I think the title of this post sums it up quite nicely. Steak sauce should not be put on steak. Some of you out there may be nodding and agreeing with the thought even before I get to the explanations but I can imagine that most would think I’m a bit off my rocker. Which possibly isn’t too far from the truth. But give me a few moments and I’ll explain what I mean.

First you need to remember that there are several different meanings for steak sauce and for steak. And here I am talking about one specific combination. But first I’ll explain specifically what version of sauce and steak I mean.

Steak sauce: Quite simply there are two basic sauces here. The first is the mass produced commercially available sauces you can get at any grocery store. Sauces like A-1, Bulls-Eye, Heinz 57 and a dozen others that can taste good in their own way. But lets face it, these are factory produced concoctions with quite a bit of preservatives and in the end their main function is to cover the meat in question to impart whatever flavoring they are toting. And that is where the problem really lies.

The second form of sauce is the home-made variety. Something you can make on the fly with a few simple ingredients. Usually I make these with some beef broth, cognac or sherry, the drippings from the cooking meat, and some other spices for kick. Overall, these are small batch items that you make for one meal (unless you like to think ahead and have a really great recipe in which you might make enough for a short while if you have a good way to preserve it), have a great flavor and can only compliment the meat with which your working. These certainly deserve to be on good quality steak as they will only enhance the meal you have planned.

Steak: As far as the steaks go we have three distinct options. 1)Chopped Steak, 2) Strip or other type of steak that is typically of a lower quality (or was stored improperly), 3) good quality Steak like a filet. I should mention that this post is really geared towards the steak and egg breakfast which tends to be when I have the most steak. I’m not really sure why but steak makes more sense to me early in the morning than at night.

Typically when I go to a family restaurant you will get the first option readily enough. This can be a good thing but a ground up piece of meat in a vaguely steak like shape is not really steak. It’s hamburger and really the restaurants should not even try to make it sound better by having steak in the name.

However, it can be very good particularly if the cook knows what he is doing and spices it well. I have had some great chopped steaks and they did not need any help, but these are few and far between. Typically the chopped steak is dull, lifeless and lacking in any real quality.

At slightly better restaurants you might get the strip steak. Sadly these are usually not very good. They tend to be fatty, greasy, tough, with little or no seasoning and overall a very unpleasant meal. I think I have had one good strip steak in this context over the years and that was a fluke at even that particular restaurant.

I would also be very careful of ordering this at most restaurants as I have found many of these steaks with an extra element of flavor which can only be described as the refrigerator or freezer. This is a taste that can only come from meat that has sat in their fridge for far too long improperly wrapped. Be warned my friends that many restaurants will not properly handle their meat and you can get a very nasty taste from it (this is certainly a time when steak sauce would be appropriate just to mask the added taste dimension, if you can even stomach what you are served).

The last category is the absolute best and the most rare. To find a restaurant that will serve a pair of fillet medallions that are well seasoned, cooked just right (always to medium rare, why would you ever ruin a steak by taking it pass this stage?), and presented by themselves or maybe with a few mushrooms is simple something wonderful. I know of one restaurant that has this and when they are on their game it is truly an enjoyable meal. Always look for the highest quality in your foods my friends as that is certainly a part of the path to happiness.

Now, steak sauce doesn’t belong on steak. This phrase means first the commercial sauces and second the quality, well made steak.

A steak by its very nature should be a cut of good quality meat containing just enough fat to render added flavor without making things tough. It should be something to enjoy that melts in the mouth with every bite. It should definitely be something well-seasoned and well-prepared. This is the steak that I am talking about here and I have to wonder why anyone in their right mind would cover the natural flavors of a good steak.

In my view the other items I mentioned are really not steaks. Ground meat of any sort is not a real stake, its ground beef, hamburger and really should be labeled as such on the menu. The strip steaks and others cuts can be steaks but if your going to leave them with so much fat and gristle that they are really not edible then why bother offering them? Overall, the only real steaks I know are good, quality pieces of beef that are handled properly with seasoning and heat to bring out the best flavor.

With all that being said, why would you ever cover a good quality steak in a commercial grade sauce? Why would you hide the delicious flavor and well-done execution of such a steak with an overpowering sauce that doesn’t enhance anything but merely masks? I cant think of no rational reason to do so and to me that is a bit insane.

This is what I mean when I say that steak sauce does not belong on steak. You don’t need it. Steak sauce is something that belongs on pieces of sub-standard beef that have not been prepared well. If you cannot find the beef to be tasty in its own right, then by all means cover it in some sauce. At least then you can get some protein for your diet but all you really will taste is the sauce.

Steak sauce does not belong on steak but if you insist on having it, then at least try to limit the sauce to your eggs. At least they almost never have any real flavor and the sauce becomes a blessing.

Until next time my friends, I bid you well and happy eating.

~Daniel

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