The History Behind Steak Sauce's Association With The Meat

It may just be a condiment, but steak sauce has managed to stir up some controversy over the years. On one side, there are steak connoisseurs who firmly believe that a mouthwatering steak shouldn't be dressed with anything other than salt and pepper. Then there is the other crowd, who employ A.1. as a save-all for cheaper cuts of meat (via Portable Press).

As perfect as some find the pairing to be, the tangy sauce wasn't originally intended for steak. An ad campaign in 1948 declared it simply as "a favorite with men who love good things to eat" according to The Washington Post. As the story goes, the sauce was concocted specifically for King George IV by his personal chef, Henderson William Brand, in the 1820s. The King himself gave it a stamp of approval, proclaiming "A1" to his chef and the name stuck. The unique sauce was geared toward dishes of all kinds, including fish, soup, game, welsh rarebits, broiled lobster, and English mutton chops as advertised in 1906.

The brand's creation quickly became a tableside fixture but steak sauce fandom didn't kick off until decades later. Kraft Heinz Company shares that the do-all-condiment rebranded as "A.1. Steak Sauce" in the 1960s and was marketed exclusively for beef dishes. The tangy flavor paired perfectly with meat and the sauce's antioxidants even kept beef fresh for longer.

The once go-to steak condiment is almost a thing of the past

Ironically, the sauce's name has come full circle. Kraft went back to its roots in 2014 after nearly a half of a century, A.1. left its steak partnership behind with the new and improved slogan, "For Almost Everything. Almost." Staying on top of consumer trends, Kraft Heinz Company saw a downtick in beef consumption and wanted their rebrand to convey a wide appeal.

Steak served naked versus outfitted in A.1. has become a quirky debate. Adoring steak sauce has almost evolved into a collectively-mocked guilty pleasure akin to ketchup on eggs or pineapples on pizza. Despite the great divide, the company's senior brand manager reveals that consumer research says otherwise. A.1. isn't merely a savior for poor-quality cuts of meat. Research shows people use A.1. on prime cuts of meat as well (per The Washington Post).

Some culinary whizzes are willing to go to bat for steak sauce, like Chef Josiah Citrin who associates all his most memorable meals back to it. Whereas John Tesar of Bravo's "Top Chef " is on the opposing team, stating that saucing up a premier steak is "almost sacrilegious" (via Thrillist). Clearly, fervent culinarians aren't shy when it comes to sharing their steak-related opinions.