Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Fry sauce — specifically the one sold by Salt Lake City’s Hires Big H — was selected to represent Utah in a new “50 States, 50 Food Gifts” listing.
Utah fry sauce showdown: Which bottle blasts the competition?

Taste test » Are you part of Utah’s fry sauce posse? Tell us what you think of the choices of our staff testers. We rate Arctic Circle and Hires over Stephen’s and Some Dude’s.

By Kathy Stephenson

| The Salt Lake Tribune

First Published Nov 06 2012 07:54 am • Last Updated Mar 06 2013 11:32 pm

Dipping french fries in ketchup is fine for some folks, but here in Utah we prefer fry sauce on our deep-fried spuds.

While local restaurants and burger joints are likely to make their versions of this pale pink condiment — a mixture of ketchup, mayonnaise and spices — there are also four Utah companies that bottle fry sauce so customers can enjoy it at home.

At a glance

Restaurant fry sauce

Now that we’ve told you about Utah’s best bottled fry sauces, it’s time for readers to share their favorite restaurant versions. Email picks to food@sltrib.com, put “fry sauce picks” in the subject line.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Hoping to find out which of these bottled brands is best, the Tribune decided it was time for a Fry Sauce Showdown.

Last week, we gathered 20 staff members — reporters, editors, photographers and page designers — for an informal blind taste test of the four bottled fry sauces made in Utah. Tasters rated each sauce on appearance as well as how it tasted alone and with french fries. Sauces were scored on a scale from 1 (disgusting) to 10 (excellent).

After much dipping — and some grimacing — tasters decided you just can’t beat the Arctic Circle’s Original Fry Sauce. This flavorful, well balanced sauce averaged a score of 7.

Hires Big H Fry Sauce was a close second with an average score of 6.5. Stephen’s Gourmet Fry Sauce earned a 5.5, while Some Dude’s Fry Sauce scored an average of 4.5.

It should be noted that Utah grocery stores also sell a fry sauce made by the Famous Dave’s barbecue restaurant chain. It wasn’t included in our taste test because any fry sauce made in Minnesota should be despised much like — insert cowboy twang here — salsa from New York City.

Here are the details about our fry sauce contenders and what our judges had to say.

­—

First » Arctic Circle’s Original Fry Sauce


story continues below
story continues below

This is the sauce that started it all. In the early 1940s, Chef don Carlos Edwards created his signature "pink sauce" for the hamburgers at his restaurant. By chance, he dipped a French fry in it and the Utah fry sauce phenomenon was born. This was the only sauce in our taste test that required refrigeration before opening. We suspect that freshness played a part in its top scores.

Main ingredients » Tomato concentrate, soybean oil, whole eggs, distilled vinegar, high-fructose corn syrup and water.

Cost » $4.30 for a 16-ounce bottle.

Where to buy » Arctic Circle restaurants.

What the tasters said » This sauce had the "best balance," as well as a "nice texture,"and the "most flavor" of all the competitors, tasters wrote. It also was the only one that "didn’t overpower the fry." Two of the tasters gave this sauce a 10 — the highest score possible. One clever tester noted that french fries and this sauce "are the perfect pairing. Think Donnie and Marie, Brad and Angelina, Bert and Ernie."

Second » Hires Big H Famous Hamburger & Fry Sauce

Salt Lake City’s Hires Drive-In, founded in 1959, is famous for its Big H hamburger and frosty mugs of root beer, served with a side order of hand-cut fries and this original fry sauce.

Main ingredients » Tomato concentrate, soybean oil, water, high-fructose corn syrup, vinegar and whole eggs.

Cost » $4.59 for a 16-ounce bottle*

Where to buy » Associated Food stores and online

What the tasters said » "This is the best, most savory sauce of the four," wrote one taster. "It has an even taste with a good tanginess," added another. The taster who ranked this a 10 liked the sauce because it has a "touch of sass" and "blends really nicely with the salty fries." Not everyone was complimentary. A few tasters complained that it was "bland," or had "too much mayo." "Let’s put it this way," wrote one editor, "it didn’t move me."

Third » Stephen’s Gourmet Fry Sauce

This is Utah’s newest addition to the bottled fry sauce line-up, and its name may sound familiar because it’s made by the same folks who make Stephen’s Gourmet Hot Cocoa.

Main ingredients » Soybean oil, water, tomato concentrate, eggs, corn syrup and high-fructose corn syrup

Cost » $3.45 for a 16-ounce bottle*

Where to buy » WinCo, Smith’s Food and Drug and all Associated Food stores

What the tasters said » Several tasters praised this "slightly sweet" and "creamy" sauce for being "tangy" and "bringing out the flavor of fry." It also had "a uniform consistency" that "looks fresh." Others offered harsh criticism saying it was "nondescript," "a bit to sweet" and had "too much mayo."

Fourth » Some Dude’s Fry Sauce

Michael Thompson, a former Union Pacific Railroad employee, started this Utah fry sauce company in 1991 at the urging of his four children. More than 20 years later, it’s available in stores across the Intermountain West.

Main Ingredients » Soybean oil, tomatoes, water, vinegar, eggs, Sante Fe chiles and corn syrup.

Cost »$3.89 for a 17.5 ounce bottle*

Where to buy »Wal-Mart, Winco Foods, Albertsons, Target, Associated Foods stores and Smith’s

What the tasters said »Tasters were all over the map on this sauce, with several saying it had a "good sweetness" that complemented the salty fries. But others thought it tasted "bland" and had a "strong mayo flavor," which made us think it might be better as a hamburger spread.

*Prices vary depending on the store.

kathys@sltrib.com



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.