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Swensons Galley Boy | Represent Your Region

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Swensons Galley Boy | Represent Your Region

This week's challenge is to represent your region! I had a tough time deciding what I wanted to make, because I had a tough time deciding what region of Ohio I wanted to declare myself from. I grew up in Dayton, went to college in Athens, and currently live in Akron. Of those places, only one food screamed out to me as unique to its region - and that was Akron's famous Galley Boy from Swensons.

You'd be hard pressed to find an Akronite that hasn't at least tried the incredible Galley Boy with not one, but TWO secret sauces. In fact, the Galley Boy was actually the very first thing I tried when we first moved to Akron a few years ago. And the fact that our new home literally has a Swensons at the end of our driveway does nothing but fuel my obsession for this place.

Seriously, I walked to the end of my complex's driveway and this is what I see. Every day. And every day that parking lot is full, despite the McDonald's located across the street, which is clearly selling the subpar burgers on this corner.

I had to pick up a Galley Boy earlier this week, for, uh, science. And all of this thinking about Galley Boys made me crave the real deal. It comes wrapped like a foil present topped with an olive. True fans of Swensons know that the potato teezers are also a superior side over fries, so I had to make some of those too!

Galley Boys have a lot going on for them - served on a buttered, toasted bun, this double-pattied burger is smothered in two secret sauces that resemble tartar sauce and barbecue sauce, which sounds like a weird combination until you try it. Then you'll wonder why you never thought of it before. I decided to do some investigative blogging and deduce what the secret sauces actually are by sneakily asking politely for an extra side of sauces when I ordered. They didn't question it at all.

The one on the left is definitely a take on tartar sauce, the major difference being it has more of a tangy from using dill pickles rather than sweet relish. Appears to use a mayo base and onions too. The one on the right has a smokey barbecue flavor and a hint of sweetness, followed with just a hint (a whisper) of heat.

My best guesses led me to try to recreate the original recipe from scratch. I think next time I will use Miracle Whip instead of mayonnaise and a squirt of mustard instead of dry mustard though. Either way, once I made these sauces, I tasted them against the extra sauces and was given the seal of "Close Enough" by my boyfriend.

One important thing about recreating Swensons burgers, in general, are pretty sweet in flavor, so mix in the brown sugar as throughly as you can.

The sauces took some testing and playing with flavors too, but in the end, I think I got pretty close. I think next time, I'll let them set for a few hours for a better consistency, or possibly add a pinch of cornstarch. But I was in a rush, and I was starving.

Mix together the ingredients for the tartar sauce. Tasting the sauces side-by-side, Swensons' has more of a Miracle Whip hint to it than mine did, made with just the regular mayonnaise.

Using ketchup, with a squirt of mustard, as a base for the barbecue style sauce is key to the consistency in this sauce as well. You'll also want to get the patties nice and thin before tossing them onto a hot skillet to fry for about 3-4 minutes per side. You want them to be nice and round so they fit on the buns.

While your burgers cook, butter the bottoms of each bun and toast for a few seconds under the broiler. Serve the burger as a double patty, with Velveeta American cheese slices, both secret sauces, and an olive on top! I also made some potato teezers that were deemed "better than the original" in a poll of one person, my boyfriend. But hey, that's something!

While there are definitely some discernible differences between my recipe and the real deal - this recipe is certainly just as good when you're in the need for a quick fix. I'll be tucking this recipe away for when we move from Akron and feel reminiscent of our time here, that's for sure.

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Swensons Galley Boy | Represent Your Region

Burger Patties

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  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • fresh sweet burger buns, buttered and toasted, for serving

Secret Sauce #1 (Tartar Sauce?)

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  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise OR Miracle Whip
  • 2 tablespoons dill pickle relish OR finely chopped dill pickles
  • 1 teaspoon dill pickle juice
  • 2 tablespoons white onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar

Secret Sauce #2 (Barbecue Sauce?)

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  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons golden molasses
  • 2 tablespoons taco sauce
  • 1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Here's How:

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  1. Mix together the ingredients for secret sauce #1 in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 1 hour.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for secret sauce #2 in separate small bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to serving.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef and brown sugar, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine until the brown sugar is completely incorporated into the beef.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Divide the beef into 4 even parts, round, and flatten each into 1/4 inch thick patties.
  5. Sear on each side for 3-4 minutes until cooked to desired doneness (I prefer medium rare, while Swensons leans more towards well done).
  6. Serve as a double patty on toasted sweet buns alongside homemade potato teezers. Enjoy!

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