Top Ten Tuesday: Cooking Out!

Local Markets, Butchers and Products Help Elevate Your Next Cookout

cooking out

People get a little bolder and more wild in summer. You’ve got things going on kabobs, things cooking on the bone. There’s something about standing over a grill or outside with the family that inspires us. –Guy Fieri

Cooking out isn’t really about food.  Yes, food is involved and for some cooking out has risen to an epicurean art form. Yet, even with all of the books, tools (tongs vs forks vs spatulas), methods (BBQ vs grilling vs smoking) and of course heat types (gas, wood, pellets, electric, or charcoal), cooking outside is a beloved and well-argued process. Food just happens to be the end result.

Cooking outside during the summer will take even the most culinary neophyte and embolden them to new heights of gastronomic experimentation. There are people (and I know several) who don’t know how to use their oven for anything other than keeping a pizza warm but own six burner grills complete with smoke box. These are the same people who don’t care one whit about what they wear on a day to day basis but own at least one BBQ themed apron.

So, whether you are contemplating your first small hibachi or are upgrading to the next generation of high heat grill with a BTU output of a nova, many local merchants and products have you covered. Our cooking out favorites run the spectrum form iconic local products to markets that provide your side dishes and desserts. 

So, cook outside! Even if you burn water, cook outside. After all, there is nothing wrong with a little burnt during the summer. It is called “flavor”.

Places and Products for a Cookout

Garlic Expressions: Another local favorite and born from a restaurant in Perrysburg, Garlic Expressions is more than salad dressing. Certainly, it belongs in every refrigerator as a “go to” option for a salad. However, it is also an excellent marinade and is a perfect finish if you have just grilled vegetables. It is a clean, natural vinaigrette that is also gluten-free.

Gertie’s BBQ Sauce: Gertie’s has been around since the mid-’80s but really took off after winning several awards in 2009, including the 2009/10 CIFT award. Now with three different flavors, Gertie’s is an excellent way to “go local” with something as simple as a BBQ Sauce.

Betty’s Dressing:  Betty’s dressing, named for restaurateur Betty Timko, has been around for over half a century. In 1962 while the club manager at Highland Meadows, the now-famous “Betty’s Salad” was born and has been a favorite ever since. If you are grilling out, you can hardly go wrong with including her famous dressing and salad. 

House of Meats: This butcher shop has a long history with several locations across the area. They are fast and eager to help and are famous for marinade preparation of chicken breast. They also have easy deals, like buy 10 get 1 free,  of quick grilling items that are perfect for an evening cookout. If they are busy, however, be prepared before you take your number. When we say fast we mean it and they will be ready to get your product before you know it. Locations across the community include Toledo Commons, Maumee, Rossford, Oregon, Holland-Sylvania, and Alexis.

Stanley’s: We know everyone identifies Stanley’s with certain holidays not associated with the summer. Why pigeon hole this fabulous market? Right on the front page of their website they have a recipe for an outdoor “Hobo Dinner”. Try the smoked kielbasa. It is our new favorite.

Zavoski’s: Another a local owned butcher shop that has a Polish heritage. Yes, they have those iconic ethnic items like kielbasa, hams, and other Polish specialty items. However, Zavoski’s is an old school, over the counter butcher shop that will hook you up with great selections for the grill. Finally, try the chicken burgers.  Really, try them. They are fantastic.

Belleville Brothers Market: With over 100 years of butching and wild game preparation, Belleville Market is legendary in BG. Why should Bowling Green keep this market to themselves?  Belleville has a great selection of meats plus other treats scattered throughout the market. They also have the added advantage of being a multi-generation, truly local business.

Frobose Meat Locker: Frobose is a meat locker. Yes, it has a case for retail sale but how cool is it that you can rent a locker and buy lots of meat? We also like them because they have, right on the front page of their site the statement “We Promote Ohio Products”. If you have a little freezer space but want to get the “feel” of buying in bulk, check out their Great for the Grill Packages.

Fish Market: Grilling fish and seafood is trendy and it is a trend that we hope continues. Healthy, tasty and takes grilling a couple of steps up the scale toward gourmet. The Fish Market in Temperance is a great place to start. Stay away from fish in mega marts. It is not a product that benefits from bulk purchasing. Getting to know your fishmonger (and their sources) is the best way to start and maintain a lifelong love affair with fish.

Monnette’s Produce Markets: With three locations to serve you Monnette’s has become a central stop during any cooking out shopping adventure. Of course, you would expect them to have veggies for grilling, corn for boiling (or grilling) and fruit for salads. However, each market has a respectable deli that includes good side dishes. They now carry some selections of meat as well. Locations include Glendale Ave, Secor Ave, and Reynolds Rd

Honorable Mentions

Sautter’s Markets: There are two things about Sautter’s that will make a cookout. First, the deli carries a couple of really great choices for sides (and we can’t recommend the potato salad highly enough). You should also check out bakery section for pies (they carry Smuckers) and other cookout favorites. Besides the great supporting players, Sauder’s is known for having a good selection of local and regional brews. Even if you are just putting some grill marks on hotdogs, adding a beer and great side elevates even the simplest outdoor cooking.

Tony Packo’s: Packo’s products add pizzazz to any cookout, including their wide variety of pickles, Hungarian style hot dogs and of course their chili sauce. Don’t overlook their BBQ sauce, sweet hot ketchup, or mustard relish.

Frank’s Kraut: We know, sauerkraut on a dog isn’t for everybody. Still, if it is your thing why not go local. This brand has been around since 1905 and is a genuine Northwest Ohio product. It is fairly ubiquitous in stores across the region and can be bought in smaller cans. Putting it on your condiment table for a cookout shows some genuine area pride.

Ballreich’s Potato Chips: Since 1920 Ballreich’s chips have been appearing somewhere in Northwest Ohio. They haven’t stopped since. Even though 2019 brought some new investors into the company, it remains locally owned and operated. They have chips in a variety of flavors, plus a good selection of other snacks including mixes, pretzels, popcorn, and our favorite, potato sticks.