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A Late-Summer Cookout

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For your final summer fling: an easy, casual menu of burgers, fresh sides, and a juicy berry dessert.

To serve eight with this menu, you'll need to double the burger (not the ketchup), corn sauté, and dessert recipes. The shopping list reflects the scaled-up amounts.

For Labor Day or any lazy weekend in late summer, serve up towering burgers with all the fixings, alongside the season’s best produce: stuffed cherry tomatoes, a fresh corn and zucchini sauté, and ripe, vanilla-infused summer berries.

Menu Timeline

Up to one day ahead

  • Make the vanilla bean syrup.
  • Make the kicked-up ketchup for the burgers.

Two hours ahead

  • Stir together the mozzarella and seasonings for the cherry tomatoes.
  • Wash and dry the berries.
  • Hull and quarter the strawberries. Keep covered until ready to use.

One hour ahead

  • Halve the cherry tomatoes; scoop out their insides and drain.
  • Cook the bacon and slice the lettuce, tomato, and avocado for the burgers.
  • Dice the vegetables for the corn sauté.

30 minutes ahead

  • Fill the cherry tomatoes and set them out for guests to nibble on as they arrive.
  • Form the burger patties.
  • Heat the grill.

15 minutes ahead

  • Make the corn sauté.
  • Grill the burgers, put them on their buns, and top with fixings.

After dinner:

  • Toss the berries with the vanilla bean syrup and serve.

Shopping List

Fresh Produce

  • 8 medium ears corn
  • 1 pint (about 18) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 medium-small zucchini
  • 2 large beefsteak or heirloom tomatoes
  • 2 avocados
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce
  • 1 large sweet onion, such as a Vidalia
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 1 bulb garlic
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bunch fresh mint
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 pints fresh raspberries
  • 2 pints fresh blueberries
  • 2 pints fresh blackberries
  • 1 pints fresh strawberries

Meat, Eggs & Dairy

  • 3 lb. ground chuck (80 to 85% lean)
  • 16 strips bacon
  • 8 slices best-quality cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella
  • 4 Tbs. unsalted butter

Other Groceries:

  • 8 brioche-style hamburger buns
  • 1/2 cup ketchup, preferably Heinz or Del Monte
  • 1 vanilla bean

Pantry Staples

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 1 Tbs. cider vinegar
  • 1-1/4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder
  • Pinch ground cinnamon
  • Pinch ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • Black peppercorns

The Menu


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