Last month, we reported on the existence of Dallas sauce, a beloved condiment in Belgium that purported to bring the bold taste of our city’s food to European fry shops and condiment shelves. But Dallas sauce had never actually been served in Dallas, Texas. Until now.
Our public service campaign to make Dallas embrace its namesake dip reached a new stage. Here at the D offices, we conducted a taste test of Dallas sauce. A few dozen staff members dunked takeout fries in Dallas sauce and offered up their thoughts.
You can watch the results on our Instagram as my colleagues and I try Dallas sauce for the first time, make faces, and rate the sauce on a scale of one to five stars. I also stuck around to chat with our taste testers in more detail. First, I’ll tell you what they thought, in their words, saving my own opinion for the end.
Taste test: the verdicts
Almost everyone enjoyed Dallas sauce. Here were some of the most descriptive comments:
“Tangy. Citrusy. Zingy.”
“It’s thousand island on steroids? But spicy? It’s got like five flavor profiles going on at once.”
“That’s pretty yummy! It takes a second. Ooh, it’s got heat in the back.”
“I would absolutely put that on a burger. Burger, hot dog. I would buy that.”
“It tastes weird by itself, but it is great on potatoes.”
However, the praise was not universal, and critiques often focused on the texture:
“It’s inoffensive. It made me think of other sauces I would rather have.”
“It is really weirdly chunky.”
“Oh my god, it is chunky. It’s pretty good. I would like it better warm. Second taste, still good. I think the appearance of it is what freaked me out a little.”
“It’s good, but I don’t know what is Dallas-y about the taste.”
Several of our taste testers compared Dallas sauce to American fast food sauces:
“It almost looks like Chick-fil-A sauce.”
“It’s like a spicier version of Cane’s sauce.”
“It is like Cane’s sauce. Or In-N-Out sauce, but not as good.”
“It’s chunkier, it’s got mouthfeel. That’s why it’s different from Cane’s. And it’s way spicier than Cane’s. And it’s got that vinegary finish. Cane’s sauce is way more sweet.”
Taste test: the dining critic’s verdict
Know what? I like it too. I went back for seconds, and then I squeezed a bit more on the kebab I’d brought for lunch. The first flavor you get in Dallas sauce is the sweetness of the roasted onions (which also create the chunky texture that proved so divisive among our taste-testers). But then it’s all vinegar, mustard, turmeric, and paprika the rest of the way, creating a peppery aftertaste that lingers for a while. Even when I’d just tasted one fry with Dallas sauce, the spice lingered in my mouth for two or three minutes afterward.
It is not a hot sauce, to be clear. This isn’t some human-versus-food challenge that will make smoke billow out your ears. But it is a flavorful, creamy sauce. In addition to burgers and hot dogs, I could imagine it going into a spicy seafood dish, a cheesesteak, or a fried fish sandwich. If a cup of Dallas sauce came in a fish and chips basket, I would dunk both the fish and the chips.
Because the good people at Brussels Ketjep sent us extra bottles with our order, we have something else planned for the leftover Dallas sauce. Stay tuned. This story is just beginning.