Big Boy Double-Decker Hamburger Classic copycat recipe by Todd Wilbur
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Big Boy Double-Decker Hamburger Classic

Score: 3.67. Votes: 6
In stock (1 item available)
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Menu Description: "1/4 pound of 100% pure beef in two patties with American cheese, crisp lettuce and our special sauce on a sesame seed bun."

Bob Wian's little ten-stool diner, Bob's Pantry, was in business only a short time in Glendale, California, before establishing a following of regular customers—among them the band members from Chuck Fosters Orchestra. One February night in 1937, the band came by after a gig as they often did to order a round of burgers. In a playful mood, bass player Stewie Strange sat down on a stool and uttered, "How about something different for a change, Bob?" Bob thought it might be funny to play along and serve up Stewie a burger he could barely get his mouth around. So Bob cut a bun into three slices, rather than the usual two, and stacked on two hamburger patties along with lettuce, cheese, and his special sauce. When Stewie tasted the huge sandwich and loved it, every band member wanted his own!

Just a few days later, a plump little six-year old named Richard Woodruff came into the diner and charmed Bob into letting him do odd jobs in exchange for a burger or two. He often wore baggie overalls and had an appetite that forced the affectionate nickname "Fat Boy". Bob thought it was the perfect name for his new burger, except the name was already being used as a trademark for another product. So the name of the new burger, along with Bob's booming chain of restaurants, was changed to "Big Boy." The company's tradename Big Boy character is from a cartoonists napkin sketch of "fat boy," little Richard Woodruff.

The Big Boy hamburger was the first of the double-decker hamburgers. McDonald's Big Mac, the world's best-known burger that came more than 30 years later, was inspired by Bob Wian's original creation. See if you can get your mouth around it. 

Check out my other Big Boy copycat recipes here

Source: Top Secret Restaurant Recipes by Todd Wilbur.

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Get This

  • 1/4 pound ground beef
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon relish
  • 1 teaspoon ketchup
  • 1 sesame seed hamburger bun
  • Top half of additional hamburger bun
  • Salt
  • 1/4 cup shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • Do This
    • Restaurant/Brand
      Big Boy
    • Instructions

      1. Prepare the hamburger patties by dividing the beef in half and pressing each 1/8 pound of beef into a round patty that measures approximately 4 inches across. Because these patties are so thin, you may find them easier to cook if you press them out on wax paper, and freeze them first. You may want to make several of these patties at once when you first purchase the ground beef, then cook them as you need them.

      2. Combine the mayonnaise, relish, and ketchup in a small cup or bowl. This is the "secret sauce."

      3. Use a serrated knife to cut the top off the extra bun. You want to leave about a 1/2-inch, double-faced slice.

      4. Toast the faces of the buns on a griddle or in a frying pan over medium heat.

      5. When the buns are toasted, use the same pan to cook the beef patties. Cook the patties for about 2 minutes per side or until done, being sure to lightly salt each patty.

      6. Build the burger by spreading half of the sauce on a face of the middle bun, and the other half on the face of the bottom bun.

      7. Stack the lettuce on the sauce of the bottom bun.

      8. Stack the cheese on the lettuce.

      9. Place one beef patty on the cheese.

      10. The middle bun goes next with the sauce-coated side facing up.

      11. Stack the other beef patty on the middle bun.

      12. Finish the burger off with the top bun. You can microwave the burger for 10 to 15 seconds if you want to warm up the buns. 

      Makes 1 hamburger.

Average rating:

Score: 3.67. Votes: 6
Rating of votes (6)
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Mar 18, 2016, 22:00

As others have noted...there were different versions depending on the state the franchisee was in. In my home state of Michigan, it was Elias Bros, and they used the 1000 Island, In Ohio it was Fisches and they used a Roquefort type sauce, and then off course the original Bob's in California where they used the relish. My preference is the one I grew up on, in MI...the 1000 Island version.

Jun 20, 2013, 22:00

I was eating the big boy since the early 70's in arizona and they always used 100 island dressing. The burger Recipe was very good. It has been a long time since one.

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.

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