A glass bottle of HP sauce isolated on a white background.
Food - Drink
What Is HP Brown Sauce (& Is It The Same As American Steak Sauce)?
HP Sauce is a condiment beloved in the United Kingdom, developed by grocer Frederick Gibson Garton in 1884 using tomatoes, dates, molasses, soy, and tamarind with fruits, spices, and malt vinegar. When he heard that his sauce was being served at the Houses of Parliament, Garton began selling it as "Garton's H.P. Sauce."
In 1903, Garton sold his recipe to the Midlands Vinegar Factory for just 150 British pounds. HP Sauce became invaluable to the Brits in times of war and food shortages, when the condiment was needed to improve the flavor of bland food, and while it may seem similar to American steak sauces like A.1., it's really quite different.
HP Sauce's ingredients include tomatoes, malt vinegar, molasses, spirit vinegar, sugar, dates, cornflour, rye flour, salt, spices, and tamarind, making for a sweet, savory, and tangy sauce. Meanwhile, A.1. uses tomato puree, vinegar, corn syrup, salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree, and spices for a less sweet and fruity profile.
Some eaters compare the flavor of HP to Worcestershire sauce, which also contains tamarind, and like Worcestershire, HP sauce is versatile enough to be enjoyed with a wide range of dishes, from savory pies to stews and sandwiches. You might also see HP sauce referred to as simply "brown sauce" by fans in the UK.