What’s So Great about Steak Sauce?

A naked steak can be great, but throwing on a tasty sauce with just the right balance of sweetness and intense tang can take it into another realm of deliciousness. But steak sauces’ applications don’t stop with steak—pour it on a burger or add some to your meatloaf mix for an extra dose of flavor. What Makes a Great Tasting Steak Sauce? High quality steak sauce contributes a strong flavor intensity when used as a condiment on meats or other proteins. Specifically, the sauce is glossy and may have visible specks from herbs or solids like onion or garlic. The aroma and flavor profiles are a blend of several notes. Often tangy with vinegar, there are usually also spices like black and white pepper. A tomato note is present. There is often a sweet note from brown sugar, molasses or caramel. Warm spices like clove may be present, and vestal notes from onion, garlic and even bell peppers may be found. The taste profile is sour with balance from salt, sweet and bitter. The texture is smooth, with only minimal pulpiness or graininess from dried ground spices. There may be slight astringency and a heat from spices in the finish. Viscosity can be thick to thin, but the most important attribute of a quality steak sauce is that the flavor profile carry through into application. The ChefsBest Tasting Process After the certified Master Tasters at ChefsBest defined the ideal qualities of steak sauce, the blind taste test was administered. A statistical analysis of the results revealed that A.1.® Steak Sauce was the best tasting in the group. With the best consistency, flavors, texture and other attributes that chefs consider important, A.1. Steak Sauce’s overall quality makes it worthy of the Best Taste Award.

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Tasting terms

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • flavor intensity

    A measurement of the strength of a flavor in a particular food. Example: High-quality chocolate will have high cocoa flavor intensity.

  • aroma

    The smell that emanates from food. Along with appearance, texture, flavor and taste, aroma is one of the five dimensions used to evaluate a product. Example: Brownies should have an aroma that includes chocolate as well as egg, toasty and sweet notes.

  • tangy

    A notably sharp aroma or flavor. Example: Orange juice and sharp cheddar cheese both have a tangy flavor.

  • sweet

    One of the basic tastes; often considered pleasing while exhibiting characteristics of sugar. Example: Honey, ripe fruits and syrup all have a pronounced sweet component.

  • taste profile

    The expected levels of each basic taste in any given food; defines the overall taste balance. Example: The taste profile of baking chocolate is led by bitterness that is balanced by a low amount of sweetness.

  • sour

    One of the basic tastes; often considered sharp, tart and acidic. Example: Lemon juice, vinegar and fermented foods often have a strong sour component.

  • salt

    One of the basic tastes; tasting of or containing salt. Example: Potato chips, sea water and cured meats all have a strong salt component.

  • bitter

    One of the basic tastes; often considered harsh and unpleasant in abundance, but a key basic taste for foods like coffee and dark chocolate. Example: Unripened fruit, aspirin and coffee all have bitter components.

  • texture

    A dimension used to organize attributes like mouthfeel, graininess and initial bite, it is one of the five dimensions used by ChefsBest Master Tasters to evaluate food. Example: Glazed popcorn will have a crunch texture. The texture of milk chocolate should be creamy and smooth.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.

  • heat

    The intensity of spiciness or the perceived warmth of food in the mouth. Example: Hot sauce has a distinct flavor, but it also possesses a heat component that warms the mouth.

  • attribute

    A narrowly defined quality belonging to a food or ingredient; used to break the many qualities of food into specific parts that can be evaluated separately. Example: To judge cheese crackers, Certified Master Tasters will look at specific attributes like cheese intensity, saltiness, crispness, color, and the character of cheese flavors.