What Is A1 Steak Sauce?

Besides cornering the sauce market alphabetically (I bet the poor flops who invented “Z9” steak sauce are pretty darn jealous) A1 sauce is one of the best known steak sauces out there. But what is A1 steak sauce, exactly? Why is A1 the steak sauce for so many people? Get those bibs ready (or use the edge of the table cloth, nobody’s looking) because things are about to get a little saucy today as we find out the whole story behind A1 steak sauce! 

When was A1 steak sauce invented?

A1 has been around for a good long while! As the story goes, in 1824, one of King George IV’s chefs, a man named Henderson William Brand, created the original sauce on which A1 is based. The popular myth states that the king declared it “A1,” which gave the sauce its iconic name. Behold, this 1906 ad for A1, which illustrates that exact moment. 

Where was A1 steak sauce invented?

Unfortunately for the patriotic, the A in “A1 steak sauce” does not stand for America. It was first concocted in jolly old England and marketed as a condiment for all sorts of dishes like fish, game meats, and even in soup. In the 1906 ad cited above, it’s touted as being particularly good on “Welsh rarebits, broiled lobster, and English mutton chops.” It wasn’t marketed as a steak sauce specifically until it was rebranded in the 1960s. Now, though, the brand is returning to its multipurpose ways. It’s just A1 sauce, now, according to Kraft, which markets it as a sauce for all foods. 

What is in A1 steak sauce?

The complete list of ingredients in classic A1 sauce includes tomato purée, raisin paste (yes, there are raisins in A1 steak sauce), spirit vinegar (aka distilled white vinegar), corn syrup, salt, crushed orange purée (more fruit? You bet!), dried garlic and onions, spice, celery seed, caramel color, potassium sorbate, and xanthan gum. Mmm-MMM! You can really taste that xanthan gum! 

Is A1 steak sauce vegan?

Yes, all those aforementioned ingredients are completely vegan. Now, the meats that A1 is used on, however…well, moving on!

Does A1 steak sauce expire?

Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and that sentiment is never more greatly felt when it comes to expiring condiments. Yes, A1 will eventually expire, but not after putting up a valiant effort in the fridge. An open bottle of A1 steak sauce that has been continuously refrigerated will generally stay completely edible for about two years. Furthermore, if properly stored, an unopened bottle of A1 steak sauce will generally stay at best quality for about three years. And, for those of us who are extremely forward thinking, cryogenically frozen bottles will remain fresh until they are excavated by future foodies in 1,000 years, although I’m guessing we’ll have invented a way to raise steak pre-sauced by then. 

About the Author

Joe Rumrill

Joe Rumrill is a fictional one-eyed spinach-loving sailor created in 1929 by E.C Se- Wait, no, that's not right... Joe Rumrill is a stand up comedian and writer currently based in Los Angeles. His favorite thing about food is a close tie between the taste and the nutrients one gets from it. His least favorite thing about it is the "gritty, dirt-like quality some food has", but he's most likely referring to the time in third grade he was dared to eat playground sand.

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