Comeback Sauce

John Currence

City Grocery, Oxford, MS

"All hail the Greeks of the Deep South. One of the larger groups of Greek immigrants to hit the South settled in north central Alabama to work in the mining and steel industries that fueled the local economy in the early and middle parts of the twentieth century. As the steel market softened and/or folks started to migrate out of it, Greek families began setting up restaurants in and around Birmingham. Bright Star, Johnny’s, and Niki’s were all stalwarts in that community. As families grew, movement became inevitable, and a number of those families ended up moving west to Jackson, Mississippi. The Mayflower, Primos, Dennery’s, and Crechale’s were all part of those families’ legacies. Out of them sprang comeback sauce. From a culinary standpoint, comeback sauce is one of the very few things that Mississippians can claim as their own, and it is remarkable. It goes great on fried pickles, fish, shrimp, and chicken or drizzled over a salad. We use it on our Croque Monsieur and as a sandwich dressing regularly. It is also great for french fries. So just make a little and keep it in the fridge. It’s kinda good for everything."

Reprinted with permission from Big Bad Breakfast by John Currence, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.


3/4 cup ketchup 
3/4 cup mayonnaise, homemade or your preferred brand 
1/4 cup Heinz Chili Sauce 
2 tablespoons grated yellow onion and its juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 
3/4 tablespoon minced garlic 
1 teaspoon mustard powder 
1 teaspoon paprika 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
2 tablespoons olive oil 


In a food processor, combine the ketchup, mayonnaise, chili sauce, onion and its juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire, garlic, mustard powder, paprika, black pepper, and salt and process until combined, about 20 seconds. With the food processor running, drizzle in the oil and process until fully combined, about 20 seconds more. Store in a plastic or glass container and refrigerate for up to 10 days.


2 cups