. Place your hot dogs perpendicular to the grill grates and frequently rotate them to get a juicy, charred hot dog.
And don’t forget about the buns! You’ve come this far - don’t just leave them in the bag on the table. Take a few extra moments to brush each bun with butter and toast it on the grill as well. A little crunch with a soft bun adds great texture to your hot dog.
Now it’s time for toppings.
Hot dogs are a fun way to experiment with flavor. There are endless combinations to choose from, but the most delicious is a balance of acid, sweet and savory.
So save the same old bottles of ketchup, mustard, and relish for later. Let’s try something new.
Our Cold Hollow Picalilli will satisfy your craving for relish, but with more fresh ingredients. Ours is made with summer vegetables like bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes and pickled in vinegar. Add piccalilli to your hot dog with chopped fresh tomatoes and grilled onions, or let it stand alone.
Speaking of relish - our Cold Hollow Corn Relish also deserves a spot on the build your own hot dog bar. It’s made with fresh sweet corn and hand-stirred in small batches, just like homemade. Pairs well with fresh cilantro.
And ok...we do need mustard, right? It’s a classic hot dog topping.
But rather than the plain yellow mustard, mix it up with the Cold Hollow Horseradish Mustard.We make this coarse mustard with fresh horseradish and pure Vermont maple syrup. It will add a zesty-sweet kick to your hot dog and you won’t even miss your old yellow mustard.
The main attractions on your summer cookout menu are covered. Add a few sides for your hamburgers and hotdogs and you’ll have a full spread in no time.
Baked beans are one of those classic summer dishes primed for a pick-me-up. The two ingredients that can change everything? Fresh cider and maple syrup. Add some of our fresh pressed cider and Vermont maple syrup to your beans as they bake in the dutch oven for an irresistible sweetness. Even the kids will love these!
Potato salad is another dish you can always find at the table. We also understand it can be a recipe with lots of personal preference. But if you’re willing to mix it up a bit, you can try a new flavor in your potato salad. The Cold Hollow Maple Mustard will add a subtle kick to your summer dish. If you can’t tell by now, we love the taste of maple.
And finally, maple is also a great addition to fresh greens! Once you pick your greens and veggies from the summer garden, shake up our Cold Hollow Maple Vinaigrette and toss everything together. This dressing is light enough for the salad’s delicate vegetables and a refreshing burst of flavor on a warm afternoon.
Our Cold Hollow team is honored to be a part of your summer gatherings. We hope our pantry essentials give your summer cookout a taste of something new and happy memories around the table.
So sit back, relax, and enjoy the tastes of Vermont at your next summer cookout, wherever you may live.
And one day we hope you can make the trip to Vermont and say hello - we’d love to have you.