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what is HP Sauce and what does it taste like?

I have seen this bottle called HP sauce in my Publix grocery store here in Florida. Located in the ethnic section even though I think it is from England what does it taste like and how should I use it?? as a marinade, side sauce or cooking sauce??

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  1. Husband Pleasing Steak Sauce! (That was one of their ad campaigns, some years ago.)

    I believe it's similar to A-1.

    1. In Britain it's the biggest seller of our "brown sauces". Use as a sauce much as you might with ketchup (which in some places we might call "red sauce"). Difficult to describe the taste precisely but perhaps think of it as a very vinegary ketchup. It's traditional use would be on the side with a fried breakfast. Or any sausage dish.

      1. it's HP after the Houses of Parliament of which there is a silhouette on the label.

        It's a little thinner and runnier than ketchup, slightly vinegary, slightly spicy and fruity. I love a dash of it in my shepherd's pie to spice it up a little, but it's great with fried eggs, veggie baked beans and fried tomatoes with toast. I don't think it's too much like A1 which is even runnier and stronger tasting.
        try it.

        1. HP first six ingredients: Water, vinegar, dates, tomato paste, molasses, tamarind

          A1 first six:Tomato puree (water, tomato paste), vinegar,corn syrup, salt, raisin paste, crushed orange puree

          5 Replies
          1. re: Cathy

            Thank you for your replies i will try it

            1. re: pikiliz

              Once you try HP with eggs, you'll never go back to ketchup! It also goes great with cheese - either with a grilled cheese sandwich, or cheese melted on toast, or just a cheese plate. The sharpness of HP contrasts very nicely with the creaminess of the cheese.

              A-1 is a close approximation, but it's runnier, so it doesn't adhere to the food as well as HP. When I travel to the US, where HP is virtually unknown, I ask for A-1 with my breakfast. Never fails to get a curious stare from the waitress.

            2. re: Cathy

              Interesting - I think the American product must be made to a slightly different formula to the UK original, based on the ingredients you list. Our labelling laws don't require water to be mentioned on such as a product but first six listed in order of volume - malt vinegar (from barley), tomatoes, molasses, spirit vinegar, glucose-fructose syrup, dates.

              1. re: Harters

                I looked at a bottle the other day that had that ingredients list. I noted in particular the 'glucose-fructose syrup' which also had '(from wheat)'. It was marked as a product of Holland. That syrup is a European equivalent to HFCS.

                1. re: paulj

                  HP Foods must have manufacturing plants all over Europe - my current bottle was produced in Spain.

            3. I like HP sauce. To me it's thicker and less sharp than A1 but very flavorful.

              1. My uncle who grew up in Galway has HP shipped over. Says you simply cannot get the real version here in the states. He uses it on everything, though it is only on the table at breakfast time.

                1. Tried on eggs this today I have to say pretty good well really good but very pricey

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: pikiliz

                    lived in the south of scotland when i was a kid. at lunch time all the highschool kids would go acrooss the street to the chip shop for chip rolls with "brown sauce". I love it with sausage and eggs over easy. thanks for reminding me, i have to get a bottle!

                  2. As a Floridian Brit, I miss HP sauce in every diner. The closest US equivalent is indeed A1 steak sauce, but HP is much thicker.
                    I used to drive past the factory in Birmingham UK every day and knew a few of the workers who claimed that the key ingredient was tamarinds (as well as the ubiquitous 'secret blend of spices').
                    There has recently been outrage over the reduced salt recipe - almost akin to when Coca Cola changed the Coke recipe.

                    HP sauce is available in US but the importation and shipping costs make it very expensive over here. For real fans like me, it is available from Amazon, or by the case from Walmart (12 bottles for $78 - yep, that's expensive!)

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Boffy

                      You can find HP Sauce in the British Food sections in Publix too.

                    2. I put HP on an English muffie that has been o'erspread with deviled ham, shaved gruyere, and then broiled till the cheese melts slightly.

                      1 Reply
                      1. One popular use in the UK is a Bacon Butty.basically like a Kaiser roll with British style Bacon and some HP....wonderful. I sometimes make it here in the US, but usually have to use US style bacon (thick cut)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                          I'm a ketchup man for the bacon butty - but HP for the sausage butty.

                        2. I've looked over the site and there appears to be a big HP sauce v A1 steak sauce debate going on.
                          One person even claims that using HP instead of A1 ruined her etouffee.
                          Its all a question of taste really - I like both, but to complain that HP isn't as good is like saying that an apple pie isn't as good as a pear pie and that putting pears in a pie 'ruined' the pie....they may be similar, but they are not the same. One is as good as another.
                          I found out some interesting facts.
                          A1 sauce is a British recipe (1821) and HP is too (a latecomer - 1895). Both brands are now American owned. Kraft owns A1, and Heinz own HP.
                          HP, despite having the Houses of Parliament on the label, is no longer made in the UK - it is made in the Netherlands for the European market and in Ontario for the Americas.
                          HP accounts for 74% of the UK brown sauce market.
                          Wow! Old favorites like Daddies and Branston sauces must be very low down the table when all of the supermarket 'own brands' are taken into account.

                          Myself, I reckon its best with sausages, bacon and 'black pudding' (blutwurst - pigs blood sausage). I do like Perilagau's suggestion. That sounds great!

                          I'm sure the debate will continue in the same way as Coke v Pepsi or Marmite v Vegemite.
                          I like them all and thrill to diversity.
                          Pass me some bacon please. I'll choose my sauce when it gets here.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Boffy

                            Has Heinz always owned Ploughman's Pickle? The Khantessa spent lots of time in the UK back in the 80s and loved Ploughman's Pickle, but she never mentioned it being produced by Heinz.

                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                              Yeah. I think that Ploughmans pickle has always been Heinz. I don't remember any other brand.
                              But then again, the 'ploughmans lunch' is a recent (1960's) marketing invention.


                              I guess that Heinz picked up on the marketing idea and named their chutney appropriately so that it would be synonymous with the ploughmans lunch and they would therefore sell more of their brand of chutney.

                              1. re: Boffy

                                Surely the discerning luncher would only ever have Branston with a ploughman's.

                                1. re: Harters

                                  Wife says both were on offer in the pubs she visited, and that she prefered the Ploughman's.

                                  1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                    I wonder if the Khantessa ever came across Pan Yan PIckle? Used to be very popular. Invented in 1907, it went out of production in around 2002. Shortly after, a fire at the company's premises destroyed the only copy of the recipe.

                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Bloody shame about the fire.

                                      And the Khantessa has never mentioned it, but I'll ask her.

                                      Was the stuff invented in Hong Kong?

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Invented and manufactured in London. But it was a time when "the east" was quite fascinating, hence the oriental sounding name, apparently.

                          2. I find that it is a slightly hotter sauce than A1 often found in British stores. You can get three types in Canada, fruity, regular and now spicy.

                            1. Dark brown vinegary vile stuff, HP and A1. Never acquired a taste for either one of them. Can't imagine the attraction.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: nlgardener

                                The attraction is that it tastes good.

                                1. re: ferret

                                  I like both A1 and HP, but A1 is a little better because it has a sharper taste.

                              2. I love that stuff so much that I considered stealing the bottle from a restaurant at Heathrow (and leaving a big tip), but then I remembered the whole liquids on the plane thing :/

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: alliegator

                                  Sighs...next time, Eat in a Restaurant beyond security!