Ladies and gents, start your engines, because grilling season is finally upon us! When it’s your turn to host the weekend cookout, don’t be caught slipping with the basic ketchup and mustard shtick. Relish is cool and all, but when it’s your turn to play the role of grillmaster, do it right, and leave your boring-ass mayo in the fridge.

Here are the best condiments you’ve never heard of:


Tkemali Sauce

Of Georgian origin, Tkemali sauce (we dare you to ask us how to pronounce it) is a super common table condiment in Georgia, likened to ketchup here. It’s sour and used over grilled meat, poultry, and potato dishes, but believe it or not, it’s plum based. Plum comes together with things like garlic, pennyroyal, dill, chili pepper, coriander, and salt to make this interesting sour, very slightly hot sauce. It’s not the easiest sauce to find on a commercial level, but there are a few on Amazon.


Red Chile & Garlic Bacon Jam

We can’t be the only people who’ve sat around and spent literal hours thinking about how we could possibly make bacon better, and this delicious concoction proves it, far as we’re concerned. The red chile adds some spice, but not heat, and the garlic, well… It’s garlic, so it’s delicious. The spread isn’t overbearingly bacon (as if that’s even a thing), but everyone’s favorite breakfast meat does stand firmly in the background.


Heady Jelly

Heady Topper is an exceptionally popular (and equally rare) craft brew put out by the folks at The Alchemist Brewery. Somehow or another, for some reason or another, the people at Potlicker Kitchen decided it’d be a good idea to mix the brew with some pure cane sugar and citrus pectin (there are seriously only three wonderful ingredients to it), and turn it into a jam. And you know what? It’s rich, fruity, and delicious.



Harissa is a hell of a sauce. Think chile ketchup, but more North African and less Sriracha-like. It’s hot, but savory, and you can expect flavors like caraway, garlic, sun-dried tomato, and coriander. It does as well on a burger as it does with grilled vegetables, and it’ll even bring steak into a whole new light.



A staple in the Balkans, Ajver is essentially a relish, but instead of cucumber and sweet onions, it is made with red bell peppers, garlic, chili peppers, and sometimes even eggplant. Used with salads or as a spread for toast and crackers, Ajvar is definitely punchier than our typical relish, but doesn’t offer enough heat to put a hole in your throat. It’s tasty and unique, but is also exceptionally laborious to make. Luckily, the folks at Biljana put it in a jar for us, and though it only has 5 reviews on Amazon, they all look promising.



The name of the game with this classic Korean condiment is less about heat, and more about flavor. Made with red chiles and sticky rice, there’s a sweetness, some heat, and a pungency from the fermented soybeans that all comes together perfectly for your poultry, steak, pork, and even veggies. Quite frankly, we’d put this stuff on everything.


Mole Negro Paste

Talking a big Tex Mex game is all the rage right now, but people all too frequently forget about the mole. Why? Well, mole sauce is a staple in Oaxaca cuisine, and if you think “guac” is good, this stuff will blow your mind—smoky, savory, a very slight pepper. Ugh. The reason it’s not very popular for at-home application is because it’s actually super difficult to make. Luckily, the folks at Guelaguetza are here to pick up your slack. Their mole negro paste pairs with everything from chicken and eggs, to pork tenderloin, sausage, and even steak.


Nong’s Khao Man Gai Sauce

Heavy notes of ginger and garlic mix perfectly with things like sweet and aged soy sauces, vinegar, red chilies, palm sugar, and soybean to create this delicious Thai-style concoction. Made by the folks at Nong’s Khao Man Gai in Portland, Oregon, it goes great with everything from dumplings and noodles, to sandwiches, or even as a marinade for your chicken or steak.


White BBQ Sauce

With barbecue season heavy on our heels, a good sauce is more important than ever. Rather than the typical cinnamon-y sweet brown tangy deliciousness everyone knows and loves, try something new… White BBQ sauce is a southern delicacy that’s been around forever, but is just now arriving on the radars and plates of people across the nation. The mayonnaise-based sauce is tangy and zesty, and is given a little heat from some very well placed cayenne pepper and horseradish. It goes best on chicken, but we wouldn’t hesitate to try it on everything.



Another North African and Mediterranean staple, Chermoula is a versatile dry seasoning that can be used on damn near anything. Use the blend of cumin and turmeric, sweet paprika and other Mediterranean herbs as a marinade on your grilled fish, poultry, or other meats, or even sprinkle it on vegetables. Or, mix it with olive oil and lemon juice, or with yogurt and sour cream, to create a zesty and poppy dipping sauce.

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