Copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce

I am definitely not one of those that thinks everything needs to be made from scratch. But that being said, I do enjoy the challenge and reward of making something that is a good copycat of something I can buy in my grocery store. Like this copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce. I was making a big ole batch of smoked pork when I realized I didn’t have a sauce on hand. Well, in no time at all I whipped this great sauce together. It has the right consistency, just like the ‘real’ stuff. And it has that (nearly) same great flavor.
Copycat Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

The great thing about making your own copycat Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce is that you can customize it for your tastes. Want it a bit more smokey? Add a tad bit (a very small tad bit) of liquid smoke. Maybe (like me) you want a bit of spiciness? Add more cayenne pepper or a few (long) shakes of hot sauce. Thinner? Stir in some water. Thicker? Don’t add as much water. Make it your own. I did.

Also try my copycat Dreamland BBQ sauce.

Copycat Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce

Course BBQ Sauce
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 cups
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice or apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons cold water optional
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch optional

Instructions

  • Stir together all ingredients except for the water and corn starch in a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the brown sugar has dissolved.
  • If you want a thicker sauce, combine the water and corn starch in a small glass and slowly stir in to the sauce. Continue to simmer until the desired thickness is achieved.
  • If the sauce gets too thick add water, a very little bit at a time, and stir.

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

These copycat KFC potato wedges could easily be the most dangerous side dish ever made. There’s no way you could make too many of these. There’s no way you’d ever have any leftovers. They are absolutely divinely yummy. Crunchy on the outside. Creamy on the inside. Absolutely packed with flavor.

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

Trust me, serving ketchup or any other dipping sauce with these copycat KFC potato wedges is just about a waste of time. They’re delicious right off the plate, nothing added. They are by far my favorite potato side, and that’s saying a lot because up until now I dreamed about baked potatoes almost nightly. Well, they’ve been replaced with these wedges. Sorry, bakers.

Don’t forget to also make my copycat KFC bean salad!

Copycat KFC Potato Wedges

Course Side or Appetizer
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds Russet potatoes rinsed, patted dry
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning optional, but recommended
  • oil for frying

Instructions

  • In a small bowl or pie plate whisk together the milk and egg.
  • In another small bowl or pie plate, whisk together the flour, salt, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper and poultry seasoning, if using.
  • Cut the potatoes into wedges. You want the wedges to be thin and uniform. Try to cut them so they are 3/8" in thickness at the center.
  • Lay a wire rack on top of a large baking sheet.
  • Working in small batches, dip the potatoes first into the flour mixture, then into the milk mixture, and back into the flour again. Transfer to the wire rack.
  • After all of the potatoes have been dredged let them dry for at least 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil to 350 F.
  • Working in batches, fry the potatoes for 5-6 minutes. They will not be quite done or golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to drain.
  • Once all of the potatoes have been fried the first time, fry them again, but this time for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown and crunch delicious. Transfer to a rack to drain and cool slightly.

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

I am a big huge fan of vinegary bean salads. My mom’s recipe is one of my all-time favorites. This copycat of the bean salad you used to be able to get at KFC is just as good as mom’s, if not better. It’s dangerously similar, but with a twist: green bell pepper. Well, you could’ve knocked me down with a feather. How was I to know how much that lil old bell pepper would add to this salad?

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

This recipe for a copycat KFC bean salad makes a decent-sized batch. Good enough for a family get-together. And it’ll hold up in the heat for a bit too. But it won’t last anyways, because everyone is going to love it. I sure did.

Don’t forget to also make my copycat KFC potato wedges!

Copycat KFC Bean Salad

Course Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Servings 14
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 16 ounce can cut green beans
  • 16 ounce can wax beans
  • 16 ounce can kidney beans light or dark
  • 1 medium green bell pepper chopped
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Place the beans in a large colander. Rinse and drain well.
  • Transfer beans to a resealable container. Add the bell pepper and onion.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the oil, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
  • Add the oil mixture to the beans and stir gently. Cover and refrigerate 12 hours.
  • Toss gently before serving.

Copycat Max and Erma’s Santa Fe Chicken Salad

There’s a Max and Erma’s restaurant right next door to the Premium Outlet Mall in Edinburgh, Indiana. We make it a point to stop by for lunch or dinner there whenever we can. Plus, you get to sit while you eat and after a few hours at the mall, you need that. Nine times out of ten I order the Santa Fe chicken salad. It’s a huge salad, with just the right toppings, and really, really good chicken. And when I’m not at the outlet mall, I can make a pretty darned good copycat of the same salad at home without a lot of fuss.
Copycat Max and Erma's Santa Fe Chicken Salad

You can substitute chicken tenders for the chicken breast if you wish. I like my chicken a bit spicy so I load up on the hot sauce. Feel free to adjust to your taste. The chicken itself is outstanding.

To get the fancy dressing swirls on my copycat Max and Erma’s Santa Fe chicken salad I put some Ranch in a squeeze bottle with three nozzles and go to town on it. Hey, it’s fun.


Also try my Southern Fried chicken salad.

Copycat Max and Erma's Santa Fe Chicken Salad

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the salad

  • Your favorite greens iceberg, green leaf, and/or red leaf lettuce, rinsed and patted dry
  • Fried chicken, from below
  • shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  • tomatoes chopped or sliced
  • fried tortilla strips
  • Ranch dressing

For the fried chicken

  • 2 small boneless skinless chicken breasts or 1 large
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • hot sauce to taste
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

For the salad

  • Divide lettuce between two large plates. Add the chicken, cheeses, tomatoes, and tortilla strips.
  • Drizzle with Ranch dressing and serve.

For the fried chicken

  • Cut the chicken into small bite-sized pieces or strips, as desired. Transfer to a bowl or pie pan.
  • Stir in the buttermilk and hot sauce. Let marinate for 15 minutes, turning every 5 minutes.
  • Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, chipotle chile powder, oregano and cumin and place into another pie pan.
  • Heat 2" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Working in batches, remove chicken from the buttermilk. Shake off the excess and then coat well in the flour mixture. Return the chicken pieces to the buttermilk and turn to coat. Shake off the excess and again coat in the flour mixture.
  • Fry 4-5 minutes per side until golden brown, turning once.
  • Remove to a wire rack or paper towel-lined to cool slightly and drain.

Copycat Burger King Whopper

My fast food dining days are pretty much behind me. Oh I might stop and grab something every once-in-a-while, specially if I’m traveling. I still crave some of my fast food favorites, but now I’m more a make-it-at-home kinda guy. So that’s how we ended up here, with a copycat of my favorite chain burger, the Burger King Whopper (although truth be told, McDonald’s Quarter Pounder and BigMac are close behind on the list!).

Copycat Burger King Whopper

I like to cook my copycat Burger King Whoppers on a flat top griddle on my grill. I get the griddle hot, screaming hot, first. That gives me that little char, that little crunch around the edges. And of course cooking on the grill gives you that char-grilled flavor just like at the restaurant!

If you don’t have a grill cook the burgers in a hot skillet!

Also try my copycat of McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with Cheese.

Copycat Burger King Whopper

Course Main
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 4 sesame-seed hamburger buns
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter melted
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt I prefer a little more
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper I prefer a little more
  • 4 slices American cheese optional
  • 12 dill pickle slices divided
  • 2 slices white onion separated into 8 rings, divided
  • 2 small tomatoes cut into 8 slices, divided
  • 4 teaspoon ketchup divided (just eyeball it)
  • 1 cup chopped iceberg lettuce divided
  • 8 teaspoons mayonnaise divided (just eyeball it)

Instructions

  • Heat a skillet, grill pan or flat top griddle over high heat.
  • Brush butter on buns and toast until lightly browned.
  • Season the meat with salt and pepper and form into thin patties. Cook 2-3 minutes per side, not flipping until you get a nice crust.
  • To assemble the burgers, place the patties on the bun bottoms.
  • Add the pickle, onion and tomato slices.
  • Add a good squirt of ketchup.
  • Add the shredded lettuce. Spread mayonnaise on bun top and serve.

Copycat Chili’s Crispy Shrimp

This is how to fry up some shrimp. The perfect batter, with the perfect consistency and flavor. Not too light and not too heavy. And perfectly crunchy. And the best part of this copycat Chili’s crispy shrimp? You can still taste the shrimp. Don’t mess with perfection, follow the recipe as it is and you’ll (very) soon be enjoying fantastic shrimp.
Copycat Chili's Crispy Shrimp

The first time I made a copycat Chili’s crispy shrimp, Anita took one bite and immediately said that I don’t need to fry shrimp in any other way. Ever again. She also told me to not change anything about it. I tend to do that. You know. A little tweak here. A little something more or less there. Nope, not with these shrimp.

Also try my copycat of Applebee’s peppercorn and garlic shrimp.

Copycat Chili's Crispy Shrimp

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2 pounds

Ingredients

For the shrimp

  • 2 pounds large shrimp peeled, deveined (I use 21-25 count shrimp and leave the tails on)
  • Oil for frying
  • Corn Flakes crumbs

For the batter

  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 6 egg whites
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

Instructions

  • Heat at least 3" of oil to 350 F in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
  • Place the Corn Flakes crumbs in a shallow bowl.
  • Place all of the batter ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk until smooth.
  • Working in batches, coat the shrimp in the batter. Shake off any excess and then roll in the crumbs.
  • Fry 2-3 minutes until golden brown, turning once.

Copycat Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern Burger

What’s better than onions on a burger? Why, onion straws of course! And what’s better than ketchup on a burger? Why, Campfire sauce of course! Put the two on a hot-off-the-grill patty with good ole American cheese and you don’t have to call me twice for dinner. This copycat of Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern burger is mighty good stuff. Now, when you order it at the restaurant you usually get a double. I made mine a single. In hindsight I’m not sure why because one patty was great, but two would’ve been better!

Copycat Red Robin's Haystack Tavern Burger

You might have a bit of the Campfire left after you make your copycat Red Robin Haystack Tavern burgers. That’s a good thing. Slather it on sandwiches. Dip some fries in it. Put it on hot dogs.

I recommend making a few extra onion straws. Half of them won’t last long enough to make it to the burgers. Oh, and they’re great dipped in the Campfire sauce too!

Also try my copycat of Red Robin’s Royal Red Robin burger.

Copycat Red Robin’s Haystack Tavern Burger

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

For the burgers

  • 8 hamburger patties or 4 if making singles
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 8 slices American cheese or 4 if making singles
  • 4 sesame seed hamburger buns
  • Campfire sauce from below, to taste
  • onion straws from below

For the Campfire sauce

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Hickory BBQ sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

For the onion straws

  • 1 large sweet onion skinned, halved, sliced thin
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons blackened seasoning or substitute Creole seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

For the burgers

  • Season the patties with salt and pepper and cook as desired. Top with cheese.
  • Toast the buns if desired.
  • Slather the insides of the buns with the Campfire sauce.
  • Add onion straws to bun bottoms. Add patties and top buns and serve.

For the Campfire sauce

  • Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to use.

For the onion straws

  • Place onion rings in a bowl. Add buttermilk to cover.
  • Heat oil to 350 F.
  • In a resealable container or bag add the flour, seasoning and salt. Shake to combine.
  • Working in very small batches so as to not have the onion straws stick together, take a few onions out of the buttermilk and shake off the excess.
  • Add to the flour mixture, seal and shake to coat.
  • Transfer to the hot oil and deep fry until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate or wire rack to drain.

Copycat Red Robin BLTA

Who doesn’t love a BLT sandwich? It screams summer, with ripe tomatoes and crunchy lettuce. Add avocado and you get a copycat of Red Robin’s BLTA. That’s bacon, lettuce, tomato and of course… avocado! The addition of avocado really takes the classic sandwich to a new, wonderful, place. And serving it on a sweet, pillowy croissant is the way to go.
Copycat Red Robin BLTA

If you’re missing a little heat in your copycat Red Robin BLTA, mix a teaspoon or two of adobo sauce in with the mayonnaise. You don’t want to go crazy with it, but a little spiciness will offset the sweet bread and avocado perfectly. It also adds a bit more smokiness, helping that wonderful bacon smoke along a bit.

Also try my copycat Jason’s Deli California Club sandwich.

Copycat Red Robin BLTA

Course Appetizer or Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Servings 2 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 2 large croissants
  • mayonnaise to taste
  • 6 slices turkey breast sandwich meat
  • 4 slices bacon cooked until crisp
  • 1/2 avocado sliced
  • 2 leaves green lettuce
  • 1 tomato sliced

Instructions

  • Slice croissants in half. Slather with the mayonnaise.
  • Add turkey, bacon, avocado, lettuce and tomato. Serve.

Copycat Captain D’s Batter Dipped Fish

I’m a big fan of battered fried fish. Add in some fries, a side of tartar sauce, and give me a bottle of malt vinegar and I’m one happy guy. This copycat of Captain D’s batter dipped fish checks all my boxes. Slightly crunchy. Tasty. Oh, and easy. Crazy easy. This is just like the great fish you can get at the restaurant.
Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

I use a little FryDaddy when I cook my copycat Captain D’s batter dipped fish. It’s perfect for small pieces of fish and it heats the oil to the perfect temperature. But for larger pieces or when making dinner for more than just a few people, I use a Dutch oven or a bigger deep fryer.

No matter what you use to cook your fish, make sure that you don’t overcook it. The fish will dry out and not be good at all. Also make sure you get the oil temperature high enough. Low temperatures won’t cook the fish correctly. Low oil temperature will also saturate the fish with oil. That’s not good either.

Also try my copycat Long John Silver’s fish-and-chips!

Copycat Captain D's Batter Dipped Fish

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil or canola oil, for frying
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt plus more, for sprinkling
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups water plus more, if needed
  • 2 pounds cod fillets cut into bite-sized chunks if desired

Instructions

  • Heat 3" of oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 350 F.
  • In a large bowl add the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, salt and cayenne. Whisk to combine.
  • Slowly whisk in the water. You want a pancake-like batter. If it's too thick add a bit (a very small bit!) more water and whisk.
  • Rinse and pat the fish dry. I prefer to cut mine into bite-sized pieces.
  • Working in batches, add the fish to the batter and turn to coat completely. Transfer to the oil and deep fry 3-4 minutes, turning once, until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. If desired, sprinkle the fish with salt.

Notes

Note: If you like to cut your fish into bite-sized pieces before frying, you might need more batter to fully coat them. I usually double the batter ingredients just to make sure I have enough.

Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

I ate my share of Manwich Sloppy Joes as a kid. I was quite sure I never ate enough of them. Well, I can certainly make up for lost time (and meals) now by making this copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes at home. And you know what? It’s even better than I remember. Perfect thick tomato-y sauce. Just a hint of onion and green bell pepper. And the light tang of mustard. And messy. The messier the better!
Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

I do not add garnish to my copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes. Nothing. Nada. No pickles. Skip the extra mustard. And no cheese. Nothing needs to come between me and my Sloppy Joes.

If you think of Sloppy Joes as ‘kid food’ this will change your mind.

Also try my Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes.

Copycat Manwich Sloppy Joes

Course Main
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 tablespoon green bell pepper chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • You favorite toppings, optional shredded cheddar cheese, dill pickles, more prepared mustard

Instructions

  • Crumble the beef into a large skillet over medium-high heat and saute until browned.
  • Drain any fat and add the remaining ingredients except the buns and garnishes.
  • Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a slow simmer and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Toast the buns as desired.
  • Serve buns topped with Sloppy Joe mixture and garnishes.

Notes

I highly recommend doubling this recipe because it goes fast.