Secret gin flavor maps? Quality canned wine? What an unexpected (read: great) way to start the week here at Food Republic!

When we weren’t hearing about the latest in the weird, wide world of drinking, we took it upon ourselves to provide you with some culinary tips for Labor Day weekend. Want to know our picks for the dishes to grill or the sides to assemble? We’ve got you covered. Care to try your hand at something more unconventional, such as steak tartare or tacos al pastor on the grill? Experiment with smoking techniques or Thai chilies? Leave it to us. All that and more on this week’s Hot Topics on Food Republic.

  1. A secret gin flavor map? We’ve got the exclusive right here.
  2. A canned wine worth drinking? Here’s the scoop.
  3. Video of Joey Campanaro making the Little Owl’s famed gravy meatball sliders.
  4. We tested 5 of the culinary world’s newest products. Results, this way.
  5. What are all the different Thai chilies? Let’s investigate.
  6. Here is how to make steak tartare at home.
  7. Grill hacks: How to make tacos al pastor on the grill.
  8. Is smoke the new salt? We sat down with Project Smoke author Steven Raichlen.
  9. We’ve rounded up our top dishes to grill for Labor Day weekend.
  10. While we’re at it, here are our ideas for perfect side dishes.