Comeback Sauce Is The Southern Staple You'll Slather On Everything

Comeback sauce with chicken and fries
Comeback sauce with chicken and fries - Facebook/Jay Bird's Chicken

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If you have roots in Mississippi, odds are you've heard of comeback sauce. This topping resembles Thousand Island, a creamy salad dressing with a tangy flavor. However, it packs a spicy kick that makes it unique. Comeback sauce typically starts with two main ingredients: mayonnaise and ketchup. It can also include Worcestershire sauce, garlic, onion, and mustard. The spicy component can come from either chili sauce or hot sauce.

Each of the ingredients serves an essential purpose. The ketchup provides sweetness, while the mayonnaise lends the sauce its creamy texture. Worcestershire sauce adds flavor, much like salt and other seasonings. Some recipes even call for honey because it ties the contrasting flavors together.

Though not entirely similar, many people liken comeback sauce to Raising Cane's sauce or Chick-fil-A sauce. Both sauces fit the description, as they're creamy, tangy, savory, and smoky. These sauces are tailored for chicken, which leads to the next question: What is comeback sauce used for?

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Common Uses Of Comeback Sauce

Onion rings
Onion rings - Gmvozd/Getty Images

Comeback sauce was originally made for salads, and many people still use it as a way to spruce up leafy greens. However, its uses have expanded to include a large variety of foods. Oftentimes, it's used as a dipping sauce for fried foods such as chicken nuggets and tenders, onion rings, and fish. It's also commonly paired with french fries.

All in all, the sauce is pretty versatile. Mississippi locals use it on just about everything. "Growing up in Mississippi, we dipped crackers in it, put it on salads, fish, shrimp, [and] fried green tomatoes," television Chef Cat Cora wrote in an email to The New York Times.

Sometimes, social media users share the unique ways they incorporate it. In a June 2023 Reddit thread, one poster created homemade comeback sauce to pair with cheese sliders and fries. In another thread, a Redditor claimed to have tried comeback sauce at their local Arby's. After trying it with chicken, they concluded that it would be a good topping for a sandwich. "[I] might swap honey mustard for [comeback sauce] on a chicken bacon Swiss sometime," they wrote. This ketchup and mayonnaise-based wonder can be used on just about anything.

The History Of The Mississippi Staple

Fried chicken in a basket
Fried chicken in a basket - Jupiterimages/Getty Images

If you're a fan of comeback sauce, there's one Jackson, Mississippi restaurant to thank. In 1935, The Rotisserie, a local restaurant owned by Greek immigrants, invented the sauce as its house salad dressing. (Another theory that the sauce debuted at Jackson's Mayflower Café was squashed in 2016.) Owner Alex Dennery called his creation Kum-Bak sauce, joking that once customers tried the dressing, they would come back for more. Its name also refers to the way locals say their goodbyes. Often, Mississippians substitute "goodbye" with "y'all come back." Sadly, The Rotisserie is long gone, but its memory lives on with the iconic sauce.

Although unlikely, this Mediterranean sauce rose to become a mainstay at nearly every Mississippi eatery. It has also become an essential pairing for dishes such as Mississippi chicken, leading food writer Robert St. John to tout comeback sauce as "the Queen Mother of all Mississippi condiments."

Where To Find Comeback Sauce

Comeback sauce
Comeback sauce - Fanfo/Shutterstock

The simplest way to acquire authentic comeback sauce is to visit Mississippi. Of course, this isn't realistic for the majority of people. Another option would be to make it at home, which requires ketchup, mayonnaise, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and onion, among other ingredients, depending on the recipe. However, if you're looking for simplicity, there are plenty of places online where you can purchase sauce that's equal to the real deal.

Duke's Mississippi Comeback Southern Sauce, available on Amazon, has received high marks from people who grew up in the area. "I'm a Mississippi guy born and raised ... it's so very close [to the locally made sauce], and it's absolutely amazing," read one review. Another website, Crooked Letter, sells bottled Mississippi Comeback Sauce for about $9. The website's description describes it as "classic comeback sauce with a French twist," though there still aren't any reviews to validate these claims.

Read the original article on Mashed.