Steak ‘N Shake: Famous for Frisco Melts
Steak ‘N Shake’s tag line, “Famous For Steakburgers” can be a little misleading. While steakburgers are certainly the dominant menu item at the American fast food diner, true blue-blooded SNS fans will tell you the menu starts and ends with the Frisco Melt. And for those of you who don’t eat fast food 3 times a week, a melt (technically, patty melt) is definitely NOT a burger.
The Frisco Melt is a juicy, greasy amalgamation of beef, sourdough toast and cheese that’s renowned for its world-famous Frisco Sauce, a Steak ‘N Shake original that has remained a closely kept secret since its inception.
As a secret recipe sauce that’s delighted customers for decades, Frisco Sauce has garnered its fair share of imposters from other restaurants, as well as dozens of copy cat recipes online.
Since Condiment Connection shares home headquarters with Steak ‘N Shake in beautiful downtown Indianapolis, we have taken it upon ourselves to crack the Frisco Sauce code for the rest of the world. That’s right, through careful analysis and blind taste tests, we have reverse engineered Frisco Sauce to bring you the secret recipe. But it wasn’t easy, and it took a great deal of trial and error.
Cutting Through the Condiment Clutter
It’s not difficult to find imitation recipes for Frisco Sauce online. Perhaps that’s how you found this article. Well, that’s how we started, too.
Our plan was simple: recreate every single legitimate Frisco Sauce imitation recipe we could find, and then compare them in blind taste tests to the original Frisco Sauce from Steak ‘N Shake. Seems simple, right? Here are the ingredients we started with.
Jamhands and LifesATomato both offer recipes for Frisco Sauce made from a ratio of 2 Thousand Island : 1 Russian Dressing. And not gonna lie, we were more than a little disappointed with this recipe. While the color was pretty much spot on, the end product was too runny and far too spicy. The peppery Russian dressing simply overpowered the flavor of the Thousand Island and, in our opinion, didn’t complement it.
Frisco Sauce vs. Thousand Island/Russian Combo
SewYouThinkYouCanCook says Frisco Sauce can be recreated with a mixture of 6 Thousand Island : 4 Catalina Dressing. While this recipe was certainly closer in flavor than the previous one, the end product had just a little too much sweetness to it. Also, the color was red rather than orange, and the texture was still a little too runny.
Frisco Sauce vs. Thousand Island/Catalina Combo
Food.com offers perhaps the simplest Frisco Sauce recipe of all: 2 Thousand Island : 1 Ketchup. It’s surprisingly effective for such a simple and readily available combination, but still definitely not right. While the texture of this mixture at least matched the thickness of true Frisco Sauce, it was sorely missing the tangy-sweet pop that’s the signature of the flavor. Also, the color was just not orange enough either.
Frisco Sauce vs. Thousand Island/Ketchup Combo
Finally, a random responder on Yahoo.com lists a Frisco Sauce imitation recipe (apparently directly from a server at SNS) that’s made from a 2 Thousand Island : 1 French Dressing combo. Bingo! Kind of… As we quickly discovered, French dressing holds the secret to the tangy-sweet flavor we had been looking for, but we still had some issues with the recipe. The tang of the French dressing was clearly overpowering the Thousand Island, the texture of the mixture was far too runny, and the color was clearly not dark enough.
Frisco Sauce vs. Thousand Island/French Dressing Combo
Now, we were out of legitimate Frisco Sauce recipe leads. Whatever were we to do?
One Recipe to Rule Them All
After trying all the imitation recipes above, we became certain of 4 things:
- The base of the secret recipe is Thousand Island
- The tangy-sweet flavor comes from French Dressing
- The recipe shouldn’t include Russian Dressing
- The recipe shouldn’t include Catalina Dressing
From there, it became a simple game of mixing proper proportions from our closest imitation recipe (Yahoo). We took our two essential ingredients, Thousand Island and French Dressing, and examined what it was lacking: flavor balance, darker color and thicker texture. And you know what it needed?? Yep, you guessed it, ketchup.
2 Thousand Island : 1 French Dressing : 1 Ketchup
Our final creation was spot on. The perfect balance of savory goodness with tangy-sweet bite. A medium orange tint like the hue of Donald Trump’s face. And a texture thick enough to make a “glop” sound when thrown onto a plate.
Frisco Sauce vs. Frisco Sauce
(2 Thousand Island : 1 French Dressing : 1 Ketchup)
So there you have it, folks. The secret to making your own spot-on Frisco Sauce. Cheers!
P.S. Stick to Heinz on the ketchup, seriously.
P.P.S. Yes, those sample cups are actually shot glasses.
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