Traditional recipes

Number One Burger

Number One Burger

Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium-high heat, and coat with olive oil. In a bowl, combine the beef and salt and pepper to taste to form four 5-inch patties. Cook the patties for about 8-9 minutes in the pan, flipping once, to desired doneness. While the burgers are cooking, place all of the bacon in a skillet and cook for about 5 minutes on each side, reserve.

Just before the patties are cooked, place the Crescenza and Gorgonzola cheese on top until melted; remove from heat and let rest. Halve the toasted brioche buns then spread the dressing evenly on each side of the bun. Layer the bacon and arugula to complete the burger. Serve warm.


The Best Copycat Big Mac Recipe

Mitch Mandel and Thomas MacDonald

We're big fans of the Big Mac (after all, it was on the cover of the first Eat This, Not That! book)—or at least the general principle behind it. The thin patties, the layer of American cheese, the special sauce—all of it comes together in a way that makes this burger a convincing icon of the American fast-food establishment. But no one can say the Big Mac is exactly a healthy meal. That's where we come in! There are two main issues with the Big Mac recipe as it stands: The quality of the ingredients is subpar, and the middle bun is absolutely superfluous. We replace the mystery meat with lean ground sirloin, sear it in a cast-iron skillet until beautifully browned, then bring the classic ingredients together inside a single, squishy sesame seed bun.

Nutrition: 380 calories, 15 g fat (5 g saturated), 760 mg sodium

Serves 4


Shape the ground beef into a thin circle the same diameter as the bun. Cover the patty with wax paper and freeze it.

When you're ready to prepare the burger, preheat a large skillet over medium heat.

Spray some butter spray or spread a thin layer of melted butter on the faces of the top and bottom bun. Lightly brown the faces of the bun in the skillet, then remove them and set them aside.

Grill the beef patty in the skillet, and lightly sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Cook the beef for 3 to 4 minutes per side until done.

As the patty cooks, build the burger by first spreading the mayonnaise over the browned face of the bottom bun. Arrange the pickle slices on the mayonnaise. Sprinkle the chopped onion over the pickles. Arrange the lettuce on the sandwich next. Stack the tomato slices on the lettuce.

When the beef is ready, stack it on top of the other condiments, and top off the sandwich with the top bun. If you'd like the sandwich hotter, microwave it on high for 10 to 15 seconds.


I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

Tonight, don't settle for steaks that are served straight off the grill. Instead, blow everyone away when you serve up grilled beef tenderloin filets that have been "crowned" with buttery horseradish breadcrumbs. This presentation looks and tastes great, but the best part: it's really freakin' easy. The crust is prepared ahead of time by combining the ingredients and forming the mixture into crust "pucks" that are chilled until firm. Then, when the steaks come off the grill, you top each one with a crust, and broil until bubbling. Now, sit back and watch as your feeders flip when they take the first bite. That's right, tonight you rule.

Want more Outback copycat recipes? Click here.

When sales of this once limited-offering sandwich exceeded expectations, Wendy's made it a permanent menu item. Now you can re-create the spicy kick of the original with a secret blend of spices in the chicken's crispy coating. Follow the same stacking order as the original, and you will make four sandwich clones here at a fraction of the cost of the real thing.

Check out more Wendy's copycat recipes like their famous chili here.

The packet of Taco Bell spices you buy in grocery stores makes delicious spicy beef for tacos, but don't expect it to taste exactly the same as the beef at the giant Mexican food chain. For a better clone, use this recipe. Once the meat is prepped, it's simple to build soft tacos the Taco Bell way using these steps. If you want crispy tacos, replace the soft flour tortillas with crunchy corn shells.

Mix it together, heat it up, cool it down, and store it in the fridge until salad time.

Now, how about a Toowooma Steak, or Alice Springs Chicken for the main course? Check out more of my Outback Steakhouse copycat recipes here.

Taco Bell takes the fast food quesadilla into new territory with three different cheeses and a creamy jalapeño sauce, all of which you can now cheerfully re-create in the comfort of your warm kitchen. Gather up the crew, since this easy recipe will make four of the tasty tortilla treats.

How about some homemade Diablo, hot, or mild sauce to go with your quesadilla? Check out all of my Taco Bell copycat recipes here.

Menu Description: "Parmesan, Romano and mozzarella cheese, clams and herb breadcrumbs baked in mushroom caps."

Breadcrumbs, clams and three types of cheese are baked into white mushroom caps in this clone of a top pick from Olive Garden's appetizer menu. Mix all the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl, fill the mushroom caps, sprinkle on some minced red bell pepper, cover the mushrooms with a blanket of mozzarella cheese slices, and bake. After 15 minutes you'll have a great appetizer or hors d'oeuvre for 4 to 6 people—that's twice the serving size of the dish from the restaurant.

Did you love this copycat Olive Garden stuffed mushrooms recipe? Check out more of my clone recipes here.

Menu Description: "Marinated in teriyaki and topped with grilled pineapple, Cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and mayo. Dude, you'll be like, ready to ride the pipeline on Oahu's North Shore after you chomp on this!"

Here's customer choice number one from Red Robin's huge burger menu. According to Red Robin servers, the beef they use for all their burgers is ground from Angus flank steak. That beef makes a great burger, but it can be hard to find. If you can't find Angus beef, pick up some ground chuck for this recipe. Make sure the fat content is at least 15 percent, since low-fat ground beef makes burgers that are too dry and short on flavor. I tested a half-dozen popular teriyaki glazes in the stores and nothing comes close to the stuff they use at the restaurant, so I've included a recipe here to make your own. Be sure to watch your marinated meat and pineapple slices closely on the grill since the sugar in the teriyaki marinade could burn over the open flame. If you're grilling outside, keep the lid open. And don't hit the La-Z-Boy until this burger's done.

Find more of my Red Robin copycat recipes here.

In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.

Menu Description: "Smoked chicken, black beans, corn, jalapeno Jack cheese, red peppers and spinach wrapped inside a crispy flour tortilla. We serve it with our avocado-ranch dipping sauce."

Chili's was the first chain to popularize the Southwestern-style eggroll, but as with any successful menu item, clones have been popping up on other major chains' appetizer menus over the past several years. Even though it's more like a small chimichanga than an eggroll, this appetizer is a fabulous creation with monster flavor. A flour tortilla is stuffed with a spicy blend of corn, green onions, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, Monterey Jack cheese and spices then it's deep-fried. Slice the fried rolls diagonally, dunk the wedges into a creamy avocado ranch sauce, and you've done your taste buds a solid. Make these several hours before you plan to serve them so that they can freeze before frying (it's a great dish to make a day ahead of a party or event). This freezing step will help the outside fry to a golden brown, but the eggrolls will stay folded, and oil won't seep in. Assembling the eggrolls takes a little time, so if you like these, I suggest making a double batch. Since you'll be freezing them, you'll have extra on hand in the freezer ready to cook with just a little additional effort.


I'm Todd Wilbur, Chronic Food Hacker

For 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original clone recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.

Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!

This delicious crispy chicken in a citrusy sweet-and-sour chicken is the most popular dish at the huge Chinese take-out chain. Panda Express cooks all of its food in woks. If you don't have one of those, you can use a heavy skillet or a large saute pan.

($23.88 annually)*
Save $12 vs. monthly

Includes eight (8) 79¢ recipes of your choice each month!

By sneaking around to the back of a HoneyBaked Ham store I witnessed the glazing process through an open door. The hams are delivered to each of the 300 HoneyBaked outlets already smoked, but without the glaze. It is only when the ham gets to your local HoneyBaked store that a special machine thin-slices the tender meat in a spiral fashion around the bone. Then, one at a time, each ham is then coated with the glaze—a blend that is similar to what might be used to make pumpkin pie. This sweet coating is then caramelized with a blowtorch by hand until the glaze bubbles and melts, turning golden brown. If needed, more of the coating is added, and the blowtorch is fired up until the glaze is just right. It's this careful process that turns the same size ham that costs 20 dollars in a supermarket into one that customers gladly shell out 3 to 4 times as much to share during the holiday season.

For this HoneyBaked Ham glaze copycat recipe, we will re-create the glaze that you can apply to a smoked/cooked bone-in ham of your choice. Look for a ham that is pre-sliced. Otherwise you'll have to slice it yourself with a sharp knife, then the glaze will be applied. To get the coating just right you must use a blowtorch. Get the kind that is used for creme brulee from almost any kitchen supply store. They're usually pretty cheap. And don't worry—I didn't leave out an ingredient. No honey is necessary to re-create this flavorful glaze.

In early 1985, restaurateur Rich Komen felt there was a specialty niche in convenience-food service just waiting to be filled. His idea was to create an efficient outlet that could serve freshly made cinnamon rolls in shopping malls throughout the country. It took nine months for Komen and his staff to develop a cinnamon roll recipe he knew customers would consider the "freshest, gooiest, and most mouthwatering cinnamon roll ever tasted." The concept was tested for the first time in Seattle's Sea-Tac mall later that year, with workers mixing, proofing, rolling, and baking the rolls in full view of customers. Now, more than 626 outlets later, Cinnabon has become the fastest-growing cinnamon roll bakery in the world.

In the early 90's Boston Chicken was rockin' it. The home meal replacement chain's stock was soaring and the lines were filled with hungry customers waiting to sink their teeth into a serving of the chain's delicious rotisserie chicken. So successful was the chain with chicken, that the company quickly decided it was time to introduce other entree selections, the first of which was a delicious barbecue sauce-covered ground sirloin meatloaf. But offering the other entrees presented the company with a dilemma: what to do about the name. The bigwigs decided it was time to change the name to Boston Market, to reflect a wider menu. That meant replacing signs on hundreds of units and retooling the marketing campaigns. That name change, plus rapid expansion of the chain and growth of other similar home-style meal concepts sent the company into a tailspin. By 1988, Boston Market's goose was cooked, and the company filed for bankruptcy. Soon McDonald's stepped in to purchase the company, with the idea of closing many of the stores for good, and slapping Golden Arches on the rest. But that plan was scrapped when, after selling many of the under-performing Boston Markets, the chain began to fly once again. Within a year of the acquisition Boston Market was profitable, and those meals with the home-cooked taste are still being served at over 700 Boston Market restaurants across the country.

How about some of those famous Boston Market side-dishes to go with your copycat meatloaf recipe? I've cloned all the best ones here.

Menu Description: "A creamy hot dip of artichokes, spinach and Parmesan with pasta chips."

Just about every aspect of the Olive Garden restaurants was developed from consumer research conducted in a corporate think tank by the General Mills Corporation. Restaurant-goers were questioned about preferences, such as the type of food to be served, the appearance and atmosphere of the restaurant, even the color of the candleholders on each table. The large tables and the comfy chairs on rollers that you see at the Olive Garden restaurants came out of those vigorous research sessions.

I'm not sure if this dish came from those sessions, but according to servers at the Olive Garden, the Hot Artichoke-Spinach Dip is one of the most requested appetizers on the menu. The restaurant serves the dip with chips made from fried pasta, but you can serve this version of the popular appetizer with just about any type of crackers, chips, or toasted Italian bread, like bruschetta.

I've cloned a ton of famous dishes from Olive Garden. See if I hacked your favorites here.

One hot summer day in 1946 Dave Barham was inspired to dip a hot dog into his mother's cornbread batter, then deep fry it to a golden brown. Dave soon found a quaint Santa Monica, California location near the beach to sell his new creation with mustard on the side and a tall glass of ice-cold lemonade. Be sure you find the shorter turkey hot dogs, not "bun-length". In this case size does matter. Snag some of the disposable wood chopsticks from a local Chinese or Japanese restaurant next time you're there and start dipping.

Update 5/3/17: If your hot dogs are browning too fast, turn the temperature of the oil down to 350 degrees. And rather than using chopsticks, thick round skewer sticks (corn dog skewers) found in houseware stores and online will work much better.

This recipe makes the same size appetizer serving that you get in the restaurant. That's only 6 shrimp—enough for me, but what are you guys having? Thank goodness the remoulade sauce and the shrimp seasoning formulas yield enough for a bigger serving, so you can grill up to a pound of shrimp with this recipe. Find bags of frozen uncooked shrimp that have been peeled, but with the tails left on.

Try more of my copycat recipes from Outback here.

Here's a dish from a rapidly growing Chinese food chain that should satisfy anyone who loves the famous marinated bourbon chicken found in food courts across America. The sauce is the whole thing here, and it's quick to make right on your own stove-top. Just fire up the barbecue or indoor grill for the chicken and whip up a little white rice to serve on the side. Panda Express - now 370 restaurants strong - is the fastest-growing Asian food chain in the world. You'll find these tasty little quick-service food outlets in supermarkets, casinos, sports arenas, college campuses, and malls across the country passing out free samples for the asking.

Menu Description: "Our famous Original cheesecake recipe! Creamy and light, baked in a graham cracker crust. Our most popular cheesecake!"

Oscar and Evelyn Overton's wholesale cheesecake company was successful quickly after it first started selling creamy cheesecakes like this clone to restaurant chains in the early 1970's. When some restaurants balked at the prices the company was charging for high-end desserts, Oscar and Evelyn's son David decided it was time to open his own restaurant, offering a wide variety of quality meal choices in huge portions, and, of course, the famous cheesecakes for dessert. Today the chain has over 87 stores across the country, and consistently ranks number one on the list of highest grossing single stores for a U.S. restaurant chain.

Baking your cheesecakes in a water bath is part of the secret to producing beautiful cheesecakes at home with a texture similar to those sold in the restaurant. The water surrounds your cheesecake to keep it moist as it cooks, and the moisture helps prevent ugly cracking. You'll start the oven very hot for just a short time, then crank it down to finish. I also suggest lining your cheesecake pan with parchment paper to help get the thing out of the pan when it's done without a hassle.

This recipe is so easy, even a 2-year old can make it. Check out the video.

More amazing Cheesecake Factory copycat recipes here.

Hope your crew is hungry because this recipe makes four Mexican Pizzas like those served at the Bell: seasoned ground beef and refried beans are sandwiched between two crispy flour tortillas, topped with melted cheddar cheese, salsa, diced tomato, and chopped green onion. Slice it like a pizza and serve it with a smile. Prepare to blow your diners away with this Taco Bell Mexican pizza recipe if they're at all familiar with the real thing.

Try some Diablo, hot, or mild sauce for that authentic Taco Bell experience.

They're the world's most famous French fries, responsible for one-third of all U.S. French fry sales, and many say they're the best. These fried spud strips are so popular that Burger King even changed its own recipe to better compete with the secret formula from Mickey D's. One-quarter of all meals served today in American restaurants come with fries a fact that thrills restaurateurs since fries are the most profitable menu item in the food industry. Proper preparation steps were developed by McDonald's to minimize in-store preparation time, while producing a fry that is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside. This clone requires a two-step frying process to replicate the same qualities: the fries are par-fried, frozen, then fried once more to crispy just before serving. Be sure to use a slicer to cut the fries for a consistent thickness (1/4-inch is perfect) and for a cooking result that will make them just like the real thing. As for the rumor that you must soak the fries in sugar water to help them turn golden brown, I also found that not to be necessary. If the potatoes have properly developed they contain enough sugar on their own to make a good clone with great color.

Now, how about a Big Mac or Quarter Pounder to go with those fries? Click here for a list of all my McDonald's copycat recipes.

The talented chefs at Benihana cook food on hibachi grills with flair and charisma, treating the preparation like a tiny stage show. They juggle salt and pepper shakers, trim food with lightning speed, and flip the shrimp and mushrooms perfectly onto serving plates or into their tall chef's hat.

One of the side dishes that everyone seems to love is the fried rice. At Benihana this dish is prepared by chefs with precooked rice on open hibachi grills, and is ordered a la cart to complement any Benihana entree, including Hibachi Steak and Chicken. I like when the rice is thrown onto the hot hibachi grill and seems to come alive as it sizzles and dances around like a bunch of little jumping beans. Okay, so I'm easily amused.

This Benihana Japanese fried rice recipe will go well with just about any Japanese entree and can be partially prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until the rest of the meal is close to done.

Menu Description: "Fresh vegetables, beans and pasta in a light tomato broth—a vegetarian classic."

This copycat Olive Garden minestrone soup recipe is jam-packed with beans, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, carrots, pasta, and spices but O.G.'s secret formula doesn't include chicken broth. Canned vegetable broth found in the soup aisle of most markets works as a base here in this secret formula that bursts with flavor as a purely vegetarian dish.

Check out my other Olive Garden copycat recipes here.

Outback makes their sauces and salad dressings from scratch every day following master formulas in a corporate cookbook. Now you've got a secret recipe of your own that will duplicate the taste of their hugely popular house honey mustard recipe. You'll need just three basic ingredients and only about two minutes of free time for this Outback honey mustard dressing recipe.

It was in 1995 that Starbucks stores started selling this frozen drink, one of the company's most successful new products. The Frappuccino is blended with strong coffee, sugar, a dairy base, and ice. Each one is made to order and each one is guaranteed to give you a throbbing brain freeze if you sip too hard. The drinks come in several different varieties, the most popular of which Ive cloned here for your frontal lobe-pounding, caffeine-buzzing pleasure.

Make double-strength coffee by measuring 2 tablespoons of ground coffee per cup serving in your coffee maker. The clone will be even more authentic if you use Starbucks beans and grind them yourself just before brewing.

Check out my Starbucks copycat recipes for more coffee drinks and baked goods here.

The packet of Taco Bell spices you buy in grocery stores makes delicious spicy beef for tacos, but don't expect it to taste exactly the same as the beef at the giant Mexican food chain. For a better clone, use this recipe. Once the meat is prepped, it's simple to build soft tacos the Taco Bell way using these steps. If you want crispy tacos, replace the soft flour tortillas with crunchy corn shells.

You won't find freezers, can openers, or microwave ovens at this national Mexican food chain. Since 1990 Baja Fresh has been serving up great food, made fresh with each order. As you're waiting for your food to come out, that's when you hit up the salsa bar, where you'll find several varieties of delicious fresh salsa, from hot to mild, ready to be spooned into little tubs that you can take to your table or to your car. One of the most popular selections is called Salsa Baja—its medium spiciness, smoky flavor, and deep black color make the salsa unique and mysterious. That is, until now, since I've got a Top Secret formula for you right here. But the recipe wasn't as easy to create as I first thought. I figured the tomatoes would have to be extremely blackened over a hot grill, but I wasn't sure how to get them dark enough to turn the salsa black without the tomatoes getting all mushy and falling apart on the barbecue.

So, I went back to Baja Fresh before they opened to peer through the window to see if I could catch some hot salsa production action. I waited and waited. After several hours as the lunch rush was beginning to wind down and no fresh salsa was in the pipeline, it was time for extreme measures to get things moving. I went in and ordered 30 tubs of Salsa Baja to go, and that did it. I ended up with a big bag filled with 2 gallons of salsa (thankfully they poured those 8-ounce portions into bigger bowls), and the restaurant went immediately into "salsa red alert" to replenished the now-dwindling salsa reserve. It was perfect. As I was grabbing my bag of salsa, a dude come out from the kitchen with a huge box of tomatoes and placed them all on the grill. I ordered a giant Diet Pepsi and parked myself at a close table to watch the process. That's when I discovered the secret. For super-charred tomatoes they start with firm, chilled tomatoes, that aren't too big or too ripe. I also found out that the tomatoes must start roasting on the grill with the stem-side down. The rest was simple.

In Zagat's 1995 New York City Restaurant Survey, Le Cirque 2000, one of the city's most upscale restaurants, received a 25 rating out of a possible 30. In the same guide, Al "The Soup Nazi" Yeganeh's Soup Kitchen International scored an impressive 27. That put the Soup Nazi's eatery in 14th place among the city's best restaurants for that year.

It was common to see lines stretching around the corner and down the block as hungry patrons waited for their cup of one of five daily hot soup selections. Most of the selections changed every day, but of the three days that I was there, the Mexican Chicken Chili recipe was always on the menu. The first two days it was sold out before I got to the front of the line. But on the last day I got lucky: "One extra-large Mexican Chicken Chili, please." Hand over money, move to the extreme left.

Here is a hack for what has become one of the Soup Nazi's most popular culinary masterpieces. If you like, you can substitute turkey breast for the chicken to make turkey chili, which was the soup George Costanza ordered on the show.

Update 1/9/17: Replace the 10 cups of water with 8 cups of chicken broth for a shorter simmer time and better flavor. I also like using El Pato tomato sauce (recipe calls for 1/2 cup) for a bit more heat.

Menu Description: "A true taste of the tropics. National award-winning recipe."

Many of the key lime pie recipes circulating, including the recipe found on bottles of key lime juice, have a glaring error: they don't make enough filling to fit properly into a standard 9-inch graham crust pie shell. That's probably because those recipes are designed around one 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk. But if we're going to make a beautifully thick key lime pie like the one served at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville restaurants we need to use something like 1 1/2 cans of sweetened condensed milk, or more accurately, two cups of the stuff. The clone recipe for the pie is a simple one that's for sure, with only four ingredients including the pie shell. But don't stop there. I'm also including a easy way to make mango sauce by reducing a couple cans of Kern's mango juice. And there's a raspberry sauce recipe here that's made easily with frozen raspberries. These two sauces are used to jazz up the plate at the restaurant and are certainly optional for your clone version, even though I've made them as easy as, um, you know.

The little red packets of viscous hot sauce at the fast food giant have a cult following of rabid fans who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on large quantities. One such fan of the sauce commented online, "Are there any Wendy's employees or managers out there who will mail me an entire case of Hot Chili Seasoning? I swear this is not a joke. I love the stuff. I tip extra cash to Wendy's workers to get big handfuls of the stuff." Well, there's really no need to tip any Wendy's employees, because now you can clone as much of the spicy sauce as you want in your own kitchen with this Top Secret Recipe.

The ingredients listed on the real Hot Chili Seasoning are water, corn syrup, salt, distilled vinegar, natural flavors, xanthan gum, and extractives of paprika. We'll use many of those same ingredients for our clone, but we'll substitute gelatin for the xanthan gum (a thickener) to get the slightly gooey consistency right. For the natural flavor and color we'll use cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, and garlic powder, then filter the particles out with a fine wire-mesh strainer after they've contributed what the sauce needs.

This recipe makes 5 ounces of sauce— just the right amount to fit nicely into a used hot sauce bottle—and costs just pennies to make.

Claim Jumper restaurants may only be found in the West, but the chain can claim national recognition for its delicious garlic cheese bread and toast. That's because you can find boxed loaves of the stuff ready for baking in the frozen food section of your well-stocked local supermarket. The recipe is such a simple one though, that it doesn't take much longer to make the cheesy goodness from scratch, and you save a few shekels to boot. Plus, it's nice to use fresh bread—your choice of either Texas toast or your favorite French loaf. The restaurant serves the Texas toast version, and the supermarket version is a French loaf. All you have to do for a clone is mix together a few basic ingredients, spread it generously on the bread of your choice, and pop it in the oven.

Click here for more of your favorite dishes from Claim Jumper!

Menu Description: "Our award-winning Baby Back Ribs are slow-roasted, then basted with Jim Beam Bourbon BBQ Sauce and finished on our Mesquite grill."

When your crew bites into these baby backs they'll savor meat so tender and juicy that it slides right off the bone. The slow braising cooks the ribs to perfection, while the quick grilling adds the finishing char and smoky flavor. But the most important component to any decent rack of ribs is a sauce that's filled with flavor, and this version of Roadhouse Grill's award-wining sauce is good stuff. I ordered the ribs naked (without sauce) so that I could see if there was any detectable rub added before cooking and I didn't find anything other than salt and a lot of coarse black pepper. So that's the way I designed the recipe, and it works.

Now, how about a copycat Roadhouse Grill Roadhouse Rita to wash down those ribs.

Menu Description: "Here they are in all their lip-smacking, award-winning glory: Buffalo, New York-style chicken wings spun in your favorite signature sauce."

Since Buffalo, New York was too far away, Jim Disbrow and Scott Lowery satisfied their overwhelming craving in 1981 by opening a spicy chicken wing restaurant close to home in Kent, Ohio. With signature sauces and a festive atmosphere, the chain has now evolved from a college campus sports bar with wings to a family restaurant with over 300 units. While frying chicken wings is no real secret—simply drop them in hot shortening for about 10 minutes—the delicious spicy sauces make the wings special. There are 12 varieties of sauce available to coat your crispy chicken parts at the chain, and I'm presenting clones for the more traditional flavors. These sauces are very thick, almost like dressing or dip, so we'll use an emulsifying technique that will ensure a creamy final product where the oil won't separate from the other ingredients. Here is the chicken wing cooking and coating technique, followed by clones for the most popular sauces: Spicy Garlic, Medium and Hot. The sauce recipes might look the same at first, but each has slight variations make your sauce hotter or milder by adjusting the level of cayenne pepper. You can find Frank's pepper sauce by the other hot sauces in your market. If you can't find that brand, you can also use Crystal Louisiana hot sauce.

Southern California—the birthplace of famous hamburgers from McDonalds, Carls Jr. and In-n-Out Burger—is home to another thriving burger chain that opened its first store in 1952. Lovie Yancey thought up the perfect name for the 1/3 pound burgers she sold at her Los Angeles burger joint: Fatburger. Now with over 41 units in California, Nevada, and moving into Washington and Arizona, Fatburger has become the food critic's favorite, winning "best burger in town" honors with regularity. The secret is the seasoned salt used on the beef patty. And there's no ketchup on the regular version, just mayo, mustard, and relish. Replace the ground beef with ground turkey and you've just cloned Fatburger's popular Turkeyburger.

Menu Description: "Nearly world-famous. Often imitated, hardly ever duplicated."

"Hooters is to chicken wings what McDonald's is to hamburgers," claims promotional material from the company. True, the six fun-loving Midwestern businessmen who started Hooters in Clearwater, Florida, on April Fool's Day in 1983 chose a classic recipe for chicken wings as their signature item. But while some might say it's the buffalo wings that are their favorite feature of the restaurant, others say it's the restaurant chain's trademark Hooters girls—waitresses casually attired in bright orange short-shorts and skin tight T-shirts.

Today there are over 375 Hooters across the United States serving more than 200 tons of chicken wings every week. The original dish can be ordered in 10-, 20-, or 50-piece servings or if you want to splurge, there's the "Gourmet Chicken Wing Dinner" featuring 20 wings and a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, for only $125. To further enhance the Hooters experience when you serve these messy wings, throw a whole roll of paper towels on the table, rather than napkins, as they do in the restaurants.

This super simple Chili's salsa recipe can be made in a pinch with a can of diced tomatoes, some canned jalapeños, fresh lime juice, onion, spices, and a food processor or blender. Plus you can easily double the recipe by sending in a larger 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes, and simply doubling up on all the other ingredients. Use this versatile salsa as a dip for tortilla chips or plop it down onto any dish that needs flavor assistance—from eggs to taco salads to wraps to fish. You can adjust the Chili's salsa recipe heat level to suit your taste by tweaking the amount of canned jalapeños in the mix.

Now, what's for dinner? Check out some copycat entrees from your favorite restaurants here.

Jerrico, Inc., the parent company for Long John Silver's Seafood Shoppes, got its start in 1929 as a six-stool hamburger stand called the White Tavern Shoppe. Jerrico was started by a man named Jerome Lederer, who watched Long John Silver's thirteen units dwindle in the shadow of World War II to just three units. Then, with determination, he began rebuilding. In 1946 Jerome launched a new restaurant called Jerry's and it was a booming success, with growth across the country. Then he took a chance on what would be his most successful venture in 1969, with the opening of the first Long John Silver's Fish 'n' Chips. The name was inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. In 1991 there were 1,450 Long John Silver Seafood Shoppes in thirty-seven states, Canada, and Singapore, with annual sales of more than $781 million. That means the company holds about 65 percent of the $1.2 billion quick-service seafood business.

Menu Description: "Lightly-dusted, stir-fried in a sweet Szechwan sauce."

The delicious sweet-and-spicy secret sauce is what makes this dish one of P. F. Chang's top picks. Once the sauce is finished all you have to do is saute your chicken and combine. You'll want to cook up some white or brown rice, like at the restaurant. If you can't find straight chili sauce for this recipe, the more common chili sauce with garlic in it will work just as well.

Check out my other P.F. Chang's clone recipes here.

For decades, Carl’s Jr. has effectively cornered the market on fried zucchini at major fast food chains by serving a great crispy breaded version that’s flavorful all the way through. Now you can make zucchini that tastes just as good, as long as you know the secret step that other fried zucchini recipes miss. It makes all the difference.

The secret is a brine. I found that this fried zucchini tastes best when it takes a salted water bath before breading. In 60 minutes, the salt in the brine is absorbed by the zucchini, spreading good flavor all the way through. After the brine, the zucchini is rinsed, coated twice with flour and once with seasoned breadcrumbs, and fried to a beautiful golden brown.

I’m giving you a couple choices here. You can make the recipe all the way through and serve it immediately, or if you want to serve it later, you can par-fry the zucchini and freeze it for several days. After that, when an occasion arises, a couple minutes is all it takes to finish off the dish and serve it. This recipe makes enough for a small gathering, but you can easily cut it in half for a more intimate hang.

Click here for more amazing Carl's Jr. copycat recipes.

Menu Description: "Meaty and spicy, served piping-hot with chopped onions, shredded cheddar, and a whole jalapeño."

When you're craving a big hot bowl of hearty chili to warm the bones and fill your belly make one that has become a classic. This hack of the Lone Star signature dish is easy-to-make, low in fat, and delicious. And if it's super brisk outside, you might want to add an additional tablespoon of diced jalapeño to the pot to aggressively stoke some internal flames.

Check out my other clone recipes for top dishes from Lone Star Steakhouse here.

Some say it's the best off-the-shelf barbecue sauce in the business. That secret combination of molasses, liquid smoke, and spices makes this stuff irresistible on chicken, ribs, or a juicy hamburger. Keep it fresh for your next cookout by whipping up your own home clone batch from scratch.

Try more famous copycat sauce recipes here.

Menu Description: "A delicious combination of ham and turkey, plus Swiss and American cheeses on wheat bread. Lightly battered and fried until golden. Dusted with powdered sugar and served with red raspberry preserves for dipping."

It sounds crazy, but it tastes great: a triple-decker ham, turkey, and cheese sandwich is dipped in a tempura-style batter fried to a golden brown then served with a dusting of powdered sugar and a side of raspberry preserves. For over ten years tons of cloning requests for this one have stacked up at TSR Central, so it was time for a road trip. There are no Bennigan's in Las Vegas, and since the Bennigan's chain made this sandwich famous, I headed out to the nearest Bennigan's in San Diego. Back home, with an ice chest full of original Monte Cristo sandwiches well-preserved and ready to work with, I was able to come up with this simple clone for a delicious sandwich that is crispy on the outside, and hot, but not greasy, on the inside (the batter prevents the shortening from penetrating). This recipe makes one sandwich, which may be enough for two. If you want to make more, you'll most likely have to make more batter so that any additional sandwiches get a real good dunking. Recently, Bennigan's restaurants across the country have been closing, but with this secret formula you can still experience the taste of the chain's signature sandwich.

As he worked long, hard days at a shipyard in Hingham, Massachusetts, during World War II, William Rosenberg was struck with an idea for a new kind of food service. As soon as the war ended, Rosenberg started Industrial Luncheon Services, a company that delivered fresh meals and snacks to factory workers. When Rosenberg realized that most of his business was in coffee and donuts, he quit offering his original service. He found an old awning store and converted it into a coffee-and-donut shop called The Open Kettle. This name was soon changed to the more familiar Dunkin' Donuts, and between 1950 and 1955 five more shops opened and thrived. The company later spread beyond the Boston area and has become the largest coffee-and-donut chain in the world.

Today, Dunkin' Donuts offers fifty-two varieties of donuts in each shop, but the most popular have always been the plain glazed and chocolate-glazed yeast donuts.

Popeyes Famous Fried Chicken and Biscuits has become the third-largest quick-service chicken chain in the world in the twenty-two years since its first store opened in New Orleans in 1972. (KFC has the number-one slot, followed by Church's Chicken). Since then, the chain has grown to 813 units, with many of them overseas in Germany, Japan, Jamaica, Honduras, Guam, and Korea.

Cayenne pepper and white pepper bring the heat to this crispy fried chicken hack.

Did you like this recipe? Get your hands on my secret recipe for Popeyes Chicken Sandwich and other Popeyes dishes here.

The automated process for creating Krispy Kreme doughnuts, developed in the 1950's, took the company many years to perfect. When you drive by your local Krispy Kreme store between 5:00 and 11:00 each day (both a.m. and p.m.) and see the "Hot Doughnuts Now" sign lit up, inside the store custom-made stainless steel machines are rolling. Doughnut batter is extruded into little doughnut shapes that ride up and down through a temperature and humidity controlled booth to activate the yeast. This creates the perfect amount of air in the dough that will yield a tender and fluffy finished product. When the doughnuts are perfectly puffed up, they're gently dumped into a moat of hot vegetable shortening where they float on one side until golden brown, and then the machine flips them over to cook the other side. When the doughnuts finish frying, they ride up a mesh conveyor belt and through a ribbon of white sugar glaze. If you're lucky enough to taste one of these doughnuts just as it comes around the corner from the glazing, you're in for a real treat—the warm circle of sweet doughy goodness practically melts in your mouth. It's this secret process that helped Krispy Kreme become the fastest-growing doughnut chain in the country.

As you can guess, the main ingredient in a Krispy Kreme doughnut is wheat flour, but there is also some added gluten, soy flour, malted barley flour, and modified food starch plus egg yolk, non-fat milk, flavoring, and yeast. I suspect a low-gluten flour, like cake flour, is probably used in the original mix to make the doughnuts tender, and then the manufacturer adds the additional gluten to give the doughnuts the perfect framework for rising. I tested many combinations of cake flour and wheat gluten, but found that the best texture resulted from cake flour combined with all-purpose flour. I also tried adding a little soy flour to the mix, but the soy gave the dough a strange taste and it didn't benefit the texture of the dough in any way. I excluded the malted barley flour and modified food starch from the Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut recipe since these are difficult ingredients to find. These exclusions didn't seem to matter because the real secret in making these doughnuts look and taste like the original lies primarily in careful handling of the dough.

The Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut recipe dough will be very sticky when first mixed together, and you should be careful not to over mix it or you will build up some tough gluten strands, and that will result in chewy doughnuts. You don't even need to touch the dough until it is finished with the first rising stage. After the dough rises for 30 to 45 minutes it will become easier to handle, but you will still need to flour your hands. Also, be sure to generously flour the surface you are working on when you gently roll out the dough for cutting. When each doughnut shape is cut from the dough, place it onto a small square of wax paper that has been lightly dusted with flour. Using wax paper will allow you to easily transport the doughnuts (after they rise) from the baking sheet to the hot shortening without deflating the dough. As long as you don't fry them too long—1 minute per side should be enough—you will have tender homemade doughnuts that will satisfy even the biggest Krispy Kreme fanatics.


4. Better Luck Tomorrow — Houston, Texas

"Without a doubt, chef Justin Yu's Party Melt burger is on top in Houston," Jordana Rothman, Food & Wine's restaurant editor, said. The James Beard Award-winning chef's burger consists of a beef patty that's topped with crispy broiled cheddar cheese, caramelized onions and thinly sliced red onions. Rothman also noted that the loosely ground beef is cooked in tallow (beef fat), and that the burger is served between thick slices of homemade bread that's made with Parmesan cheese, making it an umami-packed powerhouse.


National Burger Month Recipe: 25 Degrees' Number One Burger

May is National Burger Month, and we plan on celebrating accordingly. Throughout the upcoming weeks we'll be bringing you all sorts of coverage, from recipes to grilling tips to best-of lists.

The first recipe comes from 25 Degrees, the all-hours burger lounge which is run by Tim Goodell over at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Here's how their (appropriately named for our purposes) Number One Burger is made.

25 Degrees’ Number One burger
Serves 4

2 pounds of ground beef 80% lean/20% fat blend, formed into a patty
8 slices of apple wood smoked bacon
8 ounces Crescenza cheese
8 ounces Gorgonzola cheese
4 Brioche buns, or alternative artisanal bread, toasted
8 tablespoons 1000 Island dressing (see recipe below)
Handful of washed wild arugula

25 Degrees 1000 Island dressing
Serves 4

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 ounce pickles, minced
1/2 ounce shallots, minced
1 tablespoon of red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium high heat and coat with olive oil. In a bowl, combine beef and salt and pepper to taste to form four 5 inch patties. Cook patties for about 8-9 minutes in pan, flipping once, to desired doneness.

While burgers are cooking, place all the bacon in a skillet, cook for about 5 minutes on each side, reserve.

Just before patties are cooked, place the crescenza and gorgonzola cheese on top until melted. Remove from heat and let rest.

Mix ingredients for the 25 Degrees 1000 Island dressing in a bowl and set aside.

Halve the toasted Brioche buns then spread dressing on each side. Layer the bacon and arugula to complete the burger. Serve warm.


The 17 Most Influential Burgers of All Time

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The fictional Simpsons hangout was so popular, it became a real-life restaurant in 2013, when Universal Studios Orlando opened a Simpsons theme park. Ironically, menu staples like the Clogger Burger and the Mother Nature Burger&mdashdismissed as gross on the cartoon&mdashfetch over $10 in real life.

In October of 2014, Chicago heavy-metal-themed bar Kuma’s Corner launched one of the most outrageous burgers to date: the Ghost Burger&mdashit’s named after Swedish metal band Ghost B.C.&mdashwas topped with an unconsecrated Communion wafer. The dish sold well, but angered Catholics (and garnered national headlines), prompting the owners to donate $1,500 to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago.

The ordering lingo for this Atlanta staple, which debuted in 1928, is almost as delicious as the burger itself: you get it &ldquoall the way&rdquo in lieu of &ldquowith onions,&rdquo and &ldquowalk a steak&rdquo replaces &ldquoto-go.&rdquo These branding gimmicks were later replicated by burger chains like In-N-Out, whose secret menu (see: &ldquoanimal style&rdquo and “protein style”) has helped lure millions of customers.

Arguably the first &ldquomodernist cuisine&rdquo patty, the Umami Burger&mdashunveiled by Adam Fleischman in 2009&mdashis meant to taste like, well, umami (a savory taste embodied in MSG), incorporating such toppings as soy-roasted tomatoes, parmesan crisps and pickled ginger. The patty’s success has fueled the opening of 21 additional locations.

President Obama treated then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev to one of these patties in Arlington in 2010&mdashObama&rsquos was reportedly ordered plain, while Medvedev added jalapeños, mushrooms and onions. And the meal may have fostered intimacy between the two leaders: less than two years later, Obama was caught on a hot mic asking Medvedev for space on missile defense policy, explaining, &ldquoThis is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.&rdquo Medvedev was amenable.

This so-called hybrid burger&mdashtwo parts ramen, one part beef patty&mdashdrew vast crowds at the Smorgasburg outdoor food market in Brooklyn throughout the summer of 2013 (mere months after the cronut craze). Soon, the Keizo Shimamoto creation had enough hype to debut in L.A. and even inspired a knockoff in the Philippines, cementing its status as a global obsession. Alas, there’s no official ramen-burger restaurant yet&mdashwould-be tasters have to monitor its Facebook page to see where it’ll be served next.

The burger may be a mostly American creation, but many other countries have launched their own chains&mdashand burger variants&mdashto capitalize on its success. Among the most prominent: MOS (a.k.a. &ldquoMountain Ocean Sun&rdquo) Burger, which opened in Japan in 1972. Although its signature patty mimics the U.S. classic, other items are designed around Japanese tastes there&rsquos a teriyaki burger and a grilled salmon rice burger. Similar tactics have worked in other regions, too: in India, Nirula’s chain serves potato and mint patties in lieu of beef, and in Malaysia, Ramly Burger offers patties wrapped in an egg envelope inside the bun.

Although this twist on the cheeseburger&mdashin which the cheese is melted inside the patty&mdashwas reportedly invented in the 1920s, when chefs were still experimenting with the burger, it gained national attention in 2008, thanks to a feud between two Minneapolis bars that both claim to have “invented” it. Since then, there have been numerous imitators, proving that a little innovation and a dash of hype is all it takes to reinvigorate enthusiasm for a classic.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated the date of invention of the Jucy Lucy. It was put on the menu at Matt’s in 1954.

With global demand for meat expected to grow 60% by 2050, the amount of farmland and grain needed to feed those chickens, pigs and cows may be unsustainable. But this burger, which was unveiled last year by Mark Post of Maastricht University, has none of those hang-ups&mdashit&rsquos grown in a lab from cow stem cells, which means it may even be palatable for vegetarians. The only issue: for now, it carries a $325,000 price tag.

Jon Basso, owner of The Heart Attack Grill, has drawn national attention (and outrage) for his gluttonous offerings since the restaurant first opened in 2005, offering free meals for those over 350 pounds. His most notorious dish is this behemoth, which layers eight slices of cheese between four half-pound patties and clocks in at nearly 10,000 calories. One regular customer, a kind of spokesman for the restaurant, actually died in front of the Las Vegas eatery in 2013. The burger became an exemplar of the more-is-more burger culture, preceding a series of other gluttonous dishes including Paula Deen’s doughnut-encased Lady’s Brunch Burger.

The 2004 invention&mdashtopped with a tangy, secret-recipe ShackSauce&mdashwas the first burger to start a food craze, inspiring hordes of eaters to wait in lines that stretched throughout New York&rsquos Madison Square Park. And Danny Meyer’s decision to grind prime cuts of whole muscle, rather than scraps, completely transformed the way we think of burgers, according to Josh Capon, the four-time winner of New York&rsquos Burger Bash.

The original veggie burger was invented in 1981 at&mdashgo figure&mdashthe Gardenhouse, an Oregon vegetarian restaurant, and it consisted mainly of leftover vegetables and grains. Before long, it was the most popular item on the menu, living on even after the restaurant closed as a frozen-food item that was packaged and sold internationally. Today, the Gardenburger and its imitators, from MorningStar to Boca, have become mainstays at conscientious cook-outs nationwide.

The quarter-pound patty, introduced in 1957, was the fast food industry&rsquos first gimmick burger&mdashdeveloped as a premium alternative to McDonald&rsquos, Wendy&rsquos and others. Burger King&rsquos stunt inspired its competitors to create their own &ldquodeluxe&rdquo versions. Among them: the McDonald&rsquos Big Mac.

When the 21 Club introduced its gourmet burger in the late 1940s or early 1950s, New Yorkers were shocked that an upper-class establishment would offer something as lowly as the burger&mdashand at the exorbitant price of $2.75, compared with McDonald’s’ 15 cents. Nevertheless, it was a hit. &ldquoThe [higher quality] beef did make a difference,&rdquo says Andrew F. Smith, author of Hamburger: A Global History, &ldquoand it certainly was something very different than simply fast food.&rdquo The luxury burger has since become a mainstay at many higher-end restaurants, from Le Parker Meridien (a high-low offering in the lobby’s Burger Joint) to db Bistro Moderne (the truffle, foie gras and short ribs DB Burger) to Hubert Keller&rsquos (the foie gras-topped Fleur Burger, which costs $5,000 and is served with a bottle of 1995 Château Pétrus).

Whereas McDonald&rsquos focused on fast, In-N-Out focused on food&mdashits signature burger, which debuted in 1948, was made from locally sourced ground beef and fresh vegetables. That approach may have prevented In-N-Out&rsquos expansion (it has just 294 locations today, compared with McDonald&rsquos 34,000-plus), but it certainly hasn&rsquot dampened foodie enthusiasm: the In-N-Out burger routinely tops best-of burger lists, and has inspired the launch of other higher-end fast food chains, such as Five Guys.

Behold, the burger that Smith says &ldquomoved fast food from a small operation to a global operation.&rdquo The original McDonald&rsquos patty, which debuted in San Bernardino, Calif., spawned an empire that now spans 118 countries&mdashmaking the price of its beefier counterpart, the Big Mac, ubiquitous enough to serve as an informal measure of purchasing-power parity, as seen in The Economist&rsquos Big Mac index.


2. In-n-Out

A West Coast favorite, In-n-Out has some of the best burgers in the country. They're inexpensive, pretty fast and oh-so-delectable. If you've never experienced the magic of In-n-Out, the double-double is a great starter burger. Served on a freshly-baked bun, sink your teeth into two juicy patties topped with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and the chain's special spread.

#SpoonTip: Craving In-N-Out but stuck at home? You can easily make their animal-style fries at home.


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