A1 steak sauce is beloved by so very many people on both sides of the Atlantic, but did you know that the present product sold as A1 Sauce bears little similarity to the original recipe?
A1 Steak Sauce has had quite an interesting history. It was first created in 1824 by a certain Henderson William Brand who was chef to King George IV of England. When the King tasted the sauce, he pronounced it to be "A1!" meaning "awesome!" and that is how the sauce came by its name.
Following this success, Brand decided to leave the King;s service and set out to manufacture his sauce. Unfortunately he was not a good businessman, and soon went bankrupt. His enterprise was purchased by W.H.Withall who continued to produce the sauce under the name Brand & Co. After a number of transitions, the sauce was acquired first by Nabisco and more recently by Kraft Foods.
In its current form, A1 Steak Sauce contains these ingredients:
Tomato Puree ( Water Tomato Paste) Distilled Vinegar, Corn Syrup, Salt, Raisin Paste, Crushed Orange Puree, Spices and Herbs, Dried Garlic and Onion, Caramel Color, Potassium Sorbate (to Preserve Freshness), Xanthan Gum.
I have not been able to find a complete list of ingredients for the secret recipe of the original A1 sauce, but it is known to have included dates, malt vinegar, molasses, tamarind, onion and sugar. I believe that the version of A1 sauce that is sold in Canada still has some of these ingredients - can anyone confirm this?
I have also developed a recipe for approximating the original A1 Steak Sauce product. It is quite an elaborate recipe and uses an unusual set o f ingredients. The recipe upon which I based this version used a coffee substitute called Postum, but as this is no longer available instant coffee with chicory powder will work fine, or just plain instant coffee.
- 1 cup dates, chopped
- ½ cup dark molasses
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons dry mustard
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 anchovy fillet,chopped or1 tablespoon anchovy paste
- 6 tablespoons fresh tamarind or 1 tablespoon tamarind extract
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground fenugreek
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon powdered cloves
- ½ teaspoon cardamom seeds
- 3 drops Tabasco
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon gravy powder or extract (optional)
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee and chicory powder (optional)
- Sugar to taste
- Put all dry ingredients plus dates through blender till fine powder.
- Place half the vinegar ina a saucepan over low heat.
- Simmer for one hour.
- Adding the rest of vinegar a little at a time as mixture reduces.
- Stir in Tabasco, wines, gravy powder and coffee if using.
- Add sugar to taste and stir to dissolve.
- Cook 3 minutes to evaporate alcohol.
- Remove from heat.
- Pour into large crock or Tupperware container.
- Cover and leave to stand in a cool place for one week.
- Strain the mixture through cheese-cloth, several times if necessary.
- Bottle and cap tightly.
I simply can't resist giving you a commercial for A! Steak Sauce that was made in 1963, which shows some of the bizarre ways in which the sauce was used.
The modern versions of AI Steak Sauce uses orange as the main flavor. If you like this sauce, you can copy it at home.
Here is a recipe I found on a website called 3sidesofcrazy.com that approximates the modern product, but with much cleaner ingredients and it is of course significantly cheaper:
MOCK A1 SAUCE
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar*
2 Tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon grated orange peel (bottled)
2 Tablespoons ketchup
2 Tablespoons Chili Sauce
- Mix all together and boil for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
- Cool to lukewarm.
- Puree in food processor.
- Cap tightly and refrigerate.
A-1 Steak Sauce - 2/15oz bottles
Sale Price: $7.75