A great sauce will take a good dish to a sublime level.

When the classic kitchen brigade was formed in the 19th century by French chef Georges Auguste Escoffier, the position of saucier was created which remains a role of importance in fine-dining kitchens and hotels worldwide. This individual is responsible for memorable palate pleasing sauces. Matching the right type of sauce flavorings with a center-of-the-plate item is a true art. But fear not, it is an art that can be learned. This is a crash course with some simple sauce flavor directions that pair with popular menu items to wow guests.


While pork is a mild flavored meat, it does pair well with robust flavors. Ingredients such as dried or fresh fruits, mustard, cayenne, white wine, beer — no darker than amber, sage, thyme, basil, oregano, coriander, garlic, and onion citrus are all good options. Gin and vodka can add some interesting flavors. With a lean meat, sauces that contain fat such as heavy cream and butter are perfect matches. Jams and jellies can also add a palate punch to your sauce, and chutneys are a great choice as well.


With deep palate flavors and marbling ingredients, beef should be paired with those same deep flavor profiles. Cabernet and Pinot Noir are good flavorings along with other options in the red wine family. Stouts and comparable dark beers are able to stand up to the rich flavor of beef, while bourbon and whiskey are great alternative flavorings. Mushrooms are an excellent sauce choice to pair with beef, with basil, rosemary, and thyme being excellent spices and herbs from which to choose. Butter, or compound butters more precisely, are simple to prepare and always palate pleasing with beef.


Get SaucyThis meat is mild in flavor and lean with little or no marbling. It’s important to be gentle with flavorings so that the delicate flavor can be enjoyed properly. White wine is a great go-to for flavor, and sweeter wines such as Marsala and sherry can be used but make sure to balance the flavor. Cognac and brandy can function as nice sauce additives, while chervil, parsley, ginger, saffron, and tarragon can also add great flavors.


White meat is mild in flavor while dark meat tends to be much more complex and rich, and the fat and skin provide additional complexity in taste. Mustard, cumin, chili powder, sage, mint, cilantro, rosemary, honey, and marjoram can fun to use when paired with chicken. Citrus juice is a great selection to brighten flavors as well.

Goose, Quail, and Duck

These are the fattiest poultry selections with rich and full-bodied flavors. The same flavors used with beef such as red wine, port, and sherry stand up well to enhance these birds. Darker beers such as stouts are nice selections, while bourbon and whiskey can be strong choices as well. Garlic, onion, tarragon, sage, honey, and ginger can also add great punches of taste. Dried and fresh berries, jams and jellies serve as excellent palate enhancers too.


Being grass fed, imported lamb tends to be more robust in flavor than the domestic, grain-fed options, but both have a wonderful, complex flavor. Red wine, cognac, brandy, Marsala, sherry, and port can add crucial complexity to your sauce. Mint, rosemary, marjoram, and chervil are common flavorings, along with jams, jellies, amber and darker beers, bourbon, and whiskey.

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