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The Perfect Hamburger Sauce

National Hamburger Month means grilling burgers and topping them with this perfect hamburger sauce.

Close up image of two freshly flame grilled beef burgers loaded with melted cheese and crispy bacon with fresh green salad leaves, sandwiched between a toasted sesame seed bun. White backgroung with room for copy space.

Nothing says summer quite like a hamburger fresh of the grill. Then, of course, you’ll need all the necessary accessories like lettuce, tomatoes, slices of red onion, and pickles. We all love a good condiment on our burgers too, so ketchup and mustard, maybe even some mayonnaise, are also going to be on the table. One ingredient I absolutely love that I typically get on some of my favorite restaurants or fast-food burgers is the “special sauce.” It’s special because it just adds that extra something to make the burger really pop. That’s why I love to make my own special sauce for our backyard barbecue burgers.

Actually, for this sauce I like to grab one of my favorite kitchen tools: a kid-helper! This is a great task for a budding chef who is eager to help out in the kitchen.

The ingredient list is made up of the usual suspects in my refrigerator: mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard. Of course, we need to add more than just these base ingredients, so I’ll need some hot sauce, Worcestershire, and some pickle relish. Rather than using onion powder, I really want to add fresh minced onion, it just gives that nice little bite of spicy onion heat while giving some more texture to the sauce. Not to be forgotten, garlic. I’ll add a dash of that too the mix and stir it all up.

My special sauce isn’t done yet! The most important part of this process is to let the sauce sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible. Time is your friend when it comes to the sauce, and in that time spent in the refrigerator, all of these amazing flavors have time to come together and fully combine into a truly special sauce.

To serve, I’ll toast my hamburger buns for a few minutes until just golden and crisp – I like to use a potato hamburger bun because it’s got a nice texture and flavor. I’ll generously spread the sauce over the bun and lay it on top of my burger, piled high with that juicy hamburger, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Done and done! May is the unofficial summer kick-off, and there’s no better way to kick off summer than to celebrate National Burger Month with a delicious grilled burger adorned with this flavorful special sauce.

Homemade Hamburger Special Sauce

Serves 4;

Special Sauce
  • ½ cup mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • ½ teaspoon mustard (yellow or dijon)
  • 2 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire
  • 5 dashes hot sauce, such as Tapatío (more or less, to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced yellow or white onion
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
Preparation
  1. Mix the mayonnaise, ketchup, hot sauce, and mustard together in a bowl.
  2. Add pickle relish, steak or Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine.
  3. Add minced onion and garlic powder and stir. Taste the sauce before adding kosher salt and black pepper.
  4. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes but longer if possible. Spread across toasted hamburger buns. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Oh Sweet Basil.