Michiganders wait all winter for the opportunity to fire up the grill again and enjoy hot dogs, burgers, chicken, ribs, steaks, fish, and just about anything else we can think of. Any of those items can be fine on their own, but the right enhancements can really take your backyard barbecue from an ordinary meal to an extraordinary feast. These are some condiments every griller should have on hand.

Belledine’s Barbecue Sauces

Of course, most meat eaters would say the true taste of summer grilling is ribs. If that’s on your menu, you can’t go wrong turning to Belledine’s. Start with the Rib Rub to add flavor and help tenderize your meat. It’s a delightful balance of sugar, salt, and tasty spices designed to perfectly season your ribs. Then baste and top them with one of the three fantastic sauce options: Famous Original, Honey Bee with a Sting, or the extra kicky, Heat Seeker’s Delight. The beauty of this trio is allowing each of your guests or family members to pick the one that best suits their palate.

While shopping at Belledine’s you can stock up on seasonings that will help you be the ultimate grill master all season. They’ve got Burger Blend, Caribbean Curry, French Cajun Blacken, Jamaican Jerk, and Lemon Dill Ocean, just to name a few options.

Smokey Michigan’s Red Merlot Specialty Seasoning

The talented team behind this newer company is a father and daughter duo. Both have spent years honing their skills, first at home, and then through a combination of culinary competitions and work opportunities.  After two and a half years of perfecting recipes, Jeff and Michaela Levanseler decided to share their passion for cooking with those who love delicious food, by making a line of homemade barbeque cuisine. There are lots of seasonings and sauces worth exploring. The Red Merlot Specialty Seasoning is a particularly lovely complement to steaks and lamb. They use the wine as a base, then mix in all-natural spices, rich chocolate, and blackberries.

Fessler’s Original Sauce

This condiment came into being for the express purpose of making fresh fish taste even better. The product got its start over a hundred years ago at a little speakeasy on the shores of Lake Ponemah. Local anglers would bring their fresh catches to Frank’s Tavern in Fenton. There, Steve Fessler would cook it, and serve it with fries, slaw, and his special fish sauce. The bar is gone, but the legendary sauce lives on. It’s sweet, yet tangy. Phenomenal on fish, it also tastes great on a burger.

Steve’s descendants have expanded the product line quite a bit since those bar days. Today, you can also find an award-winning BBQ sauce, several spice rubs, and some unique salsas to liven up your summer.

Teta Foods’ Shawarma Marinade and Garlic Sauce

In Southeast Detroit, it seems like there is a place on nearly every corner these days, where you can get some tasty shawarma. That’s not true across the whole state, and even if it were, sometimes you just want to make this great dish at home. Teta Foods is the ticket. Named for the mother whose cooking inspired the passion, this line delivers some phenomenal Middle Eastern flavors. Marinate chicken or beef for a few hours in the Shawarma Marinade. Throw it on the grill. Enhance the flavor with the delectable Garlic Sauce. Whether you roll it into a pita for a sandwich, or eat it on its own, you may never have to order out again to get your shawarma fix.

Mucky Duck Mustard

At the end of the day, for many families, the simplest grilling option is the best. Hot dogs, brats, and burgers are a summer tradition. Kick the flavor up a notch or two with this incredible tasty pub-style mustard. It’s not only a delight in a main course, it will totally enhance your typical potato salad or deviled eggs recipe. You also can’t between it as a dip for pretzels at any gathering.

Grand Traverse Sauce Company’s Girl Boss

Inspired by women as a statement on how often hot sauce is just marketed to men, this is a truly unique flavor profile that will add heat and sweet to any dish. It’s a particularly great way to add a fresh taste to veggies cooked on the grill. The sauce is also a wonderful condiment for fish and chicken. It starts off with a sweet citrus taste from pineapple, and finishes with a habanero kick. While they make a few different sauces to enhance food, check out the rest of the options and you’ll find amazing ways to level up your summer cocktail game.

All of these companies have products that will take your summer menus in exciting new directions. Buy online if you can’t find them at your local grocer, then ask the store to start carrying your favorites. You’d be surprised how much a word or two from customers can help local companies to get on store shelves. Happy grilling season.

Author: Lisa Diggs

Lisa Diggs is a writer, speaker, entrepreneur, business consultant, avid traveler, and founder of The Catalyst Company, LLC, Michigan Positivity Project, and Buy Michigan Now.