Kitchn Love Letters

The $4 Flavor Booster I Add to Absolutely Everything During Summer

published May 24, 2023
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
persian kebabs next to pita on a tray
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne; Food Styling: Anna Stockwell

As soon as summer rolls around, I live by the grill (or, I should say, grills). I’m so enamored of outdoor cooking that I have different grills for different tasks — a Charbroil gas grill for easy, everyday cooking; a super-fun Braai-style Kudu grill for entertaining friends; an outdoor pizza oven; and both wood and charcoal-burning fire pits for even more al fresco cooking. 

For me, the key to flavor-packed grilling is a great marinade and sauce, and in Spiedie Sauce, I’ve found both. Spiedies — sandwiches consisting of marinated, grilled meat on a long roll — are a specialty of Binghamton, New York, brought to the U.S. by Italian immigrants in the 1920s. (The Italian term “spiedini” translates to skewers or kebabs.) In 1975, Rob Salamida became the first person to bottle and sell his own version of Spiedie Sauce, and now his company, Salamida makes the best-selling Spiedie Sauce in the country, which I was lucky to discover at my local Wegmans.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

What’s So Great About Salamida Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce?

Salamida’s Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce is a tangy combo of red wine vinegar, garlic, and spices. It also includes monosodium glutamate, or MSG, a flavor enhancer that brings umami flavor to foods like potato chips and ramen. There is still a lingering misconception that MSG is harmful, despite a lack of evidence confirming that belief, and MSG has been classified as a safe ingredient by the FDA. In this case, MSG gives Spiedie Sauce the perfect dose of umami, which amps up meats like beef and lamb and brings much-needed depth to boneless chicken breasts and even slabs of tofu, which soak up the marinade like (delicious) sponges.

Credit: Stephanie Ganz

What’s the Best Way to Use Salamida Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce?

I keep a jar in my fridge at all times for just such uses, but I also love using it to marinate summer squash and blocks of halloumi. It also makes a nice dressing for crunchy salads and slaws. Poking around the Salamida website, I came across a dip that combines shredded chicken, cream cheese, and Spiedie sauce, and it was love at first dip — like a brighter, brinier version of Buffalo chicken dip that’s perfect with a sturdy potato chip.

Buy: Salamida Original State Fair Spiedie Sauce, $3.99 for 16 ounces at Instacart

Do you have a go-to sauce for summer grilling? Tell us about it in the comments below.