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Homemade steak sauce
Photo: stu_spivack on Flickr

Some say clothing makes the man. I say it’s his steak sauce.

There are two types of steak sauce: those that contrast with the meat’s flavor, and those that accentuate the meat’s flavor, somehow making it meatier, if you will. I prefer the latter. To this end, I’ve developed what I think is the best basic steak sauce recipe.

I took my inspiration from a wine reduction sauce recipe that I found in a 1997 Food & Wine magazine article. It involved boiling seven chopped shallots and a bottle’s worth of Cabernet until there’s only about two tablespoons of liquid left; adding demi-glace; and boiling the mixture down to a cup. And voilà, steak sauce. Then, a friend lent me his grandmother’s copy of Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking. She had a recipe for fancy brown sauce that seemed like it might work to replace the demi-glace. Not only did it work, it became my go-to steak sauce.

The technique makes this more time-intensive, but it’s the pot that’s doing most of the work. The sauce keeps in the fridge for a week, and it’s perfect for sprucing up leftovers or adding depth to a burger. I also toss in a sprig of rosemary, and use the cheapest Cabernet I can find. 

What’s your steak sauce preference: Bottle or home-made? Tell us in the comments.