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How to Make Bob's Big Boy Hamburger Sauce: The Secret Burger Sauce Recipe

Updated on November 29, 2011

Bob's Big Boy Burgers

When I was growing up, a special treat was a burger at Bob's Big Boy. It is still one of my favorite memories from my childhood. Unfortunately, Bob's Big Boy closed, and took their burgers with them. After searching and testing recipes for their hamburger sauce, I've finally found one that is just as good as the real thing. Get some sesame seed buns, burger patties, cheese, lettuce and onions, make up a batch of the sauce and dig in!

Bob's Big Boy Hamburger Sauce Recipe
Bob's Big Boy Hamburger Sauce Recipe

The Secret Sauce

Bob's Big Boy Hamburger Sauce is so simple, and yet adds so much flavor to any burger or grilled chicken sandwich. This recipe makes enough for several burgers


  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp. sweet pickle relish or 1 1/2 tbsp diced sweet pickles, 1/8 teaspoon mustard and 1/4 teaspoon pickle juice
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 tbsp water


Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.


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    • profile image

      Its cocktail sauce and sweet relish 4 months ago

      Its cocktail sauce and sweet relish...

      Mix 50/50 or to your most memorable taste!

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      Cheryn 4 months ago

      Bob's big boy hamburger relish is red... mayonnaise changes that... it is not Bob's relish... very disappointed... thought I was finding a long time favorite.

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      Christine 8 months ago

      Loved Big Boy...we had a drive-up in Berwyn, IL. Your recipe sounds like the one I remember and MISS so much. Is the pickle juice sweet or dill?

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      JeffD 15 months ago

      My memory dates back to the mid-60's in the SFV and Rangerdan/Peter/etc are absolutely correct. Bob's relish had a distinct curry/spicy flavor that not many kids cared for (I was one), and it was definitely more than just pickles or sweet relish+ketchup+mayo. The curry+A-1 recipe rang a big-time bell in my head, that was the EXACT taste combo.

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      Rodney 21 months ago

      I see the above recipe for Bob's Big Boy Hamburger red relish and it's not EVEN close.

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      Rodney Chapman 2 years ago

      Bob's Big Boy Seasoning Salt and Bob's Hamburger Relish. It took me 10 years to crack it but I finally came up with an exact duplicate for both recipes. I challenge anyone to tell the difference between my recipes and the real thing.

      Seasoning Salt: 2 tablspns celery salt, 1/2 teaspn ground thyme, 1 1/2 teaspns garlic powder, 1 teaspn “Mild Empire Curry Powder” or your choice of curry powder, 1/2 teaspn dry “Coleman’s Mustard Powder”, 1/4 teaspn Corn starch,

      1/4 teaspn Parsley flakes dried, 1 1/4 teaspns onion powder, 1 tablspn sweet smoked paprika “La Chinata” brand. RELISH: 2 tablspns above Seasoning Salt, 6 tablspns finely diced dill pickles, 1 cup “Heinz Tomato Ketchup”, 1 teaspn garlic powder, 1 pinch of sugar.

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      Peter 2 years ago

      He is correct about adding curry and A-1 to the original relish. The Burbank Bob's has changed over the years!!! It almost gives it almost a clove taste. He is absolutely correct. All the West Coast Bob's, up until around the late 80s/Early '90s had this flavor. And it is a darker sauce. If you want to add thousand, that's your business...But it is NOT the original (A-1 and curry IS the secret. Follow the recipe a few posts up & that is the real deal!!!!

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      steve 2 years ago

      I use to build big boys, first job Montrose, ca then van nuys, and loaned out to all bobs in so Cal, also worked azars big boy in colo. and JB big boy in AZ. they use 1000 island instead of red relish. red relish was California style. here is exact instructions. we made them in sets of 6 and it started by buttering buns and laying them on grill, then 12 hamburger patties on a separate grill. when the blood in hamburger starts to come to top of patties turn middle of bun, flip the meat. when meat is cooked grab 6 bun bottoms and mayo bottom then shredded lettuce cheese meat Pattie then center bun mayo then meat Pattie and salt and a teaspoon of big boy relish top bun. I miss the relish! bobs bog boy was the BEST.

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      James Michael 4 years ago

      A Big Boy burger is a two patty three bun burger. The middle bun has mayo . The bottom bun has the bottom patty and on top of that patty is a red relish. I need to know what is in the relish. ( ingredients ) I heard it had cucumber?

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      ken1962 4 years ago

      I grew up eating Bob's hamburger. I want to know the truth but reading the above totally confused me. Someone, tell the truth please.

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      reddog2553 4 years ago

      I totally agree with the above post. I was a manager at the Glendale Bob's back in the 70's and the relish was made in-house. The ingredients consisted sweet relish and ketchup and a touch of their seasoned salt. The seasoned salt I use today is from "Steak and Shake".

      For you fans of Bob's, I am in touch with corporate to open some franchise units in the Denver metro area.

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      revemup55 4 years ago

      The above recipe is NOT for Bob's Hamburger Relish/sauce but for a good substitute for their 1000 Island dressing. Bob's Hamburger Relish is a red, tangy sauce. A cheap substitute is 2 tbsp sweet relish, 3/4 cup of ketchup and salt to taste. Enjoy!

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      CarHop 4 years ago

      OMG....none of this has ANYTHING to do with Bob's relish. Big Boys had NO 'sauce'........ever......just relish, and many loved to add 1000 Island dressing.......but no 'sauce', secret or otherwise ever. The relish was actually a chow chow......not just relish. It was made at the west coast commissary in Glendale. Some of us knew the recipe......and spent time at the commissary. (As I did) C'mon you guys....quit making things up. If you KNOW the recipe, you know how far off all this is......but put whatever you want on your burger........just don't call it Bob's relish!!

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      Rangerdan 5 years ago

      Dan... you are in luck I worked in the 1950/60 period as a cook for Bobs in Glendale.. I know the relish secret, The big boy of today has morphed The following is how to make the original big boy that Bob Wyan started in thousand island

      1.Take a jar of sweet pickel relish and rinse it with boiling water to blanch and let drain

      2. add 3 table spoons of curry powder 1 tbs garlic powder and 1 tbs celery salt and stir into the blanched relish.

      3. Pour a short dab of Heinz ketchup into the mix and and an equal ammount of A-1 sauce. Just enough to wet the relish and make a thick bind

      4. Put in a plastic container and let it rest for 1 week... adjust with more curry and or A-1 sauce to get the desired tang. ( curry is the secret)

      To build the original burger butter both sides of a bun and toast it on a flat top or cast iron pan Grill up 2 burger paties of under 4 oz ( don't over meat as less is better as it allows the flavores to work better. Shred up iceberg lett. in fine slivers and reserve, 2 slices of sharp chedder cheese not american cut thin. and some best food mayo or hilmans. And of course your relish. Now the assembly is all too critical and if you follow my instruction youe will experience the best burger ever created. You will not want to melt the cheese.. trust me......ready?

      AStarting with the bottom bun... spread light mayo

      Badd the burger patty

      C place 1 tps of the relish on the meat.. don't try to put too much it drowns the taste

      D. cover relish with shredded lett.

      E. Place cheese over lett. so it dosent melt

      On middle or top bun spred thin mayo. and top.

      Repeat for the double deck

      The concept is as you bite through the seperiate layers you taste each the cream of the mayo followed by the tang of the cheese, followed by the cooling shred lett. to be greated by the tang of the relish and savory of the meat finishing off with the rich mayo. Melted cheese has no taste keeping it un melted will blow you away once you try.....

      Today Bobs melt their cheese and it is American... no where near the original... Good luck pardner.... you have a double discovery the original relish and correct assembly Your never going to look at burgers the same

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      dan 5 years ago

      Wish someone has the Red Bob' Big Boy relish that was also used as their steak relish in So Cal.

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      Ron in Milwaukee 6 years ago

      I found a place in Milwaukee that serves the "Original Big Boy Hamburger" with french fries and a "Wedge" of lettuce; just like old times. However, they used thousand island dressing on the burger and lettuce, not the original sauce. It was okay but not the original flavor as I remember it. I'll try your recipe. Thanks...

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      Julie McM 6 years ago from Southern California

      John Gregg Sr.: You're right, it is tablespoon. Thanks for the heads up. Fixed.

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      John Gregg Sr. 6 years ago

      What's the "T" Tablespoon or teaspoon? I'm guessing tablespoon, if so it should read "tbsp" instead of just "T". Just sayin ... a little clarity would go a long ways here.

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      new pic lord marcus 7 years ago

      hi I'm from the Philippines,i saw the video of your restaurant at discovery Chanel. and I'm happy that i found the real burger at your restaurant...i will go to your country to taste the real one...see you soon Bob's big boy... by lord marcus

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      Mat 8 years ago

      Bob's Big Boys are opening up in San Diego county again. The newest one that is open is in El Cajon.

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      sb 8 years ago

      most businesses do postive things. only liberals think they don't

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      Bob's Big Boy in Burbank 8 years ago

      I found this site that talks about historic Bob's Big Boy in Burbank which is celebrating their 60th year! Apparently, they have just gone solar too. What a great idea especially being located in California where the sun is an everyday occurrence. Anyway, I thought it was so great to see a business actually going something positive.