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Central Standard

Food Critics: The Best Sauces In Kansas City In 2018

Nicole Lee
All of KCUR's Food Critics are fans of chimichurri sauce, an Argentinian steak sauce, but all stipulated that a good one needs to be made fresh.

Sure, you know Kansas City has barbecue sauces, but is there more?

Central Standard's host Gina Kaufmann has a theory: This place is a sauce town, and not of just one variety.

She came to the conclusion last year when Central Standard's Food Critics chatted about guilty pleasure foods. During that segment, many listeners chimed in to say that their guilty pleasures weren't main dishes, sides or even desserts, but the sauces that come with those things.

Today, the Food Critics gave us their picks for the best local flavors for drizzles, dollops and dips. 

Charles Ferruzza, KCUR Food Critic 

  • Blue Koi — Awesome sauce. It's so awesome it makes even fried tofu (the world's most boring food) taste delicious.
  • Piropos — chimichurri sauce. It's a truly Argentinian restaurant. The chimichurri is extremely fresh.
  • Waldo Thai— dipping sauce. Great appetizer dipping sauce. Very light on the fish sauce and very heavy on all of the good stuff.
  • Rosedale BBQ — classic. Not a fan of a ton of barbecue sauce, but enjoy the one here.

Jenny VergaraFeast Magazine:

  • Char Bar — Meat Mitch table barbecue sauce. 
  • Bichlemeyers Meats— Dad's Comeback barbecue sauce. In the south, comeback sauce is a condiment. It is often a mixture of mayonnaise, ketchup, pepper, Worcestershire sauce, onion and garlic. It's used as a dip, sauce and spread for everything. Here in Kansas City, the Bichelmeyers have made it into a barbecue sauce and you can pick it up at their butcher shop in Kansas City, Kansas. 
  • Joe's Kansas City — whiskey barbecue sauce. This is a phantom sauce. It rolled out late last year and ultimately sold out.
  • Common Descent Provisions— Snake Wine, Toe Licker and Thunder Punch sauces. Toe Licker is hot, and ingredients include tomato, chilies and garlic honey powder. Snake wine is a green sauce. Dr. Thunder Punch is mild and sweeter, with coconut.
  • Restaurant at 1900 — red pepper sauce. Not available for purchase (yet) but Chef Andy McCormick has been making this sauce for several years.
  • Broadway Butcher Shop — queso con carne. It is rich, a little spicy, and decadent, full of chucks of trim beef from the butcher shop. You can eat this like a dip or pour it over corn chips or a burrito, or mix it into any casserole for a kick.
  • KC Canning Co. — black garlic paste. Fermented garlic ground into a paste has a more mellow flavor — a toasty, licorice, umami flavor. It's perfect for Asian stir-fry. You can mix some into a pan with olive oil and top it with pasta and vegetables.
  • Jasper's— marinara sauce. Not too thick, not too runny, full of fresh tomato, garlic and not a lot of sugar. Next to making my own, it's my favorite local jarred pasta sauce.
  • Borgman's Dairy Farm— Cajeta. A rich, delicious caramel sauce made out of goat's milk. It is funky and complex, a total treat compared to the jarred caramel sauce you buy at the grocery store. 
  • Crum's Heirloom — apple butter. I bought this a few years ago at Broadway Butcher Shop and haven't found it since then. It was great as a sauce on pork tenderloin.
  • KC Jam Co.— sand plum jam. Sweet and sour. You can buy it online with a loaf of homemade beer bread.
  • French Market— vinaigrette. I've stopped buying salad dressings and now make them insead, but I make an exception for this vinaigrette because of high-quality ingredients.

Mary BlochAround The Block:

  • Extra Virgin— romesco sauce. The potatoes bravas are an addictive appetizer, cut like chips and smothered with a smoky romesco sauce. 
  • Port Fonda  — salsas. All of them. 
  • El Patronand Cacao —  mole. I love chicken smothered with it.
  • Princess Garden — Harvest pork sauce. It's a garlicky bean sauce. Vegetarians can ask for the sauce with vegetables. 
  • Corvino Supper Club —  XO sauce. Served with fries, the XO sauce is a spicy, delightfully crunchy mix of dried scallops, shrimp and chiles along with cured ham, oil and seasonings.
  • Lidia's — Caesar salad dressing. This is my favorite. 
  • Joe's Kansas Cityand Gates —  barbecue sauce. These are fighting words, but Joe's and Gates are my favorite barbecue sauces in Kansas City. 
  • Bella Napoli — Amatriciana pasta sauce. 
  • Rye and Bluestem — chimichurri sauce comes with the hangar steak dishes at both of these joints. It's a great dipping sauce. 

Kathleen Pointer is a digital and associate producer for KCUR's talk shows, Up To Date and Central Standard. Reach out to her at kathleenp@kcur.org or find her on Twitter, @kathleenpointer