Lost in the Sauce: The Ultimate Condiment Ranking

2 mins read

Sauce! Sauce! Sauce! Regardless of what you eat, we can all agree that nothing will elevate your palate like a good ol’ side of sauce. But before you get lost in the sauce, let’s dive deep—real deep—into which sauces deserve a spot in your life. Buckle up, ‘cause it’s time to get saucy.

Before we got started, as with any serious experiment, I needed to set a control food that would compliment the flavors of any type of sauce—sweet, salty, and even tangy. The control: french fries. I am a firm believer that any unpalatable french fry derives its mediocrity from the sauce, not its deep-fried potato-y essence.

Now that I had set the law of the land, I gathered the coveted sauces and french fries. I was ready to begin my tests.

A late-night fast food run to heal the soul.


First, I grabbed the famous Chick-fil-A sauce, which in their words is a “classic dipping sauce with notes of honey mustard and a smoky tang.” As the description implies, this sauce has a sweet mustard taste well-balanced with the sweetness of the honey. Despite having many other options for sauce, the original Chick-fil-A sauce is undoubtedly the staple of their entire menu. People come to Chick-fil-A for the sauce, and I quickly realized why.


A super artsy sauce pour.

Next, I went to In-N-Out to get my hands on their “special sauce.” Initially, I was intrigued by what was behind this super-special secret sauce, but my amateur taste buds were able to decipher the flavor: mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, and onions. So… Thousand Islands dressing. Though I prefer to keep my sauces smooth—that applies to you too, peanut butter—I thoroughly enjoyed the little bites of crunch in the sauce from the relish. While I must agree that the sauce is best on their hamburgers, it still tasted great with the fries.


Another artsy sauce pic.

Afterward, I went back to McDonald’s, to try two of their most popular sauces. First I grabbed a BBQ sauce, and then I got my hands on some “Big Mac sauce.”  Before this experiment, I had never heard of Big Mac sauce, and its mere name is truly terrifying. However, my anticipation to try this mysterious sauce was through the roof. Of course, I ordered a Big Mac to try this sauce on, and I am happy to report that it tasted delicious. It was very similar to the In-N-Out secret sauce but had a bit more of the pickled relish. That being said, I was dismayed that I couldn’t order it on its own because all good sauces should be versatile and not restricted to just hamburgers.

Still, I looked past my qualms to taste the BBQ sauce. To be transparent, I am not usually a fan of BBQ sauces or any barbeque-flavored foods. Despite that, I enjoyed McDonald’s BBQ sauce. It had a very subtle smokey taste but was more sweet than anything else. While the average BBQ fan may not gravitate toward this sauce, I think that it complimented the fries nicely.

The gruesome aftermath of a McDonald’s feast.

The Verdict

Ultimately, after a lengthy investigation, I concluded that the In-N-Out sauce was the best. It had the best balance of salty and tangy flavors and tasted great with the fries and burgers.

After a long expedition of “tasteful” experimentation, it was time to retire my saucy judgment and take a trip back to In-N-Out, the newly-crowned winner of the sauces.

Tiffany is a senior at M-A. She enjoys writing about local events and culture on campus. She is also a member of M-A’s Dance Team and dances competitively.

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