Bob’s Big Boy Red Relish Clone

Mark Perkins


Bob's Big Boy restaurants on the West coast / Southern California area were the only ones that had the red relish.

The stuff was OK the first few times, then before you know it, it had you hooked like crack!

It has been more than twenty years now.

I have been trying for years to come up with a homemade red-relish recipe that tasted the way I remember Bob's. I think I have finally succeeded, and I wanted to share it here with you good people out of the burgerness of my heart. As of this posting, this recipe is not posted ANYWHERE else on the net!

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About 7 pints


24 Hr


2 Hr




2 c
cucumbers, roughly chopped
onion, roughly chopped
green pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
red pepper, seeded and roughly chopped
stalk celery, roughly chopped
2 Tbsp
kosher salt (or 1 tbsp pickling salt)
1/2 tsp
ground turmeric
3 c
1 Tbsp
whole allspice
1 Tbsp
whole cloves
1 Tbsp
1 Tbsp
celery seed
1 Tbsp
whole peppercorns
1 stick
cinnamon (about two inches total)
1/2 tsp
dry mustard
1/2 clove
1 1/2
bay leaves
2 c
cider vinegar
ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded, & chopped
1 c
2 tsp
mustard seeds

Directions Step-By-Step

Using a food grinder with the coarse plate (I use my KitchenAid attachment), grind the cucumbers, onion, peppers and celery together into a large non-reactive bowl. Add salt, turmeric, and water and mix well. Continue with the remaining steps while letting this mixture stand overnight.
In a square of cheesecloth, tie up the allspice, cloves, mace, celery seed, peppercorns and cinnamon. Bring this spice packet and the vinegar up to a boil in a large non-reactive pot. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Increase heat to medium, and add the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered until the tomatoes resemble a puree – about 30 minutes. Add sugar and mustard seeds, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature.
Now drain the vegetable mixture that has been sitting overnight in a strainer, pressing out any excess liquid.
Add the drained vegetables to the tomato mixture and bring to a boil over medium high hear. Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove spice bag.
Ladle into sterilized jars and process for 15 minutes in a water bath canner. Let relish mellow for at least a month before using, and refrigerate after opening.
To make the burger, use a sesame seed bun cut into three pieces; a top, middle, and bottom. Toast each cut side. On the bottom, add a spoonful of mayo, some lettuce, a slice of American cheese, the patty, the middle part of the bun, the next patty, relish, and finally the top bun.

About this Recipe

Main Ingredient: Spice/Herb/Seasoning
Regional Style: American