The Myth about Steak Sauce

a1 steak sauce

“Pass the A1 steak sauce.”

“Don’t you dare ruin that good steak with steak sauce!”  How many times have you reached for the Heinz 57 or A1 Steak sauce only to get scolded as if you were about to do something sacrilegious or just plain evil and insane? It’s as if you were accused of dousing your neighbor’s steak with arsenic. Who’s the one eating it, anyway? I think it’s happened to all of us at one time or another. Even those of us who have accused others of ruining a really good steak have done the same thing ourselves at one time or another – and we all do it for the same reason: we want to make something good even better. A tender, pink and juicy Filet is hard to beat on its own, or is it? Can you possibly make that pink, juicy, succulent cut of beef more flavorful; richer, zestier and exciting than it already is in its own natural state? Furthermore, have you ever seen or known someone who has done such an evil deed and regretted the way it tasted? You might expect them to react in such a way as, “Gee, you’re right – that last bit of steak, smothered in A1 steak sauce was awful. I’ll never do something like that again! I sure wish I had listened to you before I ruined my steak” That’s not the typical reaction of the accused. On the contrary, the steak sauce lover has that guilty look of extreme pleasure and satisfaction and is already anticipating how they can devour their entire steak in the same manner without creating an uproar the size of the next world war. It does’t have to be this way, nor should it. In this brief, steak sauce review I will prove why it is not only acceptable to use steak sauce on an expensive cut of red meat, but desirable. Here is why you should enjoy your Heinz 57 and A1 steak sauce guilt free.

The Myth about Steak Sauce

Steak Sauce is Like a Good Bottle of Wine

If you want to enjoy your steak sauce without having to make excuses or apologize for it, you will need to educate those purist-steak snobs who are dining with you. Like wine, a good steak sauce does not hide the flavor of the meat you are eating, it enhances it.  How would your dining partners feel if you asked them the same question they asked you earlier: “You’re not going to ruin that good steak with that  bottle of dry, red Cabernet are you?” They might think you are nuts for asking such a question, but in essence is the very same thing as having steak sauce with your steak.The myth about steak sauce is that it ruins a good steak. Not so. The vinegar acids, sugars and alcohol from the wine enhances the flavor of steak in the very same way as your steak sauce. Now, obviously a bad steak sauce can overpower a good steak. The purpose of the steak sauce is to provide just enough subtle acid and sweetness to bring out the meat’s natural flavor. It is a myth that a good steak sauce is only for a bad steak. In fact, the better the steak, the better it tastes with a good steak sauce. So, which steak sauce do we choose and why?

A1 vs Heinz 57 Steak Sauce

heinz 57 steak sauceI realize there are a large number of steak sauce brands on the market. It is not the purpose of my article to review them all, but to provide some guidelines. A1 and Heinz 57 steak sauce are among the most popular and serve as a good standard for comparison of other similar brands. In my opinion, neither one of these steak sauces will ruin a good steak. Of the two types, Heinz 57 steak sauce has the stronger flavor and is therefore better suited for steaks that lack flavor. A1 steak sauce is the lighter, more subtle steak sauce and is better suited for very flavorful cuts of red meat.  Have you ever had one of those tender, juicy steaks that is perfect in every way yet lacks a beefy flavor? Heinz 57 is suited best for these kinds of steaks. The most flavorful steaks go best with A1 steak sauce. It really is liking taking a sip of Cabernet with each and every bite of meat. So, next time your friends and family members scoff at you at the dinner table between sips of their Cabernet, pass them the steak sauce and explain to them that it’s not the flavor of the steak sauce you’re enjoying, but the flavor of the steak. Teach them how even with the best steak there is always room for improvement or they wouldn’t be drinking their wine with dinner. A good steak sauce is an alternative for having wine with your meal – and there is no reason you can’t have both.

4 thoughts on “The Myth about Steak Sauce”

  1. Acids like citrus juices, wine, and vinegar do bring out the flavors of the meat as long as you use it as a marinad or to baste as it cooks and only use small amounts as you would salt, pepper, garlic etc…It is not beneficial as far as bringing any kind of flavor out once the steak has been cooked and cut. keep in mind, its proper ettiquette to taste your food before asking for any type of additional seasoning to your food, no matter what it is. It is considered an insult to the cook if you dont at least try your food before slathering it in a steak sauce that will overpower (and yes….A-1 does this) anything you put it on. Keep in mind places like Ruth’s Criss do not even have steak sauce available for those of you who like to drown your steak in A-1.

    Reply
    • Daniel, that’s complete nonsense. Tell this to your wine Sommelier next time you’re at a fine restaurant asking him to pair the proper wine with your course. What, will he tell you? That no Cabernet, Merlot, Shiraz, Zinfandel, or Pinot is good enough for your expensive steak? I speak from experience and I have a very picky sense of taste. A splash of A1 most certainly does bring out the flavor of any cooked meat cooked or not, though I appreciate that not everyone will like it better that way. Tasting the meat first goes without saying. It depends on what you like, but I can certainly appreciate why some people like the flavor of a steak sauce even with a really good steak. Let’s not be steak snobs. 🙂

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  2. Acids are for proper tenderizing, not flavor enhancing and are used in moderation. Also, the acids need to be added during meal prep, not after the meat has already been cooked. A-1 sauce is a guilty pleasure not an apt one. Would you turn your mashed potatoes into a gravy of with butter? But butter enhances flavor too. Would you eat your KFC chicken in a gravy stew? But the gravy adds flavor….Moderation is the first answer and the second is tact. When you use the ingredients in A-1, you are essentially adding a marinade. That’s fine if you like an improperly marinated steak. That’s also fine if you don’t really understand the concept of flavor “enhancing” or marinade. Don’t be rude. Taste your food before you add anything to it.

    Reply
    • I agree with your statement about moderation. I’m not advocating that you pour a whole bottle of steak sauce on a RibEye or Filet. However, a sprinkle of A1 is not the sin that some would have you believe. Should you taste it before you put anything on a good steak? That goes without saying. Just as you might take a bite of steak before taking that sip of Cabernet.

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