Kate's All-Purpose Picnic Sauce™ is here to streamline your spring cookouts

Illustration for article titled Kate's All-Purpose Picnic Sauce™ is here to streamline your spring cookouts
Graphic: Natalie Peeples

My house is small. My brother once told me I lived in a tiny house, “but like, not an actual tiny house.” Thanks, bro. But what it lacks in square footage inside, it makes up for in a decent-sized backyard with room for a garden and chickens and grilling parties. During the spring and summer I impulsively text friends to come over, often before I consult the contents of my fridge. That means I do a lot of picnic- and backyard-menu improvising, which led to the creation of Kate’s Picnic Sauce™.


Picnic Sauce™ began as a creamy condiment for grilled fish tacos, picking up its cilantro and lime juice additions. While it’s definitely tasty on Mexican foods from chicken tacos to chile-spiced veggies to esquites, Picnic Sauce™ soon proved itself a versatile companion to all manner of backyard meals. Another last-minute dish I throw together when guests are already en route is some sort of slaw or corn salad, for a crunchy contrast to whatever we’re grilling. Picnic sauce™ works here, too: Mix it up, add slivered cabbage or corn kernels or chopped tomatoes and bam—creamy slaw or side salad.

Let Picnic Sauce™ flex its muscles for you: Add it to pasta for a creamy pasta salad, or to potatoes for a non-traditional potato salad. It makes a tangy, slightly spicy condiment for turkey or grilled chicken sandwiches. Truly, this Picnic Sauce™ has saved my ass on so many occasions when friends texted, “Hey, we’re bringing three other people and will be there in 10!” and I had to scramble for more food. It’s comprised of simple ingredients in easy ratios; don’t even bother measuring stuff, just taste as you go. The basics are below, but tweak to your liking. Oh, and if you find another application for the sauce, I can’t wait to hear it.

Kate’s All-Purpose Picnic Sauce™

Illustration for article titled Kate's All-Purpose Picnic Sauce™ is here to streamline your spring cookouts
Photo: Kate Bernot
  • One part sour cream
  • Two parts mayonnaise
  • Dash of preferred hot sauce
  • Handful chopped cilantro
  • Few squeezes lime juice
  • Salt and pepper

Mix all that together. Serve to rave reviews. Pat yourself on the back.


Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


I like your style! I love those casual, almost last minute parties. My wife will send out a text to friends and say, that I am firing up my grill at 7pm. My next door neighbors know that they can come over once the party lights are on.

I will grill almost everything, meat, fish, vegetables and even fruit. Invitees can bring a side dish, a piece of meat, chips, drinks or just ice, just don’t show up empty handed. Everyone gets plenty to eat.

Sometimes its an intimate dinner and evening of quiet discussion, sometimes its a large gathering with kids running around, adults dancing in grass under the light on a beautiful spring/summer’s evening.