You Know it’s Summer When…

May 25th, 2011 · 41 Comments · Pork and Beef

As part of the research for that Summer Cooking Manifesto I worked on for the June 2011 issue of Bon Appetit — yes, the one with Gwyneth on the cover – I asked a bunch of editors the question you see up there in the title of this post: You Know it’s Summer When _______ is in the Fridge. There were basil-infused simple syrups (mixed into my Gin & Tonic, this has the potential to be my signature summer cocktail), there were chili oils amd chimichurris, and there was a sunny yellow ladolemeno vinaigrette that you pour over grilled fish (Holy. Freaking. Cow.) which tastes as bright and summery as it looks.  But the most special of all, I think, was this special sauce. Not only because it elevates any burger (we used it on our rolled-out California-style turkey burgers the other night) but because it elevates any cookout. Think what a rock star you will be if you show up to the burger-and-dog barbecue with a jar of this in your hand.

Special Sauce
Adapted from Bon Appetit

In a small jar, mix together:

1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon finely grated onion
1 tablespoon sweet relish or 1 tablespoon dill pickle relish
salt and pepper to taste

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41 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nancy // May 25, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Would it be complete heresy to make this with greek yogurt instead of mayo?

  • 2 Stephanie // May 25, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    I definitely know it’s summer when cold-brewed iced coffee is in the fridge. However, San Francisco is experiencing some seasonal confusion right now (current conditions: 57 degrees and raining)

  • 3 Heather at Heather's Dish // May 25, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I absolutely adored your article in Bon Appetit! In fact that’s how I came to discover this delicious blog and I’m so glad I did. Our summer fridge is always stocked with home-brewed iced sweet tea – the definition if summer in my house!

  • 4 Phaedra // May 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    #1 I’m LOVING you guys in BA! #2 I just made the Special Sauce this weekend for our burgers from this BA recipe and it was delish.
    (The sun was out, the deck furniture is out, what better way to spend an afternoon than with the grill & friends?)

  • 5 Kris // May 25, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Have to agree with basil simple syrup. I mix it with gin, tonic and fresh squeezed grapefruit juice. Best summer drink Ever.

    Well, that and rhubarb syrup mixed with white tequila and seltzer. makes me thirsty.

  • 6 Holly // May 25, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I ADORE the BA redesign! Granted, I’m clearly in the foodie-who-no-longer-gets-to-dine-out-much-because-of-small-human-in-tow demographic they seem to be catering directly to now, but the last two issues have just made me ravenously hungry and super inspired!

  • 7 Emilee Whitehurst // May 25, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    I know its summer when our fridge is filled with ground beef for burgers, fresh tomatoes, fresh herbs, and a lot of cold beer :) ohhhhh sweet summer time!!

  • 8 Caitlin // May 25, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    This weekend will do it for me, a long weekend at my grandmother’s of veggies at the farm stands and grilling and strawberry picking. And today I had my first sit outside lunch with a midday margarita (don’t tell my boss). That felt like summer.

  • 9 Jenny // May 25, 2011 at 5:30 pm

    So happy a few of you are enjoying the new Bon App column. To new readers who found me through BA, Welcome to DALS! Please visit my About page if you want to get up to speed on who we are and what we hope to do.

  • 10 Juliana // May 25, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I know it’s summer when our fridge is overflowing with fresh fruits & veggies. And when most all of the food in the fridge is destined to be part of a dish that is served cold. That said, Sacramento is also experiencing serious seasonal confusion today, so I am in the mood something warm and wintry.

  • 11 Maureen // May 25, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    My summer extra is caramelized onions – I keep them in the fridge to top burgers, grilled pizzas, and bruschetta. So yummy!

  • 12 cari // May 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    That’s kind of funny. In Utah they call this fry sauce and you can squirt it into little cups, just like ketchup and mustard. Of course, technically, their’s is only mayo, ketchup and pickle juice. Yours sounds much more fancy and tasty.
    Summer for me is found in the freezer. Popsicles to be exact. Who wants a popsicle in winter? We seem to always have a box of them on hand in the summer.

  • 13 Amanda // May 26, 2011 at 7:46 am

    Corn on the cob, watermelon and basil simple syrup in the fridge for me means summertime. It’s a little frustrating that grocery stores offer (poor) tasteless substitutes during the winter months – who do they think they are fooling? Watermelon in December?

  • 14 Amy // May 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm

    I live in Montana and we have a short summer. For me, I know it’s ALMOST summer when we get our first veggie box from our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), usually with lots of lettuce and greens for the first couple of weeks. We should be getting that first box in a few weeks. Then, I know when it really IS summer when I can start finding local fresh fruits! Our own raspberries from the backyard don’t come in till mid-summer, and that is what I wait for all year!!!! (PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?)

  • 15 Jenny // May 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I’d say tomatoes, but they don’t go in the fridge. More veggies than you can shake a stick at? Corn? The mention of cold beer is making me thirsty.

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 16 Caroline // May 26, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Definitely trying this soon! PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 17 kari // May 26, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    hmmm…when I have macerated strawberries in a tupperware container waiting to be eaten. yum. I would say iced coffee steeping in the fridge but I had to quit the caffeine wagon for the time being. Boo.
    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 18 Jessica // May 26, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    I’d say limes and watermelon. I can’t stand drinking just water all the time so I like to add lime and….um, what is better then a big hunk of messy watermelon? Watermelon = Summer (for me anyway!)

    Love the posts! Keep up the phenomenal work!

    P.S. Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 19 MommyLisa // May 26, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    I know its summer when my husband loads his bottle of Sweet Tea Vodka in the fridge with a pitcher of lemonade!

  • 20 Lisa McB // May 26, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    I know summer has arrived when my fresh mint hits the refrigerator and meets the fresh limes and rum–mmm!

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 21 Laura // May 26, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I know it’s summer when I start saving watermelon rinds in the fridge to pickle!!

    “PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

  • 22 JessicaLeaRD // May 26, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Far better special sauce than that famous fast food joint…

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron? :)

  • 23 elaine // May 26, 2011 at 4:32 pm

    OK, how do you make basil simple syrup?! Yum. Must try this holiday weekend!

  • 24 Kim // May 26, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    I know it’s summer when there’s a yummy cocktail in hand. My husband decided a few years ago to have a signature cocktail for each season, so we’ve have summers of mojitos, planter’s punch, margaritas, and so on. We’re currently tasting recipes for this year’s drink.
    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 25 Laura // May 26, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    Summer means I can eat my favorite food every day for nearly every meal. Watermelon! It’s even great as a slushy mojito with rum and fresh mint.

  • 26 Zoe // May 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I made this sauce last night – delicious! The adobo sauce is a must and elevates this from simple “special sauce”

  • 27 CookiePie // May 26, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    LOVE your blog! You know it’s summer when… our fridge is bursting with corn, basil, peaches and berries berries berries :)

  • 28 Meg // May 27, 2011 at 7:15 am


    It is finally warming up in the northeast. For us, I know it’s summer when there’s home brewed ice tea in the fridge and the fixings for dark ‘n stormys in the house.

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 29 Abigail // May 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Summer means my quick cucumber pickles with sweet onion and white vinegar. They don’t keep well, but they don’t need to!

  • 30 Jessica // May 27, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Mmmmmmmm… So ready for the smell of cooking burgers and potato salad. I know its summer when I have the stuff for lemonaid and popsicles right at the front of the fridge.

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

  • 31 Debi // May 27, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    I know its summer when I have a shaker of whiskey sours in the fridge.
    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?”

  • 32 My2girls // May 27, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    I know it’s summer when I have large glass containers filled with fresh cut melon and macerated berries. Oh! and I start justifying the Margaritas earlier and earlier in the day.

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 33 Amanda // May 27, 2011 at 10:39 pm

    Jeez… I should have said this earlier.

    P.S. Your newsletter sent me… Do I win the apron?

  • 34 Jessica // May 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Definitely fresh strawberries scream summer for me.
    P.S. Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 35 carolyn // May 29, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Mine is basic: I know it’s summer when the simple syrup jar is always full for iced tea and coffee.

    PS: Your newsletter sent me. Do I win the apron?

  • 36 Trina // Jun 1, 2011 at 2:24 am

    I would have to say it’s all about the BERRIES…if they even it make to the fridge. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries…yum!

    And the homemade juice pops in the freezer. We love summer!

  • 37 Graceland // Jun 2, 2011 at 5:15 am

    In awe of that answer! Raelly cool!

  • 38 melanie // Jun 3, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    Have to grab a copy of BA, i have lapsed. Summer around here means tomatoes everyday and corn every other day. I am excited for summer drink recipes – the ones in your comments look fab.

  • 39 Torrie @ a place to share... // Jun 13, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    I cannot believe that I’ve been blogging for over a year, and just discovered your blog. I’m following now, and having a lot of fun looking through a few archives.

    This sauce is sure to be a summer tradition… from this point forward. I can’t wait to surprise my husband with it, and to bring it to our next BBQ. Thank you!

  • 40 jennifer // Jun 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

    Summer for us means grilling. Kebabs are a favorite for ease and variety. Anything locally grown–tomatoes, melon, and corn on the cob, particularly. Although not locally grown, I flip for stone fruit–apricots, nectarines, and cherries (especially rainiers). And, I load the freezer with ice cream bars and Popsicles, which are hugely nostalgic. These summer-only treats throw me right back to childhood when my no-sugar/whole-foods mother indulged me and my sibs similarly.

  • 41 Rebecca // Aug 2, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    I know it’s summer when kiwi, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are awaiting simple fruit salad with lime and honey drizzles!

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