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Spicy Burger Sauce Recipe? (Without Ketchup)

Hi everyone, we're grilling burgers this Sunday and I haven't been able to find any recipes for spicy sauce online that doesn't have ketchup. My husband and I both detest it. Other than ketchup, we pretty much eat everything.

Does anyone have a killer spicy burger sauce recipe for me? :-)

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  1. Kimchi.
    Not so much a sauce or a condiment as a topping, but definitely worth a try.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kris in Beijing

      Great suggestion. If there's a Trader Joe's near you, consider buying their version of Kimchi, available in a pouch in the refrigerated section. It is almost as good as the stuff I used to be able to buy at a local farmer's market from a young Korean fellow who called his company "Number One Son." (If you live near the Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA farmer's market, look for this product Sunday mornings.)

      Another recommendation: Chimichurri sauce (I used to get my favorite mail ordered from the Santa Fe Chile Shop, but they haven't carried that brand in ages. I have three recipes, but I haven't made any of those yet. Perhaps someone will contribute a recipe he/she can vouch for.)

      Finally, a recipe for Avocado-Tomatillo Sauce:

      3 medium-sized green tomatoes, coarsely chopped
      (you can substitute yellow if you can't find green ones, but never use red)
      4 tomatillos, cleaned and chopped
      1 to 2 jalapenos, stemmed and coarsely chopped
      3 small garlic cloves
      3 medium-sized ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and sliced
      4 sprigs cilantro
      1 tsp. of salt
      1 1/2 cups of sour cream

      Combine tomatoes, tomatillos, jalapenos and garlic in a saucepan. Bring to a boil (tomatoes will give off their liquid); reduce heat until mixture simmers and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
      In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine tomato mixture with the avocados, cilantro and salt; blend until smooth.

      Pour into a bowl and stir in sour cream.

      Makes 4 to 5 cups

    2. Chipotles are your best friends in constructing a sauce like this. Try simmering onion, garlic, vinegar, sugar, tomato sauce and chipotles along with any other seasonings you like, then whiz it in a blender. Spicy and not ketchup!

      1. We never put ketchup on burgers, usually mayo. But recently I've been finely chopping up a chipotle in adobo and mixing with the mayo. LOVE it. And you can make it as spicy as you want.

        2 Replies
        1. re: c oliver

          That sounds really good. My quick and dirty salsa is one can of chipotles in adobo and one 15 oz. can of fire roasted tomatoes pureed in a food processor. It's good on sandwiches, with chips, as a cooking sauce, and just about anything you can think of. It doesn't feel like I'm making anything (since I'm not) but it really is delicious.

          1. re: JonParker

            Ooh, I gotta do that one. Easy and good are two of my favorite things when it comes to food. I keep meaning to stock up on fire roasted tomatoes.

            As an aside, I don't honestly thing that chipotles in adobo are all that hot. People tend to think that even a little bit is blisteringly hot whereas I think they certainly have heat but it's more that deep smoky flavor.

        2. I love the bomba sauce, made from mushrooms eggplant and Calabrian peppers, wizzed together with some mayo. You could also mince up some jalapeños and add them to your meat so the heat is dispersed. Or you could go Japanese with wasabi mayo or Korean with ssamjung sauce. Lots and lots of options....

          1. How about vindaloo paste?

            Kimchi is a great idea. For salad dressing I buzz kimchi with a little extra garlic, ginger, a smidge of vinegar and oil.

            I personally like mustard and jalapeno slices (which I realize constitutes toppings, not sauce).

            1. Thanks everyone! Kimchi is a fantastic idea, it never crossed my mind. I live in Greece though, so I'd have to make it myself. Haven't found any good Korean places around here. (I grew up in Northern VA with amazing Korean places in abundance, which I sorely miss!!)

              c oliver, I think I'll try the mayo-chipotle mixture this weekend, and I'll keep everyone else ideas on file for next time. :)

              Thanks again!

              3 Replies
              1. re: eviemichael

                Cool. One thing I like about the m-c is that I can keep it on hand. After opening a can of peppers I put them in a screwtop jar and they last.

                1. re: c oliver

                  Sorry for the late update- we did the chipotle mayo sauce and it was great! Thanks again- it was so easy and flavorful. I'll try some of the other ideas here soon.
                  DH requested that we have burgers twice a week...ha.

                  1. re: eviemichael

                    Glad you liked. I too have gotten lots of good ideas from this thread.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Or chipotle mayo. Though the chipotle concoction noted above mixed with mayo may be even better.


                  1. re: linguafood

                    I was going to say the same thing. Both are also good mixed into sour cream or greek yogurt as a topping.

                    Or how about making a spicy burger and topping them with a cooling sauce Raita or Tzatziki?

                    1. re: linguafood

                      I like to add some finely diced dill pickle (or relish) to my sriracha mayo. Sometimes a tiny pinch of smoked paprika.

                      1. re: GretchenS

                        Yeah, finely diced pickle is good, too.

                        A non-spicy burger sauce I make occasionally is mayo, a little ketchup, a little mustard (which I usually HATE on burgers), diced pickle.... then you *almost* have the big mac sauce -- god I haven't had a big mac in forever, and probably won't any time soon, either.

                        1. re: linguafood

                          Wait a second...the big mac sauce has ketchup in it??

                      2. re: linguafood

                        I second the sriracha mayo idea.

                      3. Wasabi Mayo. TJ's sells it in a jar or you can mix the powder with mayo to your own spicyness liking...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Gio

                          I need to remember to do that. Especially when I put some Asian seasonings in my ground pork burgers. Thanks, G.

                          1. I think a spicy "chimichurri" would be great on a burger. I have a jarred "sandwich spread" in a chimichurri flavor and it has some decent heat due to the inclusion of red pepper flakes, so you could do the same when making from scratch.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: juliejulez

                              This is a great idea. The nice thing about chimichurri is that you can totally do variations on a theme, keeping in mind that you're mixing chopped herbs with oil and vinegar. Don't have parsley? Use basil. Oregano? Totally ok (within reason). It's something you can play with endlessly.

                              I use a half cup olive oil and 1/3 cup vinegar of some kind to 1.5 cups of herbs, along with garlic, crushed red pepper, S&P. Have fun with it. It's unlikely you'll do anything inedible. This is a perfect condiment for someone with an herb garden.

                            2. As simple as it is, I'm obsessed with mixing mayo, soy sauce, and sriracha together and topping my burger with that and some sliced cucumbers.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: dordalina

                                Funny, when I saw the title of this thread I immediately thought of the mayo-Sriarcha sauce I made the other night. I think I used ponzu and some drops of sesame oil. A dab of wasabi would go well too. Now I'm dying to try that on a hamburger.

                                1. re: Soul Vole

                                  I think this thread is giving us all some good ideas.

                              2. Other than ketchup, we pretty much eat everything.

                                Ok, you put yourself out there.

                                So, if you want something a bit pungent with a spicy kick, then smear on some Taiwanese fermented bean curd (dòu fǔ rǔ or 豆腐乳).

                                1. We combine mayo and sriracha and sometimes add a hit of Worcestershire or relish in too.

                                  1. I am really into Sambal Olek right now. It has a similar flavor to Sriracha, but it is less sweet. It is not a smooth puree like Sriracha, but has smalls bits of chili and garic with thinner liquid as well. It is replacing Sriracha in my diet right now.

                                    It is thick enough to put straight on a burger, or you could mix it with mayo, pickle relish, mustard, whatever.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: luciaannek

                                      Does Sambal Olek have as many additives as Sriracha (like HFCS, gums, etc). I keep wanting to buy some Sriracha, but then look at the ingredients...