Neither Special Nor Secret Sauce

December 20, 2017
Photo by Julia Gartland
Author Notes

Let's be frank: Like every other "special" or "secret sauce"—this is doctored-up thousand island dressing. Still, you can't beat it on a cheeseburger. Or with French fries. Or tater tots! I like mincing bread-and-butter pickles—as opposed to sweet relish—to cut down on the sweetness. You could take that a step further and swap in sour gherkins. If you want to amp up the smokiness, use a chipotle hot sauce.

Featured In: What Is Secret Sauce, Anyway? Is It Special Sauce?Emma Laperruque

  • Makes 3/4 cup
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dijon
  • 2 tablespoons minced bread-and-butter pickles
  • 1 teaspoon caper brine (or white or apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder, preferably Colman's
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Kosher salt, to taste
In This Recipe
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until smooth. Store in the fridge. Check your mayonnaise's expiration date to gauge how long it'll be good for!

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Emma is the food editor at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.