Bob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”

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I’ll start off by saying first and foremost, this is not a normal meal in my house! It’s a decadent treat I allow myself maybe 2 or 3 times per year!  Being a Weight Watcher and heart patient, I do really try and watch my intake of fatty, cholesterol-laden foods!  But once in a while, it just tastes SOOOO good!

My History with the “Manner’s Big Boy”

Long before it was known as Bob’s Big Boy, the local Cleveland-area franchises were known as Manner’s Big Boy, and started in the mid-1950s. I remember what a treat it was when mom and dad took me to Manner’s for a Big Boy burger, slathered in that delicious white tartery-sauce. We always got “extra cups of sauce” to smother our french fries in and even added more to the burgers!

Over the years the restaurant chain changed names. In Michigan they didn’t even use the white sauce, but instead had an orange sauce that resembled more of a Big Mac-type sauce with ketchup in it. NOT THE SAME!

Slowly, the number of Big Boy restaurants started to fade away and now there is only 2 left in the Cleveland area. I found myself stopping at a Big Boy restaurant a few times a year though because I loved the sauce so much and could never figure out how to make it.  UNTIL RECENTLY!

One day about a year ago, I had a craving, but didn’t have the energy to drive to the west side for a burger. I started scouring the internet to see if there was a copycat Big Boy Sauce recipe out there and wouldn’t you know…. there was!

To my delight, I made it. I had to run up to the grocery store to buy the dill pickle relish but I had everything else on hand. I followed the recipe to the “t” and it sure tasted pretty similar to the classic sauce at the restaurant.

We had friends over last night for a cookout and pool party and I wasn’t in the mood for cooking up some fancy meal. I thought burgers would be great but wanted to do something a bit different – so, I cooked up 6 Big Boy burgers, complete with the double decker buns!

Double decker buns are not easy to find so I improvised. I bought several packages of sesame seed buns because I would need to use two “bottom buns” for each burger, turning one of them into the “middle bun”.

When I first got home I tried to slice the bottom crust off a bottom bun so it would resemble and taste more like the middle bun but it was not easy. Desperate for a solution, I then had an epiphany! FREEZE THEM FOR A WHILE!

I was making burgers for 6, which ultimately required 12 buns… 6 tops, 12 bottoms. I put 6 of the bottom buns in the freezer for about an hour which made slicing the bottom crust off a lot easier.

To cut down on some of the calories, I served them with roasted sweet potato fries and homemade cole slaw.

And the next day, I went on a 5-mile run and ate a vegetarian all day! Everything in moderation! 🙂

ONE SIDE NOTE:  I’ll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.

Boy's Big Boy Burgers - with "Secret Sauce"

I finally figured out how to make the special sauce that makes Big Boy burgers so delicious!
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 15 mins
Chill Sauce & Freeze Bottom Buns 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 45 mins
Course Beef, Dinner, Sauces
Cuisine American
Servings 4 Double decker burgers



  • 1 c Mayonnaise
  • 4 tbsp Dill pickle relish (drained)
  • 2 tsp Fresh lemon juice
  • Dash Onion powder
  • Dash Paprika
  • Dash Garlic powder


  • 2 pounds Ground beef (Mix of 80% and 85% is what I used)
  • 8 Sesame seed burger buns (You need two "bottom buns" for each burger)
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 1/2 cup Lettuce (Iceberg, shredded)
  • 1/4 cup Onions (Chopped)
  • 1/4 cup Dill pickle slices



  • Combine all ingredients and mix well.
  • Cover and chill for at least 1 hour (or more) until ready to serve.


  • Freeze as many bottom buns as you are making burgers. These will become the "middle bun" (if you can't find double decker buns).
  • Mix ground beef with a little salt and pepper and form into patties. Cover and chill.
  • Chop onions and slice iceberg, and pickles. Prepare cheese.
  • After "middle buns" are slightly frozen, using a serrated bread knife, carefully thinly slice the bottom crust off to make it a"middle bun".
  • Toast the buns on the grill or under a broiler. Remember to flip the middle bun to get it toasted on both sides.
  • Cook burgers.
  • Assemble burgers placing a bit of sauce on the bottom bun and middle bun.
  • Add burgers on each bun with one of them having a slice of cheese on it.
  • Add lettuce, onions and pickles, and more sauce on the top burger.


ONE SIDE NOTE:  I'll be honest, I personally think it tastes more like the restaurant burger if you cook them indoors in a skillet versus on the grill, simply because they were cooked that way in the restaurant, but either way is excellent.
The sauce will keep for up to a week in the refrigerator. It's not healthy, but for a decadent splurge "once in a while", it's a fun variation on a regular burger!
Adam LapsevichBob’s Big Boy Burgers and “Secret Sauce”

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