Don’t fret, this isn’t clickbait. We’re about to get lost in the sauce(s). We surveyed 2,000* Americans to find out which sauce is their steak soulmate, and the results are in!
#1: BBQ sauce
We’ll get this off our chests right now: Steak is perfectly delicious without any sauce. But, as far as sauces go, tangy, smoky, sometimes spicy, often citrusy barbecue sauce is a fantastic glaze or dipping sauce for steak. If you’re marinating with barbecue sauce, try something with lots of piquant mustard and vinegar to help tenderize your beef cut.
BBQ sauce is fab on burgers, too. Exhibit A: Coti Howell’s Jake Owen Beachin’ Burger, featuring juicy ground sirloin, sweet and spicy BBQ sauce, pineapple, and caramelized onions.
#2: Brown butter
Imagine this: Fresh butter, warmed slowly over low heat until it caramelizes and takes on a warm cinnamon hue and sweet, nutty flavor. This is the decadent simplicity of brown butter, a staple for a variety of dishes, from roasted veggies to banana bread.
Wondering how to make browned butter? Place a quarter pound of butter in a skillet and cook until it’s browned and has a nutty aroma, almost smelling like caramel. Remove butter from heat as soon as it is done so it does not continue to cook.
Steak might be browned butter’s best match. In fact, many home cooks unintentionally make brown butter when butter basting steaks in a pan. Butter basting = cooking steaks in a shallow pan while occasionally tilting the pan to grab some warmed butter with a spoon, then pouring it over the top of the steak. This process gives the steak a wonderful brown color and crust, in addition to infusing it with the rich, nutty flavors of brown butter. As Bob Ross would say, this is a happy little accident.
#3: Compound butter
Compound butter, also known as “butter plus anything you like,” is a *chef’s kiss* finishing touch for cooked steak. You can add your favorite herbs and flavors to fresh, cold butter, including lemon juice, garlic, black pepper, sundried tomatoes … the sky’s the limit. Add a pinch of the ingredients you’ve selected to a stick of butter, chill it, then top steaks with a dollop of the chilled butter before serving for an extra special touch to your finished dish. Need a little inspiration to get started? Look no further than The Pioneer Woman’s compound butter recipes. We’re sure any of these 6 options will satisfy your taste buds.
#4: Brown sauce
Brown sauce, AKA steak sauce (think A.1.) is the steak topper for those who aren’t afraid of big flavors. If you look at A.1.’s ingredients, you can see why the sauce is crazy robust: Tomato, vinegar, salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree, garlic, and onions.
It’s sweet, sour, fruity, spicy, herbaceous, pleasantly bitter, and overall, a kick in the teeth … in a good way. You can use it on pretty much any cut, but we especially like it alongside a fatty ribeye when it’s served with homespun sides like creamed corn, baking powder biscuits, and fresh asparagus.
Smothering might be a bad thing when you’re meeting your new coworkers or going on a first date, but it’s never a bad thing when it comes to steak. Our respondents say they love gravy on steak, and we have to agree with them—steak is tasty when smothered with a mushroom or onion gravy. Sirloin steaks work well for this type of dish, and we dare you to serve it over mashed potatoes without getting addicted.
This vibrant green sauce had a big moment in 2019, and it’s still one of the most popular steak sauces right now. ICYMI, chimichurri is a green sauce that hails from South American and Mexican cuisine. It’s made from ingredients like parsley (lots of parsley!), garlic, vinegar, olive oil, and chili flakes. The dictionary refers to it as “Argentine barbecue sauce” as well, so you know it’s been destined to flavor meat since its inception.
Want to try your hand at chimichurri? Our ribeye tacos use chipotle chili powder and chimichurri to balance out juicy, buttery ribeye steak.
So, which steak sauce is your favorite? Tell us on social media—follow us @beefitarian on Facebook and Instagram. And, feed your hunger for all things beef by browsing our recipe collection and cooking tips.
*Survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of JBS USA