Serious Eats: Recipes

Sauced: Worcestershire Sauce

"What's-this-here sauce," as my Dad used to say. I never actually considered an answer to my Father's silly phrase (it induced more cringes than laughs) since, for all intents and purposes, Worcestershire sauce was never more than just Worcestershire sauce.

To start demystifying this sauce, I begin with a little history lesson, which taught me the importance of time in the production. As told by Lea & Perrins, the sauce originated in the early 1800s when Lord Sandys of Worcester, England, returned home from Bengal and commissioned local dispensing chemists John Lea and William Perrins to replicate a sauce he had brought back with him. The resulting sauce was deemed unpalatable and shelved, only to be unearthed a couple years later to find that age had made it good. The sauce was then bottled and Worcestershire sauce, born.

With this background, I had a starting point, but the ingredients and amounts where still hazy. While the original Lea & Perrins recipe has recently been discovered, the process has not and I imagine there's been some changes along the road. So I turned my sights on on this more complet, recipe from Sauver, with a few adjustments based on comments and intuition.

Unlike most sauce recipes, which I adjust as I'm cooking, this one was difficult to endure. I had to wait three weeks of aging to see if it produced something blog-worthy. Luckily, it did!

While Lea & Perrins this is not, it is unmistakably Worcestershire sauce. The strong malt vinegar tang holds secrets of flavor that I can now identify more clearly as anchovy, soy sauce, molasses, chilies, and tamarind, among many others that come together in a seamless sauce.

I'm so happy to have a top-notch, unique homemade Worcestershire in my arsenal, as this will now become a little bit of a secret ingredient of mine in sauces to come.

Adapted from Saveur

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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