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Taste test: steak sauce

We all know those people who reach for steak sauce before they take the first bite of their meat. The steak might taste great on its own, but they will never know because they can't resist smothering it with bottled flavors. Some of our panelists said they have been guilty of the sauce-before-taste response. So they set out to sample a variety of steak sauces on the market. We tried nine brands straight from the bottle, and our favorite turned out to be an inexpensive option found at a local Walmart Supercenter.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent


(out of 100)
Grocer's Garden 70McCormick Grill Mate's Premium Montreal Steak Sauce 68A.1. 55

Light texture was the quality that attracted most judges to this steak sauce. They liked the smoothness and the subtle flavor. "This is as close to classic steak sauce as you can get," said one taster. "It's smooth, salty and sweet." Panelists also liked the versatility of this sauce. "I would add this to a Bloody Mary cocktail," said one. Another said it would be a perfect dipping sauce for beef kebabs or even chicken wings. One keen taster had this brand pegged from the beginning. "This tastes like Montreal Steak seasoning," he said. "It's peppery with tiny texture pieces and it has a great little burn." He also appreciated what he described as a "smoky aftertaste." He added, "I would cut my steak into tiny pieces to enjoy more of this sauce." Another judge loved the thick texture of the sauce, saying, "It's bold but not harsh." The steak sauce aficionados were quick to identify this sauce as well. "I'm guessing, but it's very A.1.-like," said one taster. "It's classic with no surprises, and it's bold, balanced and complementary," said another. After comparing the sauces, a couple of judges said this one was a bit too vinegary for their tastes. "Now I think I like a darker, thicker sauce with less bitterness," said one panelist.

they buy?
All four judges said yes.All four judges said yes.Three of the four judges said yes.
Shopping information98 cents for a 9.6-ounce bottle from Walmart.$3.69 for a 10-ounce bottle from Publix. $4.29 for a 10-ounce bottle from Publix.

Also Sampled: Great Value ($1.98 for a 10-ounce bottle from Walmart, 14 points); HP ($4.79 for an 8.9-ounce bottle from Publix, 37 points);

Winn-Dixie ($2.79 for a 10-ounce bottle, 25 points); London Pub ($2.99 for a 20-ounce bottle from Publix, 15 points); Shula's ($2.99 or a 10-ounce bottle from Publix, 51 points); and Delmonico's Restaurant Classic 1837 Steak Sauce ($4.39 for an 11-ounce bottle from the Fresh Market, 22 points).

Panelists: Jeff Jensen, public information officer for the city of Treasure Island; Wayne Conery, retired restaurant manager; Julie Overton, cook and bartender; and Molly Webber, a New York University senior majoring in Global Liberal Studies and Media, Contemporary Cultures and Communications. All foods were tasted blind.

Send suggestions for product testing to: Taste section, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731 or email them to Please put TEST SUGGESTION in the subject line. To read past Taster's Choice columns, go to

Serving size1 tablespoon1 tablespoon1 tablespoon
Fat/Fiber0g / 0g0g / 0g0g / 0g
Sugars/Sodium2g / 280mg4g / 360mg2g / 280mg
Carbs/Protein3g / 0g5g / 0g3g / 0g

Taste test: steak sauce 01/23/17 [Last modified: Friday, January 20, 2017 5:27pm]
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