Local Favorites for Summer Cookouts

Summer is finally here, and that means it’s prime grilling and BBQ season! Whether you’re firing up the pit for a sizzling weekend cookout or just enjoying some smoky meats on the patio, Bloomington-Normal has some outstanding local suppliers for all your grilling needs. From premium meats to flavor-packed sauces and spices, these homegrown spots have you covered.

Meat: Bloomington Meats

For over 50 years, Bloomington Meats has been the go-to butcher shop for locally-sourced, high-quality meats. This family-owned business offers a variety of delectable fresh meats that are perfect for the grill. Don’t miss their famous brats in flavors like jalapeño cheddar, garlic, and classic. Each month they also offer a monthly bundle packed with favorites like brats, steaks, pork, and more, making dinner easy!

Sauce: Hink’s Smokehouse

Every pitmaster needs a killer BBQ sauce, and Hink’s Smokehouse really delivers. Their signature Bourbon BBQ sauce strikes the perfect balance of sweet, smoke, and just the right amount of bourbon bite. It’s incredibly versatile for slathering on ribs, pulled pork, chicken, and more. Hink’s also offers a spicy version and their Carolina Golden Mustard sauce. Look for their bottles at local grocers like Green Top Grocery, Hy-Vee, Martinelli’s Market, plus most Saturdays you’ll find the whole family out at the Downtown Bloomington Farmer’s Market.

Hink's Smokehouse BBQ Sauce

Seasonings: Bloomington Spice Works
Take your grill game to another level with the premium, small-batch spice blends from Bloomington Spice Works. Their Mesquite Smoked Sea Salt brings that iconic Texas BBQ smoke flavor to steaks, burgers, and veggies. For a taste of the Caribbean, grab their Jamaican Jerk Seasoning – perfect for adding loads of savory, aromatic zing to chicken, pork, and fish heading to the smoker. Bloomington Spice Works sources their herbs and spices from all over the world to ensure amazing quality and freshness.

Extras: The Olive Bin

While you’ve got the grill fired up, don’t forget about adding some premium olive oils and balsamics to really make your BBQ pop. The Olive Bin offers over 60 delicious flavors to explore, from traditional extra virgin olive oils to creative infused varieties and thick, syrupy balsamics. We recommend their Butter, Garlic, and Tuscan Herb olive oils for recipes like garlicky marinated flank steak or herbed veggie skewers. And their Cinnamon Pear balsamic can add a touch of sweet, tangy depth to BBQ sauces, meat glazes, and refreshing summer salads.

The Olive Bin

Grilling Tips & Tricks:

  • Preheat, preheat, preheat! Get your grill ripping hot before adding food for proper searing.

  • Use a temperature probe to easily monitor the internal temperature of larger cuts.

  • Soak wood chips in water for at least 30 mins before adding for optimal smoke levels.

  • Let meats rest for 5-10 mins after grilling to allow the juices to redistribute.

  • Lightly brush food with oil, not the grill grates, to prevent sticking.

With top-notch local suppliers for everything from premium proteins to flavor-boosting sauces, rubs, and extras – your summer grilling is destined for tasty success! Be sure to share your best Bloomington-Normal BBQ bites by tagging @EatLocalBN on social media. Happy grilling!

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