Need an umami/savory boost for ground beef, besides Worstershire.

Joined May 6, 2011
Hi all,

I'm working on a ground beef & pork recipe that I was pretty happy with until one of my tasters said "Mmmm, I really love the hint of Worstershire!" :mad:

I thought I had added just enough to give the dish a good savory kick without being too Worstershirey, but apparently it's distinctive enough that one in ten of my friends can recognize it.

So, I'm now looking for alternatives. I'm going to try fish sauce, soy sauce, mushrooms, and tomato paste, (not all at once, lol) but any suggestions would be most welcome. I'm looking for something natural and hopefully affordable, but is neutral enough that it doesn't have it's own distinctive, recognizable flavor.

BTW, I'm using natural, grain fed Angus 90/10 and natural pork 80/20.

Thanks :)
Joined Feb 3, 2011
If you love the Worstershire the obvious one would be Worstershire Relish. Same Same but different.

Otherwise a mix of your beloved Worstershire (splash) a heaped Tbl of your favourite hoisin and a Tbl spoon of sour cream.
Joined Apr 3, 2008
What's the dish you're working on?  And what's wrong with one person being able to identify an ingredient?  It probably means they have some culinary knowledge and a good pallette, nothing wrong with that.  I think we could better help you if we could understand why you're trying to hide a certain flavor from this dish.
Joined Mar 3, 2011
make a mushroom demi, roast some mushroom stems (as you would throw them away anyways) in an oven until dark brown, then they go into a pot with water and a few splashes of Port and reduce.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
I tend to agree with you. One should get a blend of flavors not just one unless you are featuring that one  like curried chicken . Curry should be up front, but still a blend of all other flavors. You might have been a little heavy handed on worchestire also.  Have you ever tried dry worchestire??
Joined Feb 1, 2007
I'm with KK on this one. I just don't see it as a problem if only 1/10th of the tasters could descern it. The flip side is that neither you nor 90% of your other tasters could.

What if nine of your tasters loved a dish, but the tenth said it was too salty? Would you be in a rush to remove the salt? Of would you think that that one was particularly salt aware?
Joined May 6, 2011
@Dobzre: Thank you! I'll give that a try.
@chefedb: Thanks! I haven't tried dry worstershire, but I'll give it a shot. However, you articulated exactly what I'm trying to avoid, so I'm not sure that worstershire is the way to go at all.

@everyone else: Thanks for your suggestions, but the problem I'm having with worstershire that it's flavor is too distinctive and recognizable. I don't want it to stand out, so now I'm looking for something else that can give a good umami boost without overpowering the beef and pork.
Joined May 6, 2011
@phatch: Thanks!

Any other umami suggestions, anyone? So far, we have:

dry worstershire
mushroom demi
mushroom powder
fish sauce
soy sauce
tomato paste
balsamic vinegar
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Joined Oct 2, 2010
I'm a little surprised only one out of ten recognizes worcestershire sauce! It's so distinctive that it's almost impossible not to taste it, unless the dose was extremely minimal. Worcestershire is delicious in a steak tartare and in many other dishes. Personally I would never alter a dish for the sake of just one remark, it's not even a negative remark!

Worchestershire is also a good source for people who want to taste "asafoutida", otherwise known in India as "hing". It's a component of worcestershire and it tastes like asafoutida! Anyone ever had asafoutida in the house? You'll remember it, the smell will be in your kitchen like forever.

Maybe a little experimenting with spices? 

Austincook, it's very hard to advise on something when we don't know what you want to prepare.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
Substitute bacon for some/most of the pork?

An "old" additive that has mixed reviews: Lipton's Dehydrated Onion Soup mix, not the whole package /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif
Joined Mar 21, 2008
One I have done lately is fine chop mushrooms, fine chop bacon, then cook this down. Season with whatever you want(I actually use worcestershire in this) and mix with the ground beef.
Joined Apr 18, 2011
We always use Tony's Chachere's on ground beef. Well, we use it on almost everything down here in northern Louisiana but I really like it on ground beef. That or an extreme dose of freshly ground pepper.
Joined Jun 13, 2010
Of course if you add mushroom powder or something like that people might consider it cheating ;P
Joined Aug 18, 2007
I still dont know what you're cooking. Worcester sauce needs cooking in. if you're adding it towards the end of cooking, you'll taste it.

If you make crackling when you do roast pork, put some in the freezer and add it ground to sauces. you'll get umami

When i make egg fried rice i season with dark soy and worcester sauce. cover with foil, pierce foil and put in oven at the lowest heat. It'll be good for 3 hours and no hint of the lea and perrins.(which is, btw the only one to use. once again imo)

BTW you might think the rice would be overcooked, but amazingly enough, it's perfect...I use bamati
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Joined May 6, 2011
These are all really good ideas, folks, thank you! I'm sorry for not giving more detail on what I'm cooking, but it's for a commercial recipe. :)

I'm going to work on it some more, especially with those mushroom ideas. Thanks again!
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