Proffesional Chef - My "classic" cocktail sauce turns gelatenous when refrigerated

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Joined Oct 2, 2001
I'm the chef/owner of a N.Y.C. Steakhouse. We've had the same recipe for cocktail sauce for many years, but it seems that, for no apparent reason, it congeals to the point of being almost gelatenous after being refrigerated. The recipe is 2 parts Heinz Chile Sauce to 1 part Heinz Ketchup. We then add prepared horseradish, worcestershire sauce and lemon. The odd thing is that it does not happen all of the time. If anyone out there has experienced this problem and knows of a solution, I would greatly appreciate the tip.
 
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Joined Jul 31, 2000
CARNIVOROUS1,
First let me welcome you to Cheftalk.
I love New York,and have enjoyed many of the citys great steak houses.

Secondly,don't be disgureged, Horseradish root has a pretty high % of starch that if allowed to sit for a few days unstirred at 38/36 degrees it can start to solidify. This has happened to me a thousand times and it is just a stir and a sqeeze of fresh lemon juice that will break down the starch.ketchup and chile sauces also have a degree of gelatanious properties.
I hope this helps and welcome

cc
 
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Joined Oct 2, 2001
Cape Chef,
I'm brand new to this site and I'll add that I've never used a bulletin or chatted via the internet. A (chef) friend of mine emailed me the adress to this site quite a while ago and I simply forgot about it.
The problem with the cocktail sauce has recently been plaguing me and my friend again reminded about this site. Your information was invaluable ( I didn't realize that horseradish had such a high amount of gelatenous properties/pectin). Your response time is greatly appreciated & I look forward to enhancing my scope of knowledge through this site.
Thanks again
 
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Joined Oct 5, 2001
Welcome to the Chef Talk cafe Carnivorous 1!

You will find a great Community here and a lot of professionals willing to assist you in your culinary explorations.

I am looking forward to your posts. Welcome once again!

:)
 

isa

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Joined Apr 4, 2000
Welcome Carnivorous, hope you'll find the answers you are seeking.
 
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Joined Dec 4, 2014
I hope this issue can get resolved.  I have a BBQ sauce recipe, ketchup based, with the same problem.  It never used to gel but now it does more often than not.  I'd like to note that i dont cook this sauce.  I know cooking it would help this problem but that also changes the entire flavor.  There is no horseradish in this recipe just honey, brown sugar, sugar, vinegar, spices.  Any help would be appreciated.
 
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Joined Aug 29, 2000
I'm moving this very old thread to a professional chefs' forums where it may get the attention it merits. If not, try starting a new thread in one of the cooking forums. If you'd like to introduce yourself, we invite you to return to the New Users Introductions forum and tell us a bit about yourself.

Good luck!

Mezzaluna
 
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Joined Oct 23, 2013
I hope this issue can get resolved.  I have a BBQ sauce recipe, ketchup based, with the same problem.  It never used to gel but now it does more often than not.  I'd like to note that i dont cook this sauce.  I know cooking it would help this problem but that also changes the entire flavor.  There is no horseradish in this recipe just honey, brown sugar, sugar, vinegar, spices.  Any help would be appreciated.

All I can see is maybe you have so much sugar it is making it thick. Try cooking it. Stir it or add more vinegar. Try a few different bbq sauce recipes. Experiment. Show us your actual recipe.

Good luck.
 
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Joined Mar 24, 2014
You guys need to get away from the Heinz- Heinz blend. Use a cheap catsup, mix with Heinz chili, add horseradish lemon, worcestshire s&p, sriracha, tabasco, whatever. It's the two Heinz products together. Don't know why, but it's true.
 
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Joined Jun 27, 2006
This problem has plagued my cocktail for years starting in about the early 90's. Before that, it wasn't an issue. From what I remember, it has something to do with the pectin levels of the Heinz products. You remember the old Heinz commercials with the Carly Simon Song, "Anticipation"? Well, pectin is one of the things that made it so thick. Tomatoes are naturally high in pectin but for whatever reason, their's is higher.  It also appeared as if they changed the recipe somewhere in the late 80's and add in the multitude of ingredient combinations involved with Cocktail sauce......... someone once told me that's what caused the mix to turn gelatinous. To me, Heinz had the best flavor profile so I never monkeyed with substituting a house brand or Hunt's variety. 

In bulk storage, we kept a wire whisk handy and just mixed it whenever we needed to retrieve some. We also used drip cuts for the portioning and these were held at room temp throughout the shift. They were also emptied after the shift and refilled as needed for service. There is enough vinegar and acid going on in the mix there's no worry for spoilage if you wanted o try this. The drip cut product was never mixed with fresh out of the cooler so, IMHPO, I can't see how a shift or two in a day would hurt it. However, I have no idea what new rules the inspectors might be enforcing given most places seem to refrigerate their ketchup. 
 
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Joined Apr 3, 2010
Heinz adds corn syrup and I believe that this also adds to the thickness ratio when tied in to the pectins and the inner  starch from the horseradish root.

If it were not for the hi acid count of the lemon and tomato it would be even worse. I have had this occur many times over the years. I have tried other brands but the Heinz flavor is distinct and better then any other brands in my opinion. Similar to using Hellmans Mayo all the time it is heavier and better tasting (not oily) . You get what you pay for.
 
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Joined Aug 22, 2015
That might be true but it is definitely not exclusive to Hienz products because I have been having this problem with my Cocktail Sauce and we use Sysco labeled ketchup which I know for a fact is Red Gold.
 
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Joined Aug 29, 2015
Our simple sauce does the same thing. "Cheap" ketchup and horseradish. We proportion it in cups and that hardens up too. Makes me want to throw it at the wall everytime I open one. Has anyone tried cooking it first. I've never thought about that but want to try it with my next batch.
 
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Joined May 3, 2019
I realize that this a very old thread, but FWIW there is an easy fix to try. Home winemakers (and maybe pros too) when making wine from fruit other than grapes often encounter problems with pectin causing haze that won't settle out. The solution is a flavorless ingredient called PECTINASE. It's a naturally occurring enzyme, available at any winemaker supply store, and of course it's food grade.
 
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Joined Jan 18, 2018
I'm going to bet this isn't the cause, but whats the temperature of the fridge?
I personally have never had this issue unless it is too close the the fan.
 

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