The Food Guy, Steven Keith Eating his way through the state, plate by plate

Time to Upgrade Your Burger & Dog Toppings

We’re getting painfully close to Labor Day weekend, when a flurry of cookouts will celebrate the last hurrah of summer.

If your plans call for plain-jane burgers and dogs, consider jazzing them up a bit with these high-falutin’ condiments …

  • FLAVORED MAYO — Stir in a spoonful of pesto, olive tapenade, chopped chipotles, smoked paprika, curry or a little wasabi.
  • FRUIT RELISH — Chop up apricot preserves, apple jelly, a little horseradish, coriander, cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves, to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Or just buy a jar of prepared chutney!
  • SPICY KETCHUP — Stir in a little Dijon mustard, roasted garlic, even a little vodka. Ooh-la-la!
  • CLASSY CONDIMENTS — Stack on curried pickles, wild boar bacon, caramelized onions, sauteed mushrooms or roasted garlic.
  • FANCY CHEESE — Add a slice (maybe two?) of smoked Gouda, a sprinkling of crumbled bleu or an herbed chevre.