Gallery: Staff Picks: Our Favorite Condiments for Burgers and Hot Dogs

  • Holy Triumvirate: Pickles + Onions + Tangy Spread

    While I like to keep each individual burger pretty simple, there are still a lot of things that have gone on my burgers from time to time. But the three things I consistently go back for, whether I'm at In-N-Out, Shake Shack, or just making a few burgers at home (not too common these days), is the holy burger triumverate of pickles, onions (grilled or pressed into the patty, if you prefer—sometimes I do), and a tangy spread. At home, that spread consists of mayo and ketchup mixed with some pickle relish and seasoned with vinegar and sugar (check out my In-N-Out clone recipe here. Ed Levine said to me last week that pickles make any sandwich better. Never do I find this more true than with a hamburger. J. Kenji López-Alt

    Mayo, Fried Onions

    Mayo, Fried Onions

    Mustard and Mayo Mix

    I've never met a condiment that I didn't like, but if I could only top my burger with one thing ever again, it would be a 50-50 mix of mayonnaise and Dijon mustard. It's got the fattiness of mayo and the acid of mustard - both necessary for optimal burger enjoyment. Carrie Vasios


    Ok, it's not exactly a condiment, but I like to mix a little ground lamb into my burger meat. Not enough to make it taste like lamb, but just enough to add extra flavor. This is inspired by the burger at Gabrielle Hamilton's Prune (pictured here). Maggie Hoffman



    Pickle relish, as well as thin-sliced pickles, are important on both burgers and dogs. Just look at my fridge—I always have pickles stocked. Ed Levine

    Caramelized Onions

    Caramelized onions. I love the way they cook down into something that's a little sweet and a little savory and gets totally embedded in melted cheese. In-n-Out's Animal-Style pretty much represents everything I want my onions to be: super-brown and caught in a delicious gooey matrix of American cheese melt. Carey Jones


    This question is extremely tough for me. I tend to get just as, if not more, excited about the condiments than whatever's underneath. Give me whole-grain mustard and caramelized onions and kraut, and...pretty soon I can hardly put the bun lid back on top. But if you made me choose just one (urgghh), I'd say relish. That balance of vinegar, salt, sugar, and crunch is all there. It's like a vinegary salad you can slather on top.

    Also, I'm a fan of the add-an-egg option on burgers, if eggs count as condiments. —Erin Zimmer

    Ketchup and Spicy Mustard

    Heinz Ketchup and spicy mustard. Since childhood I have put them on in equal amounts, then spun the dog until the condiments are underneath. This was required by my mom, so there was no spilling. I have maintained this practice and can confidently say I've never gotten ketchup or mustard on myself, EVER. Leandra Palermo

    Cole Slaw

    Stephanie Frey / Shutterstock

    My mother instilled in me a taste for Hebrew National hot dogs covered in cole slaw. The hot/cold salty/sweet combination is a summer classic in our family (and Hebrew National is the only acceptable brand in the Fishner household). Ben Fishner

    Mustards of all kinds

    If I have to choose one, I'll go with mustard. From salad dressings to sausages, mustard gives that extra kick separating a good dish from a great one. As for what specific kind, I refuse to pick a favorite. As I realized on a visit to the National Mustard Museum in Wisconsin, you can never have too many different kinds of mustard. Nick Kindelsperger

    Spicy Mayo

    I'm a sucker for chiles with my grilled meat, and I'm a slave to mayo at the condiments table. I like economy in my sauces, and something that tastes great on my burger, my fries, my pickles, and my spoon is my key to a happy patio cook-out. I'll take spicy mayo any way I can get it, but sambal oelek and harissa are my two favorite mayo mix-ins. Add a shot of pickle juice and I'm very, very happy. Max Falkowitz

    Cabbage concoctions

    For hot dogs I really prefer fresh cabbage concoctions like creamy slaw or Rutt's Hut relish, and being from Philadelphia I'm almost obligated to represent Pepper Hash: a super simple, fresh "relish" of cabbage, bell peppers and carrots. Give it a shot at Moe's, Hot Diggity or Mike's Truck at 24th & Passyunk. Hawk Krall

    Sriracha Mayo

    Just a few seconds of work to stir together Sriracha and mayo is rewarded with a sauce that's creamy, spicy, tangy, and garlicky. It's strong enough to hold its own against a big meaty burger patty, but doesn't overpower the beefiness you want. Get the recipe here. Josh Bousel

    Shack Sauce

    Favorite condiment for burgers would be Shack Sauce, and for hot dogs, well I'm always on Team Burger. Alaina Browne


    This tart chimichurri sauce is my favorite condiment of 2012. In fact, it's also my new favorite way to eat the leafy herb known as parsley, much thanks in part to our pantry staple friends garlic and red pepper flake. And our Sauced columnist Joshua Bousel, of course. Jessica Leibowitz