Fry Sauce, A Utah Delicacy

A Utah Delicacy

Fry Sauce is a Utah delicacy that is much underappreciated outside the borders of the state. I was first introduced to its magnificence during my 7-year stay in Utah Valley, which is home to Provo, Utah, the location of my alma mater, Brigham Young University.

Fry sauce is a condiment usually served with french fries, and is made of a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup, and sometimes a touch of mustard. Several local hamburger joints in Utah serve fry sauce, and their exact recipes are a closely guarded secret. Though one self-proclaimed Utah foodie (now there's an oxymoron!) says that the recipe is two parts mayonnaise to one part ketchup. Remember this is a state where half the population is sleeping on buckets of wheat, and the other half is serving jello or brownies made from bean flour for dessert.

What on earth would drive a person to douse a dish that is deep-fried and heavily salted with a sauce that is two-thirds fat and 1 part sugar? Is this a recipe for cardiac arrest? You betcha. Are Utahns out of their minds? Perhaps. Is fry sauce an epicurean delicacy equal only to chocolate and truffles? Oh my heck! Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! Fry sauce is da bomb, and almost as addictive as caffeinated beverages like Diet Pepsi and Dr. Pepper.

Forgive me for a moment while I go into a purely self-serving and personal detour down memory lane. When we lived in Utah, our favorite place to partake of this delectable ambrosia was Burgers Supreme, AKA Apollo Burger. This place has the best burgers and fries around, and baklava. The aroma of hamburger, grilled to smoky perfection drew you in the doors. I never met a french fry there I didn't like. Their french fries are served hot and crisp--not those anemic, limp, spindly things you find at well-known national franchises--these are the real thing.

At Burgers Surpreme the fry sauce is served in large pump dispensers with condiment cups. We were regulars there, and for 5 or 6 years after we moved away from Provo, we returned with our small children. They still remembered us. We were REALLY GOOD CUSTOMERS. But back to fry sauce.

Since I have never tasted wine as a Mormon, I can only surmise, but I believe epicures all over the world will soon discover the heart healthy benefits of fry sauce, as the full-bodied flavor of this wonderful condiment can only be compared to the nuanced flavors of a full-bodied red. And although it is high in calories, I would like to suggest that fry sauce is not only delicious, but healthy. Everyone knows that fry sauce is made from mayonnaise, which is made from a healthy blend of natural oils and eggs. Eggs, once thought to be insidiously unhealthy, have been proven as a super-food. And tomatoes, found in ketchup, are high in lycopine and other important heart healthy nutrients. This perfect blend of tomatoes, fat, sugar and salt make fry sauce an uber-food, with powerful, aphrodisiac qualities.

If you don't believe me, you should walk down the streets of Provo Utah in the summertime. You will see many young couples carrying paper bags containing meals with french fries and fry sauce, to go. These young couples are under the spell--of fry sauce.

I have a theory about Utah and its attraction to ridiculously fatty foods. At one time, Utahns were the highest per-capita consumers of ice cream, too, though I'm not sure if they were able to hold on to that dubious claim to fame. I think it goes back to the Utah Mormon Pioneers' early years of deprivation in the Beehive State. Many of the Utah settlers were immigrants from Denmark, England, and other Northern European countries. They came to America almost penniless, and pulled their belongings in handcarts across the American plains and the mountains of the American West. Some of the settlers didn't time their journey very well, and many men, women, and children in the Willie and Martin Handcart companies froze to death in a deadly early winter. After the settlers got to Utah, many of the early pioneers suffered through several winters of scarcity and shortages while they built up the infrastructure of the late nineteenth century settlements using hard labor. This time of hunger and deprivation made a lasting impression on the generations that followed, and is now part of the Utah ethos.

Another theory of fry sauce origins goes to the high incidence of large families in Utah. Fry sauce packs in more calories at no extra cost. A great boon to stretch a family's fast food dollar.

According to my husband, who came to Utah from Louisiana, fry sauce was served there as a dipping sauce for shrimp, and an alternative to cocktail sauce. For him, Utah's unique cultural offerings were viewed merely as a natural progression in his culinary and human development. To me, fry sauce came as something of a surprise. At first I viewed it with some disgust, but after I got over my aversion, I came to believe it was second only to chili when served as a condiment for french fries. (Mmmm....chili cheese fries!)

In this light, I think we can all agree that fry sauce is a perfectly appropriate addition to any healthy family meal, and could be tried in a number of new and interesting ways. Why not as a topping for cauliflower, broccoli, or carrots? How about a secret ingredient for chocolate cake or breakfast muffins? What next? Fry sauce-flavored ice cream? You want fries with that?

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Comments 11 comments

dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Fry sauce is not a crazy idea to me. Many of us our natural "dippers." We love to dip things into other things. It's kind of addicting, this dipping...When I went to Montreal, they dip their fries in 100% mayonnaise! They also have potato chips that are mustard flavor and drinks that to many Americans to be flat (half-carbonated soft drinks). I bought back every little trinket that I could find when I was there (I went to school in Plattsburgh, NY for a little bit which was about 70 miles south of Montreal).

Loved this hub, Wannabwestern!


maven101 profile image

maven101 7 years ago from Northern Arizona

I must say, wannabewestern, you are treading on dangerous ground here when uttering comparisons of fry sauce to a great red wine...How dare to compare the nectar of the gods to a hamburger condiment !!!! I am shocked, simply shocked by this blatant, crass, and bourgeois elevation of a pink- stained dip, reeking of malodorous content, to say, a Chateauneuf du Pape...The French will never stand for this...but their frites maison will..Thanks for this gastronomical gambol gloriously glamorized...Larry


RNMSN profile image

RNMSN 7 years ago from Tucson, Az

while the nurse in me cringes the fry lover is going "YES! Gotta get some...NOW!!! :) very good hub wannabe/also the whittlin hub was really great too!!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

@ dohn121: That must be some tasty mayonnaise! Isn't your region the birthplace of buffalo wings? I never thought of dipping as an addictive behavior. Better start off a fry sauce dipper's help line!

@Larry: I struck a chord with the foodie in you! I've never seen the gauntlets come off so quickly! That was a great comment, in fact, much more full-bodied than the anemic hub on fry sauce. ;)

@RNMSN: The best foods always cause cardiac arrest! Thanks for reading the whittlin' hub!


The Rope profile image

The Rope 7 years ago from SE US

...and "down here" we love a mayo/mustard fry dipping sauce. Great hub and once again superior writing WB! Will have to try the Utah version.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

LOL! Thank you! In Utah some hamburger joints use mustard in their fry sauce but I've never tried a fry sauce that was mayo/mustard only. It sounds tangy and intriguing. I'll have to give it a try.


Sladeum 6 years ago

I am originally from Southern Utah and after my mom getting married again we ended up back where he was from in North Carolina. Its great here and still had a parent there so i was back and forth growing up and every year when i came back after a summer out there it was the hardest thing ever to not have any Fry Sauce around anywhere! (Remember i am originally from UT so i was raised on this stuff) Sure i resorted to mixing just mayo and ket, But its just not the same as what you get at the resturants out there. (Esp. the local ones) Its crazy as soon as you leave the borders of the state most food establishments look at you like your crazy or dumb when you ask for it. People look at you like your insane and discusting when you are mixing mayo and ketchup (as a substitute to the real thing) out here. I went through this look every day duing lunch at my High School in NC; however one by one i got them to try it and when i graduated 90% of the lunch crowd was doing it. Ahh if they only knew how much better some from a local establishment in UT was. (My favorite is from 3 of the towns local burger joints: Top Spot, Brad's Food Hut, and Hermies.) I am glad to see its spreading outside the states borders I just wish they would just go ahead and catch on out this was soon!!! I really enjoyed your your post made me laugh and not feel so crazy about my Fry Sauce......


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 6 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

Sladeum, your passion for fry sauce really shines! What a pleasant surprise to see a comment such as yours on my Fry Sauce article. It sounds like you have the makings of a natural leader, converting the locals to fry sauce like that! Wishing you well!


Cathi Sutton profile image

Cathi Sutton 6 years ago

Great Hub! Well written and entertaining. I enjoyed reading, and pushed the green button!


Enlydia Listener profile image

Enlydia Listener 4 years ago from trailer in the country

This hub moved me to go into the kitchen and pull my potato wedges out of the oven...good thing I did...But I made a dipping sauce on the way back to my computer...not like your Fry Sauce, but it was good.


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 4 years ago from The Land of Tractors Author

I'm glad you were so moved! Must be kismet, I was thinking of doing the same thing for dinner! Tee hee hee!

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