Homemade Steak Sauce

  • Serves

    makes about 1 cup

Steak sauce as we know it—dark, sweet, and tangy with aromatic spices—is a British invention. In fact, A.1. Steak Sauce, the condiment of choice for many American steak lovers, was invented by Henderson William Brand, the cook to King George IV in the 1820s. This homemade variety is based on one in Secrets of the Still by Grace Firth (EPM, 1983).


  • 12 cup vodka
  • 2 tsp. whole allspice berries, crushed
  • 2 tsp. crushed cinnamon stick
  • 10 whole cloves, crushed
  • 12 cup plus 6 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 12 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tsp. hot sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cored and quartered
  • 14 cup sugar
  • 14 cup tamarind pulp


Step 1

Put vodka, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves into a small bowl. Cover with plastic wrap; let sit at room temperature for 8 hours. Stain and set aside.

Step 2

Put 1⁄2 cup red wine vinegar, soy sauce, hot sauce, and garlic into a bowl; set aside. Roughly grate tomatoes; discard skins. Scrape tomatoes through a sieve to make 1 cup tomato pulp; set aside.

Step 3

Cook sugar and 6 tbsp. red wine vinegar in a skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, to make a deep brown caramel, 6–7 minutes. Carefully stir in tomato pulp. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until thick, 4–5 minutes. Remove and discard garlic from soy sauce mixture, then add mixture to skillet. Bring to a boil; remove from heat, add tamarind pulp along with spice-infused vodka. Return to heat and cook until thickened, 10–12 minutes. Refrigerate for up to 2 months.

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