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What do you mean by "brown sauce"?   Go to last post Go to last unread
#1 Posted : Sunday, September 20, 2020 4:15:30 AM(UTC)

Sorry for what may be a silly question, but for you what is brown sauce? I had always thought it was a thicker version of a Worcesteshire type sauce, which I think is what it is in the UK (where I have lived for 13 years).


However many US recipes refer to brown sauce as for barbecue sauce it looks like, and Heinz has a Barbecue sauce called Brown Sauce.


To complicate things, in France, Sauce Brune is something else entirely, more like a gravy. Other than that one which is usually home made, in  supermarkets, I only have the Heinz version available or Aromes Saveur Maggi, which is like a bottle version of bouillon cube, and looks like Worcestershire. I can find UK brown sauce if I go to specialist British/Irish shops (I do have some available)


Now my question is : what is brown sauce for you and where do you come from or live (bc my guess is your answer might depend on this)? what would you replace brown sauce for if you were me?


For the moment, as I am considering brown sauce for a recipe which calls for it as a marinade ingredient, I am not sure what is the best thing to replace it with? I bought Heinz Brown in the supermarket but I am a bit unsure, especially as the writer is Persian, but lives in the UK.


Thanks for your input!!

#2 Posted : Sunday, September 20, 2020 10:01:42 AM(UTC)

For this Canadian (and if I'm alone/wrong here that's okay :)  "brown sauce" is interpreted as meaning HP Sauce which is an absolute favourite of mine, especially on a breakfast plate of eggs, potatoes & sausage or bacon.

#4 Posted : Sunday, September 20, 2020 3:40:49 PM(UTC)

I think you have described the problem correctly.  Every culture seems to have its own "brown sauce."  Try to figure out the author's origins by looking at where the recipe was published.

#5 Posted : Monday, September 21, 2020 3:49:31 AM(UTC)

I'm English so brown sauce is HP sauce ;)

#6 Posted : Monday, September 21, 2020 8:48:35 AM(UTC)

Yeah HP sauce is what it rang too. But it is not handy to find here and I didn't have the time to go to a British specialty store ...made do with a French version of Heinz Barbecue Sauce, figuring confit duck is good with anything anyway ..


That being said it is not a sub for Hp (or the English brown sauce) ... what would in your opinion, be an appropriate substitute for HP sauce?

#7 Posted : Monday, September 21, 2020 12:59:24 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Agaillard Go to Quoted Post


what would in your opinion, be an appropriate substitute for HP sauce?



I just don't know enough about the US grocery scene to give any meaningful answer.... sorry!


One thing I will note though and purely as an observation is that during  Brexit ( UK leaving Europe) food standards 'discussions' in the media it was pointed out the difference in the ingredients list of Heinz Tomato Ketchup in the US compared to the UK. 

#9 Posted : Monday, September 21, 2020 5:06:17 PM(UTC)

In the Wikipedia article on brown sauce, the only reference to the U.S. says, "The United States has its own various barbecue sauces, although British brown sauces may be found, most notably A.1. Sauce."

#8 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 2:10:46 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Agaillard Go to Quoted Post


That being said it is not a sub for Hp (or the English brown sauce) ... what would in your opinion, be an appropriate substitute for HP sauce?



To note, that I live in Paris (re availability of ingredients),I should have specified... I am exactly in the middle near Chatelet.

#10 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 10:48:49 AM(UTC)

I have not heard the term brown sauce in the US.  White sauce yes.  Steak, bbq, soy, and hot sauce too. Most people would specify Worcestershire and ponzu sauce.  Also different gravies such as loco moco comes with brown gravy.  


This more or less is the same in Japan with the addition of popular tonkatsu sauce. Strangely, hot sauce in Japan is always Tabasco sauce and is pronounced  Tabasuko sauce.  

#11 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:02:37 PM(UTC)

I have also read online that A1 sauce can be used in place of HP sauce but I wonder about that......I really don't think they taste the same.

#12 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:47:31 PM(UTC)

Found this article online, which provides 6 substitutes for HP sauce and explains the differences: https://www.cuisinevault.com/hp-sauce-substitutes/

#3 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 5:30:06 PM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: averythingcooks Go to Quoted Post
For this Canadian (and if I'm alone/wrong here that's okay :)  "brown sauce" is interpreted as meaning HP Sauce which is an absolute favourite of mine, especially on a breakfast plate of eggs, potatoes & sausage or bacon.


which food items do you use HP sauce for in this instance?  Do you also use it as steak and chop sauce?  


Although there is some similarity, I also don't think A1 and HP taste quite the same.  Although I have HP sauce I have not used it yet.  


My aunt uses A1 as a marinade for filet mignons and I also like it that way too for simplicity and taste.   

#14 Posted : Tuesday, September 22, 2020 6:29:26 PM(UTC)

For me, HP is about all things egg......a breakfast plate, breakfast sandwiches on English muffins, even fritattas (depending on the main ingredients).  I also like HP beside any kind of home fries, hash browns, some types of oven roasted potatoes AND beside beef pies & grilled sausages.  I would probably like it with pork chops but definitely not steak.


I don't like A1 as a condiment at all but I have had it in the fridge as some marinades have called for it.  However,  having bought it for a specific recipe, it is is one of those bottles that hangs out for a LONG time.

#15 Posted : Wednesday, September 23, 2020 11:31:11 PM(UTC)

As a brit (besed near Paris) this sounds like HP / Heinz brown to me from a british based writer, unless there is a persian brown sauce genre too.


Have you seen if they are on twitter, they might be happy to answer you themselves. 

#16 Posted : Thursday, September 24, 2020 3:21:34 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Frenchfoodie Go to Quoted Post
Have you seen if they are on twitter, they might be happy to answer you themselves.


I assume the OP means Sabrina Ghayour if so she's fairly active on Instagram..... she's even answered 2 of my questions so might be worth trying there.

#18 Posted : Thursday, September 24, 2020 10:23:06 AM(UTC)

If Sabrina Ghayour says brown sauce she means HP - she's British.

#13 Posted : Friday, September 25, 2020 11:49:32 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Deborah Go to Quoted Post
Found this article online, which provides 6 substitutes for HP sauce and explains the differences: https://www.cuisinevault.com/hp-sauce-substitutes/


I see that suggests A1 steak sauce as the best sub for HP - that's what I usually suggest when Americans ask what HP / Brown Sauce is like, but that's not very helpful in Paris


One reason we don't just say "HP" is that there were many brands in the UK; OK Sauce, Daddies Sauce and others I've forgotten - most of which were too vinegary for my taste. so that generically they are all called brown sauce

#19 Posted : Friday, September 25, 2020 10:06:13 PM(UTC)
Living in the US, I’d think of the now old fashioned Kitchen Bouquet Browning and Seasoning Sauce. But knowing the article was from the UK, I’d guess HP Sauce is what was intended.
#20 Posted : Saturday, September 26, 2020 4:35:05 AM(UTC)

Hey all :) Thank you for all your answers and input. This was for this recipe : https://www.eatyourbooks...k-salad-with-puy-lentils


Because I made it before I had all your answers, I chose after going into three different stores around me, the Monoprix Smoked BBQ sauce as a substitute, on the basis that Monoprix is also stocking HP smoked taste so maybe that might be similar-ish. Next to it was a Heinz BBQ sauce with a subtitle labeled 'brown sauce' but somehow it looked too gravy like.


I really wanted to do the recipe for lunch so did not go to Grande Epicerie de Paris or Lafayette or a specialty shop to look for proper HP, but I might end up trying just for the sake of it!! If someone knows of a good specialty shop selling British goods besides those ? I knew of this one but it closed : L'épicerie anglaise de Paris - 5 cité du Wauxhall - Paris 10?


 Anyway back to brown sauce, this recipe was super delicious with the substitution I made.


Jane, the link you sent is great, and will be my go to from now on.


I too, thought in the UK that A1 and HP were completely different beasts, and while on top of this, I saw different people everywhere in the world using brown sauce for completely different things, that really confused me... lol

#17 Posted : Saturday, September 26, 2020 4:38:29 AM(UTC)

Originally Posted by: Indio32 Go to Quoted Post
I assume the OP means Sabrina Ghayour if so she's fairly active on Instagram..... she's even answered 2 of my questions so might be worth trying there.


Actually I got confused myself because I knew of and tried many of Sabrina Ghayour recipes, but it was Sally Butcher, who is passionate about Persian cooking and has a cafe in Peckham, so pure English ... lol :) she definitely meant HP I think

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