The Real Reason Alton Brown Prefers Duke's Brand Mayonnaise

It's easy to understand why mayonnaise is a staple in Alton Brown's kitchen. Though its primary function is a sandwich condiment, mayonnaise is incredibly versatile. Not only can you use it in dips and dressings for recipes like potato salad and coleslaw, it's also Brown's secret to achieving moist cake and perfectly seared steak (via Kitchn). Whatever recipe you're making, there's the right type of mayonnaise for it. 

Kewpie mayo, which is the go-to for Japanese cooking, uses egg yolks instead of the whole egg, includes MSG, and uses a combination of rice wine, red wine, apple cider, and distilled vinegars instead of white vinegar. If you browse the condiment aisle, you'll also see mayonnaise made with olive oil, mayonnaise that's vegan friendly or fat free, and a variety of brands that all taste somewhat different. Celebrity chef Julia Child, for example, swore by Hellman's for tuna salad. Brown on the other hand, shared in a YouTube video that Duke's is his preferred brand of mayonnaise.

He likes tangier mayonnaise

Duke's mayonnaise is a known favorite of many southerners, but that's not the reason Brown likes it so much. Instead it's the type of vinegar used in the brand's recipe. Mayonnaise in its most basic form consists of eggs, acid, and oil, but the type of acid you use can really change the flavor. Some recipes call for lemon juice, and most commercially produced mayos use distilled vinegar, Eat This, Not That! shares, but Duke's calls for both distilled and apple cider vinegar. 

According to Brown, that apple cider vinegar makes all the difference (via YouTube). As The Kitchen Chalkboard explains, apple cider vinegar makes mayonnaise taste tangier. This tanginess isn't counteracted by any sugar, an ingredient included in other mayonnaise brands. My Gustatorium adds that apple cider vinegar has a much lower acidity level, so it's mild compared to other types of vinegar. This means the mayonnaise will be tangy but not overly vinegary, and will still be properly emulsified. For Brown, that's the best type of store bought mayonnaise.