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Sauces, seasonings and marinades to spice up the Labor Day feast

Aug. 27, 2013 at 12:10 PM ET

burger
Courtesy of August Kitchen
Try August Kitchen's J-Burger seasoning to kick your burger up a notch.

I’m the type of cook who prides herself on making things from scratch. No store-bought guacamole in this house! But as much as I love a homemade dip, sauce or marinade, sometimes it’s just easier—and way less time consuming—to go the pre-made route. I’m pretty picky about products, so I am especially delighted when I come across a brand that delivers on taste—and doesn’t require a long list of unpronounceable ingredients to get there. Below are some of my new favorite sauces, rubs, and marinades. Serve them at your Labor Day barbecue for a (bitter)sweet send off to summer!

August Kitchen J-Burger Seasoning

Can a burger on the grill really get any better? After tasting these burger starters, the answer is a resounding yes! They’re an easy add to beef, chicken or turkey meat, and pack a TON of flavor. Available in Original Onion and Chipotle & Onion.

rubs
Michelle Hainer
From left, the Key West Seafood Rub, Dragon's Breath Rub and Mediterranean Rub.

s.a.l.t Sisters Mediterranean R.u.b

You really can’t go wrong with any of founder Charmane Skillen’s blends of small batch spices (try the Dragon’s Breath if you dare) but I’m partial to the Mediterranean Rub, which really kicks up the flavor of grilled chicken and veggies. Note: Use it sparingly. The rubs, which are made with unrefined sea salt, are so flavorful a little goes a long way!

Mia’s Kitchen Vodka Pasta Sauce

Admittedly, I’m not a fan of jarred sauce, but I was pleasantly surprised by how fresh Mia’s Kitchen tastes! A nice balance of chunky tomato and cream with a slight kick.

Stöger Organic Pumpkin Seed Oil

You can easily polish off a bottle of this cold-pressed, pure seed oil with a loaf or two of crusty bread, but it’s also delicious as a marinade for chicken or pork. Mix 2 tablespoons of the oil with ½ cup ketchup, ¼ cup honey, 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar, and 2 tablespoons of Dijon mustard. Slather on the meat and fire up the grill!

Mike’s Organic Curry Love

If you love curry, but prefer to order out than try making it yourself, you need to try Mike’s Organic Curry Love. It’s healthier, and just as flavorful as your favorite takeout joint. So put the phone down and pick up the sauté pan. Available in six varieties: Green Thai, Red Thai, Yellow Thai, Tikka Masala, Mild Saag, and Caribbean Curry.

Get more tips and recipes for seasonal eats at Made By Michelle.

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