Make Ahead

Jose Mae's Hoppin' Good Steak Sauce

August 23, 2010
3 Ratings
Author Notes

This recipe has made its way around the kitchen a couple of times before ending up as it is today. I used to be a home brewer and would also make wine. I wanted to make spirits but there wasn't much info on stills back then, being the early 1990's, but I stumbled onto a book called "Secrets of the Still" by Grace Firth. In this book she has all kinds of stuff about anything fermented, from tempeh to herbal remedies. It is an interesting book filled with all kinds of tidbits but it does not contain a lot of recipes. Fortunately she has one for steak sauce. I made it and then started playing with it to come up with a recipe of my own. Not that long ago I saw a different version in Saveur Magazine(issue #103) using the Secrets of the Still version and was surprised at how close it was to mine. I have been tinkering ever since and think I now have a version we can call Jose Mae's. I like to name things after my daughters and Jose is the perfect name for this because she likes to dip her food. She is my taste tester because if she likes something she hops around the room saying "mmmmmmmm". She is two and she will eat anything spicy and I am amazed it does not bother her. —thirschfeld

  • Serves 3/4 cup
  • 1 1/4 cups Currant flavored vodka, or plain vodka
  • 3 teaspoons whole allspice
  • 12 whole cloves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 dried shiitakes, about 1 1/2 inches round
  • 1 dried guajillo chile, stemmed, seeded and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup Hengstenberg 13 Krauter Essig Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup organic soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup garlic slices
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup strained tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tamarind concentrate
In This Recipe
  1. Place two small mixing bowls onto a counter top. In one bowl place the vodka, allspice, cloves, cinnamon, shiitakes and guajillo chile. In the second bowl combine the red wine vinegar, Hengstenberg vinegar, soy sauce and garlic. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap and let them sit over night.
  2. The next day remove the shiitakes from the bowl and squeeze the the juice from them back into the bowl.
  3. Place a small sauce pan over medium high heat and add the red wine and brown sugar. Boil until you have a syrup. Remove from the heat, please do this you are getting ready to pour straight vodka into a hot pan and I want you to keep your eyebrows. Then add the ingredients from both bowls, the strained tomatoes and tamarind concentrate. Place the sauce pan back on the heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer and reduce until it is thick and it will coat the back of a spoon. Don't be tempted to hurry the reduction process. If this sauce boils to hard it will scorch. Strain the sauce. You should have 3/4 to 1 cup of sauce, it should be the viscosity of syrup. Place into a bottle, cool and serve. Can be kept a couple of months in the fridge.
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Father, husband, writer, photojournalist and not always in that order.