Monday, June 11, 2007

Jam Zone Roundtable Dish: Condiments

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca - "Sugar, salt, and pepper are considered by some to be the most essential condiments." This coming from someone who has obviously never really topped off his/her breakfast sando, 6 pc. wings, order of fries, pizza crust, two pieces of bread, or tacos with one of many incredible condiments that make up the canon of flavor enhancement we all know and love.

With summer, the unofficial condiment season, upon us, we set out to once and for all settle the age old question of which is in fact the best condiment out there.

Resident jammers, Ben-Jammin, Greens, Brandy, King, and our newest member Corndog all weighed in, now let's get down to it....



Barbecue sauce trumps ketchup. Bleu cheese trumps ranch. Both ketchup and ranch have their place, as ketchup and mayo on a burger is splendid and ranch on fried green tomatoes is also a jam.

Frank's Red Hot, or buffalo sauce in general, is likely the most versatile condiment.

Underrated condiments: horseradish mayo and tartar sauce. Some might say that tartar sauce is for the plebes, but let's be combines with lemon to make your fish and chips better.

For my french fries, give me vinegar, give me barbecue sauce, give me buffalo sauce, give me anything to scoop up. French fries are just a vehicle for condiments.

Condiment question: where do salsa and guacamole belong? Are they of the dip family or are they true condiments?


I'm pretty into condiments. The best condiments either allude to or actually contain other condiments as major ingredients. I speak of tartar sauce, bbq sauce, etc. I also like it when a sandwich is sauced with a variety of condiments with a fine affinity for one another. When I talk about condiments I am usually talking about what makes a sandwich and whatever comes on side tasty. Mayo-catsup-mustard is the Holy Trinity. Good for bread, cheese, meat (turkey or chicken or fish in my case), fries, rings, or whatever. I hated sweet relish for ages but one day I jammed a sandwich with it in concert with mayo-catsup-Sriracha and I lost my mind. Sriracha is my favorite and most feared condiment. It tastes good as hell but it takes possession of whatever it is you're eating. It tastes so good you're compelled to put it on everything and you jam with gusto but, at the same time, while everything does taste great to you, it's all the same -- you're addicted to the uniformity of flavor. Soon it goes on everything from pizza to burritos to eggs to bloody mary mixes and you can't really handle eating anything without it. I've eaten it on slice after slice of white bread before and been completely incapable of stopping. That's when you have to detox for a little while and literally refuse to look at it in stores when you're shopping. For the record, I'm on that tip currently.

Re: guac, etc. Guacamole is a condiment if its on a sandwich and excellent with a turkey and swiss vibe. It's a dip if some womenfolk be dipping baked lays and carrots into it and talking about shoes. It is a jam if it is on some beans, rice, salsa, onions, and cheese and meat wrapped in a huge flour tortilla and rolled up. Salsa I never fuck with aside from Mexican really.


Let me throw this out there:

Major Grey Mango Chutney. Give me a fucking pile of yellow curry chicken on rice, slam about 6 cups of Major Gray on top, and you have a monster jam.

Now, as far as the classics are concerned, mustard is king on burgers, unless we are talking the all time classic, the Alpine Burger (swiss cheese, grilled mushrooms, bacon), then BBQ is necessary to power the jam. Tabasco is king for anything Mexican, and mayo can be nice when used in strict moderation, but is usually not my jam.

Here are a few things to think about:

Honey mustard?
Stoneground mustard?
Classic yellow?


McDonald's sweet and sour sauce is very dear to me.

And any thousand island type shit (In-N-Out's) is rocking...

CORNDOG (newest jammer)

First of all...Tabasco over Tapatio? I think not. Tapatio is the jam for all things Mexican. How about some Mae Ploy sweet chili sauce that you get in Chinatown? That shit is a jam condiment on all things Asian, as well as on some Kraft Mac and Cheese.

Blend of A-1, Ketchup, Grey Poupon, and a bit of mayo is pretty sick. Thoughts?


Hot Sauces: Tabasco is a hard sell. It adds heat but no flavor. Fine for adding some minor "zing" to a batch of deviled eggie-weggs but ill-suited for the doctoring up of dishes immediately prior to consumption. In my opinion I don't like the watery vinegar vibe. Will only use it if nothing else is available. Sriracha aside, Tapatio is good. However, I do actually prefer Cholula as a basic splashing sauce of reasonable heat and complexity. That neon green habanero shit they have at El Metate is the next level.

Mustards: I have no major stance here. I opt for that Poupon more often than not but that is largely out of habit as I grew up with it. I don't usually do spicy mustard as any place mustard goes on my plate is already likely to be saturdated with Srirachi or Cholula. Yellow mustard is aight too. I usually do just a little mustard on a sandwich if any at all.

Generally-speaking, mayo + sweet + acidity + spice + smoke flavoring = Delivers Jam Results

Oh shit -- I almost forgot. My favorite left-field condiment of all time is plum sauce, that which one would receive alongside white pancakes in an order of mu shu something from a mainstream Chinese eatery. Sticky, incredibly sweet, and full of msg. I don't know what else to put it on besides fried rice or grilled chicken or whatever, but it is good.


Cholula > Tapatio > Tabasco, though Cholula and the tap are close, and Tabasco is way behind.

I second Pat's In-N-Out thousand-islandy condiment love.

Another underrated condiment: fish sauce. Bun dishes at Vietnamese restaurants are nothing without it.

I nearly forgot peanut sauce. That stuff jams hard. Really hard.

I haven't ever really gotten into the condiment combinations. I'm sure there are some delicious amalgamations. Mayonnaise seems to be a key factor in the mix.


So there you have it folks. Jamzone gives an aggressive thumbs up to Peanut Sauce and Tapatio. Thousand Islo is a TKO. Sriracha is intoxicating and amazing on pretty much anything. Guac, like all sauces being utilized for dipping morphs into an amazing condiment the moment it is applied atop any appropriate jam ie. a sando or a burrito and is pretty damn good all the time. Lastly, with all that said, a re-circulating theme among our resident jammers is that standing quietly among them all might be the most humble of the King condiments, that being Sir Mayo. Either a stoic base to other jams or proudly on it's own, Mayo is incredible. Ultimately, however, which condiment holds the true crown is up to you the jammer and that's why we ask You our wonderful reader to get aggressive and post a comment with your favorite condiment and why.


At 9:50 AM, Anonymous half said...

1st of all: Ranch-on-the-Side.

2nd. STOP HATING ON TABASCO. Its good and it has its spot on the hot sauce spectrum.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Greens said...

I'm with you there half. And green tabasco is an unquestionable jam.

At 8:40 AM, Anonymous p said...

I like Ranch Ranch Ranch for anything but salade. Especially pizza, fries, and eggs. Eating Tabasco-doused food is better than eating bland food but Tabasco doesn't stand strong when real sauces step up. It has a place on the spectrum and poverty is it -- as far as thizz Jammer goes. But unto every Man his own Jam. Green is a little better than the regular.


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