Henry Bain's Sauce
THANKS TO A LOUISVILLIAN NAMED HENRY BAIN, A DELICIOUS CONCOCTION OF CHUTNEY, KETCHUP, AND STEAK SAUCE COMBINED TO BECOME A LEGENDARY CONDIMENT ON THE BEST KENTUCKY TABLES.
Henry Bain’s sauce, often referred to as a condiment, was whipped up by Bain at Louisville’s Pendennis Club. Bain, who lived from 1863 to 1928, was one of the first employees of the private club and he eventually became the head waiter.
He’s credited with creating his namesake sauce for steaks and the meat of local game. Club members reportedly liked Henry Bain’s sauce so much that they would use it as a way to recruit new members. Along with their kills after a day of hunting, they would bring potential members to the club and show off Henry Bain’s sauce.
Henry Bain’s sauce is believed to have inspired the concept of dealing with “gamey” tastes by using strong vinegar, tomato and fruit overtones for balance. Though the original recipe is still a closely guarded club secret, many Kentucky cooks have tried to duplicate the taste with various takes over the years. One ingredient that was thought to be an original component is pickled walnuts, which though abundant in the early 1900’s because many people pickled their own Kentucky walnuts, are now harder to find.
In 2009, the Pendennis Club started bottling Henry’s secret recipe and offering it for retail. Now you can stock up on the savory sauce at many gourmet stores in the Louisville area or make this version at home.
Henry Bain Inspired Sauce
1 cup ketchup
1 cup chutney
¾ cup steak sauce
¾ cup chili sauce
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
¼ cup pickled walnuts (optional)
1 T Kentucky Bourbon
1 tsp hot sauce
In a food processor or blender, pulse the chutney and pickled walnuts (if using) together until for a few seconds until densest fruits are lightly chopped.
Add the rest of the ingredients and pulse again just until mixed to keep some texture to the sauce.
Serve with meats, game or fish. Keeps for weeks in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
Makes approximately 4 cups. (Great for hostess gifts in decorative jars).
- Recipe adapted for Bourbon and Biscuits ® from several vintage Kentucky cookbooks