We all love a barbecue on a balmy, sunny day. Time Out selects its favourite sauces for well-grilled courses.
We all love a barbecue on a balmy, sunny day. But when your steak emerges tougher than 50 Cent’s bodyguard and as tasty as a tramp’s trainers, you know you’ve made a simple but common mistake: you forgot to marinate, bozo.
After just a few hours in the fridge, a marinade’s acidic content helps to tenderise the meat, allowing it to absorb flavoursome herbs and spices, and making your steak less like a char-grilled mouse mat.
Time Out slathered five obdurate lumps of rump with five barbecue marinades, and gave them a proper grilling.
A1 Steakhouse Classic Dhs15.50 4/7 A is for astringent, as this tart, spicy and gum-pummellingly citrussy marinade evidently illustrates. As a result, it lashes the meat into a stupefied state of submission, making it deferentially tender and susceptible to flavour. A rump steak smothered in this stuff practically chews itself, but do you really want your meat to taste like a lemon orchard? It’s far too acidic to be slapped on your plate as a side sauce, unless you really want your lips to recede over the back of your head with the bitterness. It’d make backchat easier, I suppose.
American Garden BBQ Sauce Dhs5.95 3/7 In terms of smokiness, this marinade is redolent of one of Queen Elizabeth II’s corgi dogs the day Windsor Castle burnt down. The sauce imbues the steak with a subtle and refined barbecue flavour, but it has a lingering sweetness that keeps on giving. Unfortunately, its effectiveness as a tenderising agent appears to have been overlooked, which you will no doubt discover when your teeth have been ground down to the nerve. Take a leaf out of the British royals’ book and ditch your beefsteak for a nice tender swan fillet instead – the Queen Mother used to swear by it.
HP BBQ Sauce Classic Dhs7.95 0/7 As everybody knows, traditional HP sauce is a delicacy more prized than tuber magnatum truffles, beluga caviar and wagyu beef on a solid gold platter floating in a swimming pool full of vintage Dom Pérignon. So this wishy-washy barbecue variant comes as an earth-shattering shock for sauce aficionados. To taste, it’s weak, vaguely smoky, and slightly vinegary, while its tenderising properties are about as effective as a bucket of cement. Quite frankly, it’s a black mark against the esteemed name of HP, and everybody associated with it should be thoroughly disgusted with themselves.
Hunt’s Hickory BBQ Sauce Dhs6.95 6/7 Tally ho! Hunt’s unleashes the hounds upon a petrified strip of steak with this silky yet substantial sauce-cum-marinade. A pack of charred flavours chases into every nook and cranny of your rump, baying at its very fibres and tearing its stubbornness to shreds. In the aftermath, a raft of mellow scents permeates the meat, lingering deep in its ruddy flesh and glazing its textured hide, rendering it cool, smooth and smoky – a bit like JayZ if he ever ended up in the electric chair.
Mrs Ball’s Smoky BBQ Sauce Dhs8.25 2/7 If Mrs Ball isn’t a feeble old granny, knitting idly in a wheelchair somewhere while occasionally breaking wind, then she must be dearly departed by now. This might explain why her smoky BBQ sauce is as limp and lame as a gnat’s right hook. The marinade fails monumentally to get a grip of your steak, resulting in a desultorily unfocused piece of meat that offers little in the way of flavour or tenderness. It’s very sweet as a dipping sauce, but so is maple syrup, and you don’t want that slapped all over your sirloin. Sadly, Mrs Ball’s hasn’t got any.