28 July, 2012

Review: Chubby's Bourbon Steak Sauce

There are some guys I know who use steak sauce on every bit of meat on their plates. They could be eating the most perfectly-cooked, delicately seasoned prime porterhouse steak, and they'll slather their sauce of choice on every bite. That's not me.

I enjoy steak sauce now and then. Used sparingly, it can add some flavor and moisture to meat that's been overcooked. And of course, there are good sauces and bad - and if a steak sauce is bad enough, I'd rather eat the toughest most gnarly cut of mammal totally dry rather than ruin it even further with awful steak sauce.

I'm not sure why I've never reviewed steak sauce before. I must have sampled dozens of them over the years. But that's about to change as I review a specialty steak sauce that might not be widely available outside of New England: Chubby's Bourbon Steak Sauce, which is made in Greenfield MA - a town about half an hour or so north of me.

Like many other steak sauces, this one is based on tomato sauce with other flavorful ingredients added in. The most prominent of these other ingredients is bourbon, and there is no mistaking it here - since it hasn't been denatured in any way, the vapors can catch you by surprise on the intake (though despite this, there isn't enough bourbon in a serving to get even a toddler tipsy.)

I like the flavor of bourbon, and I've had other bourbonized steak sauces, so I was prepared to like Chubby's. Unfortunately, while I can honestly say that it is not too bad a sauce, I can't really recommend it as anything but a novelty. It's not the breath-catching alcohol vapors that do it: it's the readily-apparent cheapness of the bourbon. I'm not saying that Chubby's should be using Maker's Mark in their sauce, mind you, but it kind of tastes like they're using a blend of hair tonic and rubbing alcohol in the blend.

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