These Flavor Enhancers Will Boost Your Grilled Corn or Steak or Chicken

Try these flavored butters or lively quick sauces, you're sure to be making them on repeat all grilling season long.

grilled corn on the cob duo
Photo: Linda Xiao

Whether you're planning a cookout for a crowd or simply preparing a weeknight dinner for your family, you might be looking for ways to amp up the flavors of your favorite grilled foods. What can you do to take your dishes to the next level? We have three flavored butters and two secret sauces that are guaranteed to help grilled corn, steak, or chicken really pop.

Two Quick Sauces

Looking to bring fresh flavor to your favorite ears? To make Grilled Corn Two Ways, simply brush our two secret sauces onto grilled corn. Both come together with a few simple ingredients and elevate even the sweetest ears. The Masala-Lime Butter gets earthy heat from a test-kitchen favorite: Burlap & Barrel's Floyd Cardoz Goan Masala Spice Mix ($12, The Minty Chili Oil marries tongue-tingling Szechuan chili oil—the food editors love Blank Slate Kitchen's version ($13 for 8 oz.,—with a handful of chopped fresh mint for cool contrast. Slather either on when the cobs are hot off the grates, and we guarantee you'll be a-maized.

Pro Tip: For plump, juicy kernels, soak unhusked cobs in salted water for 10 minutes before grilling; tie the husks back to season and serve.

Compound Butters

They sound fancy with this formal name, but these flavored butters are a cinch to make and you'll soon have this recipe down pat: You just stir a few bold ingredients into a softened unsalted stick of butter. Spread it on tonight, or wrap it in parchment to form a log and refrigerate (for up to two weeks)—or use plastic and freeze (six months).

Our Flavored Butters for Grilling recipe has three tasty variations which pair perfectly with all manner of grilled foods from corn on the cob to grilled chicken or fish or steak. For minimal ingredients but maximum flavor, try our our preserved lemon-tarragon butter, which calls for preserved lemons (homemade or store bought), along with chopped fresh tarragon and salt. We like to serve it with grilled shrimp or swordfish.

Looking to switch up your grilled chicken dinners? Then try the buffalo-blue cheese butter made with hot sauce (we use Frank's RedHot), crumbled blue cheese, finely crumbled, fresh chives, and kosher salt. Our favorite chicken dish for this compound butter is Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken.

For the chipotle-honey compound butter you'll need canned chipotle chile in adobo, honey, and kosher salt. Use it to perk up grilled corn, steaks, or pork chops.

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