I Grew Up Watching My Grandmother Sneak Durkees Into the Deviled Eggs—And I'll Always Do the Same
Every Southern family has their own “secret sauce.” The recipes we grow up eating, but that no one else is allowed to know. It could be a hush-hush roux that goes into gumbo or a super classified caramel icing that tops the layer cake—and for my grandmother, it’s her pimiento cheese (a combination so good that her small-town grocery deli asked for the recipe) and her deviled eggs.
Growing up, I’d help peel all the boiled eggs before family holidays or barbecues, dropping the cooked yolks into a bowl and then watching her dump ingredients into it with wild abandon. Everyone who tasted them always raved about those deviled eggs, and they were always specially requested. But I never really knew the difference until I got older and tasted other people’s deviled eggs—because they were almost always way more bland than hers and, frankly, not up to snuff.
So eventually I asked her to tell me the secret to the best deviled eggs. Besides a generous helping of salt and black pepper (“People are always too shy with the seasoning!” she says), she credited a big ‘ole dollop of Durkee Famous Sauce and told me to never tell anyone outside the bloodline. (She’s lightened up the iron grip on her recipe secrets since.)
Affectionately known as Durkees in my family, this secret sauce isn’t necessarily intended to be put in deviled eggs, but the tangy blend of mayonnaise-mustard flavor is just the extra kick needed to take basic eggs to world-famous ones. The brand claims that the Famous Sauce has been around for over 100 years and was even served in the White House during Abraham Lincoln’s presidency. Nowadays it’s actually quite hard to find in just any grocery store, which my mother constantly laments about during the holiday season, particularly Easter.
Durkee Famous Sauce, above all, is known to be a darn delicious sandwich spread, with many folks using it yearly to accessorize the quintessential post-Thanksgiving leftover turkey sandwich. While that’s the most traditional use of the versatile spread, we’ve been known to throw a dollop in everything from potato salad to coleslaw (and even a fancy grilled cheese).
My grandmother imparted to me the importance of Durkees in our family’s “secret sauce,” if only to make sure I stock up a few jars any time I’m actually able to find it at the grocery. You know, for the deviled eggs’ sake. (Luckily you can sometimes find it on Amazon, too.)
So next time Easter rolls around, you know just how to wow the crowd with next-level deviled eggs containing a top-secret ingredient.