Summer Menu Trends We Saw In 2023

In the always-changing landscape of seasonal fare, the summer of 2023 showed us new ways to elevate dishes by leveraging on-trend ingredients. Explore three of our favorites from this year that are worth considering for next summer’s menu.

1. White Barbecue Sauce

White barbecue sauce—commonly known in the southern U.S. as “Alabama white sauce”—brings a sweet, tangy, mild heat to traditional barbecue dishes. The mayonnaise-based condiment has seen a 54% increase on menus since 20201, but has been steadily growing in popularity since its conception in the 1920s by Robert Gibson of Decatur, Alabama.2

Save this large-batch recipe for BBQ Brisket or Beef Back Ribs on next summer’s menu. Combine all ingredients and chill before serving:

  • 4 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
  • 3 teaspoons horseradish

2. Hatch Chile Cornbread

Similar to jalapeño-infused cornbread, this variation features roasted and chopped hatch chile peppers, giving the final product stunning flavor with moderate heat. The popularity of this side reflects the growing spice tolerance among diners and the top ranking of spicy foods in “craveable” dishes.1

Add the sweet-and-spicy side to your menu by preparing roasted hatch chilies along with traditional cornbread ingredients: cornmeal, flour, eggs, butter, baking powder, baking soda, salt and a bit of brown sugar. Finish by topping with a creamy butter spread. Serve with beef-and-veggie kabobs or steak salad.

3. Grilled Nectarines

Another popular addition to menus we saw this summer is grilled fruit—specifically grilled nectarines. The summertime favorite can work across menu types and applications, and along with other in-season fruits such as pineapple, white peach and figs.

Consider using grilled fruit in applications including:

  • Grilled nectarines topping a mixed greens beef salad
  • Grilled pineapple skewered alongside portions of top blade
  • Grilled mango fruit salsa for skirt steak tacos
  • Beef Carpaccio featuring thinly sliced tenderloin and grilled peach
  • Steak Roulade with a grilled fruit stuffing

1 Datassential, “The Simply Smarter Series”, 2023
2 “The Origins of Alabama-Style White Barbecue Sauce”, 2017

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