How to make your own Heinz 57 and A1 Steak Sauce at home

Chef Jeffrey Gardner

When preparing to tuck into a steak that’s hot off the grill, the right condiment can provide a fantastic contrast to freshly charred beef.

Depending on your favorite cut of beef, your options could include a rich béarnaise sauce, an herby chimichurri, or even a blue cheese so funky, you’d think it came out of Bootsy Collins’ refrigerator. However, if you’re like millions of Americans, you’re more likely to rummage through the pantry for a bottle of store-bought steak sauce.

Heinz 57 and A1 Steak Sauce are the most popular brands, but if you examine the list of ingredients on the label, you’ll find little more than tomato pureé, distilled white vinegar, high fructose corn syrup and “flavorings.” Surely, we can do better.

Top quality beef deserves a steak sauce of the same caliber, so we stepped into the test kitchen to make these sauces ourselves. It’s easier than you might think. 

Almost Heinz 57

If a Southern barbecue sauce had a hot date with a Mexican mole, this mock version of Heinz 57 sauce would be the tasty result.

Please don’t be discouraged by the number of ingredients in the recipe — you likely have almost all of them in your pantry and fridge right now. However, given that long list, preparation is the key to success with this recipe. Measuring most or all the ingredients before cooking will save you from scrambling to hunt down missing ingredients while the sauce is on the heat.

Start with an aromatic base of onion, poblano pepper, garlic, anchovies and raisins. Taking the time to toast the spices and tomato paste will unlock their true flavor potential before adding the liquids to lift the bits of browned goodness from the bottom of the pot. Once all the ingredients are simmering together, keep them cooking for at least 45 minutes to bring the flavors together. If you have an immersion blender, you can pureé the sauce in the pot; if not, just transfer it in batches to the blender and pureé until smooth. Because of the complexity in this sauce, serve this with a leaner cut of beef, such as tenderloin or flank steak.

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B2 Steak Sauce

History buffs know that the original recipe for A1 Steak Sauce came from a chef for England’s King George IV in the early 19th century. A riff on a classic brown sauce, it evolved to include molasses, malt vinegar and fruit preserves to provide its signature sweet and sour notes.

Unlike our Almost Heinz 57 sauce, this mock A1 requires very few steps and its dominant flavors are Worcestershire, vinegar and celery seed, much like the bottled version. All you need to do is place all of the ingredients in the pot, reduce until thickened, then strain the finished sauce. This straining step is key — both the raisins and the garlic will soften over the cooking time, so you’ll want to do your best to push these through your strainer. Not only will this step add flavor, but it also gives the sauce its much needed body.

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