Dinner Rush! Cheeseburgers with "Secret Sauce"

We’ve all been there: the pounding headache of a hangover, the groggy nausea of an upset tummy, the throbbing rage of a stressful day at work. There are some challenges in life whose only resolution comes from a drive-thru window. Thus, in homage to the holistic powers of fast food condiments, this week’s Dinner Rush! is all about the miracle elixir known only as “secret sauce.”

It’s remarkably easy to bring the quintessential flavor of a fast food burger to your own barbecue. Having earned its acclaim on a stage of two all-beef patties, the sauce is obviously rock star on cheeseburgers, but it could also be used to elevate otherwise drive-thru-aspirational meals such as grilled chicken, steaks or even fish.

So, after all this buildup, prepare to be amazed as I tell you that the secret is to simply take all things otherwise delicious on a burger and mix them together. That’s it. The sauce is really that simple: six ingredients, one euphoric condiment and a lifetime of drive-thru bliss from the convenience of your own backyard.

Cheeseburgers with “Secret Sauce”
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

For the secret sauce
1/4 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons sweet relish
Few dashes hot sauce
Pinch garlic powder

Pinch onion powder

For the burgers
1 1/3 pounds ground beef (80% lean)
Salt and ground black pepper
8 slices American or cheddar cheese
4 sesame seed buns, split

Assorted toppings, such as finely chopped red onion, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes and sliced dill pickles

In a small bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.

Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. Divide the meat into four equal portions and shape them into burgers about 3/4 inch thick. Liberally season the outside of each burger with salt and pepper, then cook them to your liking, about 3 minutes per side for medium, placing two slices of cheese on each burger once they’ve been flipped.

Serve the burgers on the buns with whatever garnishes you desire and a hearty dollop of secret sauce.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee and Bobby Deen, he now works as a food stylist and producer in NYC by day and a food writer and recipe developer at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following his latest tweets on Twitter at  @patrickwdecker  or visiting his website at  patrickwdecker.com .

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