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Ohio’s Own: Sabauce

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Ohio’s Own: SabaucePhoto by Walker Evans.
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Sabauce can be found at lots of local gourmet grocers … if you know where to look. It’s a locally made marinade for meat, but you won’t find it on the shelves next to the teriyaki and A1. Instead, Sabauce is in the refrigerator section. At Weiland’s, specifically, it’s behind the glass in the butcher case with the meat.

Brightly hued, there are no directions for use on the outside of the bottle, which is fantastic because 1) Everyone knows what to do with marinade anyway and 2) No one enjoys reading instructions. So, the test drive for the bottle of Sabauce used the universal food of marinade: boneless, skinless chicken breasts.* The sauce was dumped on the meat and soaked for seven hours. A post trial investigation did yield an instruction sheet online at Sabauce’s website. The test-kitchen protocol was pretty much what was directed, except the chicken was stored in pyrex instead of the recommended zip-lock bag.

The marinade itself emits a lovely curry aroma right out of the bottle. Once baked, the chicken soaks up the sauce’s red-orange hue and a distinct heat. With the heat comes a complexity on the wings of a lengthy ingredient list. The first ingredient explains the refrigerator-dependence: milk. But add to that mix chili powder, lime juice, cardamom, aniseed and a host of other interesting items, and you have an explanation for the complex flavors. Sabauce’s cumin and turmeric explain the initial curry associations.

The price tag on the marinade isn’t cheap, running between $11 and $11.99. That said, it’s got good coverage. A half-bottle saved five grotesquely large chicken breasts from mediocrity. You can find out more about the marinade, including its history, instructions for use, recipes, and places to pick it up at sabauce.com.

*Chicken surpassed all other meats in retail rankings in 2014, with chicken breasts being the most popular poultry part.

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