There’s a straight line between fast food and nostalgia. My time growing up in New Jersey was often spent in many shopping mall food courts—one giant common area surrounded by dozens of fast food joints. At the time, the food court was the only place you could go to get Chick-fil-A. Which was the only place you could go to satisfy your Chick-fil-A sauce needs.
You know what I’m talking about. Chick-fil-A sauce (aka CFA sauce) is sweet, smoky, and tangy. Think of it like a marriage between honey mustard and barbecue sauce. With my culinary curiosity sparked, I knew I had to make it myself.
Simple enough, right? Well, sort of.
I was confident in my ingredient base: generic barbecue sauce, mayo, yellow mustard, and honey. After fine-tuning the flavors with a little garlic powder and lemon juice, I was mostly pleased. The smoke, though. CFA sauce tasted significantly smokier than mine. After rereading the ingredient label, one word stood out: hickory. Are you mocking me, CFA?
Back to the store I went to grab a bottle of hickory smoked barbecue sauce, ran home, made a batch, and boom. Significantly smokier. Thank you for your service, hickory. I’ll sleep well tonight.
After 15 or so test batches (a tweak here, a tweak there), I’m confident that this is pretty close to cracking the code of CFA sauce. I’d say an 8.7 out of 10. I’ll celebrate with nuggets tonight.
Homemade Chick-fil-A Sauce
For the best results, use Kraft Hickory Smoked Barbecue Sauce.
Makes 1 cup
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup hickory smoked barbecue sauce
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
Whisk all ingredients in small bowl until well combined. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled and flavors meld, at least 30 minutes. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to a week.)