Steak sauce is a controversial subject: some love it, and some judge those who use it. Even at mighty steakhouses like Peter Luger in Brooklyn, where some of the best beef in the country can be found, they always bring it out. But to some a steak sauce is a crime: Why cover up the taste of great beef with a sugary ketchup-like goop? If you have good beef, leave it alone with just salt and pepper, and leave the condiments to the lesser joints.
Still, I had to trust a recipe from a book called Steak with Friends by celebrated Chicago chef Rick Tramonto. He augments the ketchup base with umami-rich dried shitake mushrooms, soy sauce, dry mustard, and dark brown sugar, plus a few more secret ingredients. Everything simmers together for 45 minutes, which is enough time to roast some oven fries and cook the steak with time to rest. The result is round and rich, sweet and tangy, and quite balanced.
If you like steak sauce, this is a serious winner. And it might make a few converts, too.
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup dried shitake mushrooms
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- 1/2 cup chopped white onion
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dry mustard
- 2 to 2.5 pounds skirt steak, preferably outside cut, trimmed of excess fat
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
Combine the ketchup, water, mushrooms, Worcestershire, lemon juice, and vinegar in a saucepan. Whisk to combine, then stir in the remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and simmer for 45 minutes, until the sauce is thick and pourable and the flavors have melded. Strain out the solids.
Rub the steak with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill or broil the steaks, turning once, for 7-10 minutes for medium rare, depending on thickness. Allow to rest for at least 5 minutes, then slice across the grain. Serve with the sauce on the side, or spoon it over.