An ugly condiment’s beautiful cousin

HOMEWOOD, Ala. – On my third visit to Saw’s BBQ, I finally accepted my own hypocrisy.

Why am I a hypocrite? Because I hate mayonnaise with the fire of 1,000 suns. I agree with every word the great Drew Magary wrote in his brilliant anti-mayo screed. I fail to understand why anyone would choose to ruin a perfectly good meal with a condiment that tastes the way despair feels and smells like a truck hauling skunks crashed into a paper mill. I should not love the white sauce that adorns each piece of perfectly smoked chicken at Saw’s, but I do. I can’t help it.

At the great condiment family reunion, mayo and Saw’s white sauce aren’t siblings, but they are first cousins. Only a few ingredients separate Canada’s favorite fail dressing and the scrumptious, tangy, ivory masterpiece from Saw’s. Given my steadfast stance against mayo, I should spit out Saw’s sauce and cleanse my palate with Listerine before continuing my meal. But I love it. If a few drops fall off the chicken, I sop them up with the meat. I realize this makes me a raging hypocrite, but the taste buds want what they want.

I blame sensory memory for this predicament. Saw’s white sauce tastes almost exactly like the creamy Italian dressing that was served on the salad bar at the Pizza Hut in Key Largo, Fla., in the late ’80s. This is not an insult to Saw’s sauce. I would have drunk that Pizza Hut dressing by the gallon. While the football coaching staff at Coral Shores High — of which my dad was a member — went through its weekly draining of beer pitchers strategy session on offseason Friday nights, my elementary-school self played Galaga and Road Blasters and smothered my salads with that glorious dressing. My mom never had the heart to tell me the ingredients barely differed from the mayo that made me gag, but as I grew older and stretched my gustatory wings, I realized the horrible, horrible truth.

This made my immediate love of Saw’s white sauce difficult to reconcile. On the first visit, I sampled it cautiously, like a dog sniffing an unfamiliar human. On the second, I gulped down self-loathing with every drop. How could I, a dedicated general in the fight against the Mayonnaise Industrial Complex that Magary described, love an egg-based condiment so much? On the third visit, I stopped fighting the sauce. It can’t help the fact that its close relative makes sandwiches taste as if they were dipped in a septic tank. It only wants to make my chicken taste better, and who am I to deny the sauce – and myself – that pleasure?

Saw’s pulled pork.

Saw’s sides.




About Andy Staples

Eating anything that doesn't eat me first.
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13 Responses to An ugly condiment’s beautiful cousin

  1. I don’t want to go all Alton Brown here, but since mayo’s mostly fat and oil, I could see how, philosophically, it could be used on lean meats to make them behave like fattier ones. I don’t think the inventor of mayonnaise was trying to destroy society as we know it.

  2. dreschinbham says:

    Saw’s is excellent! Been living here for 14 years and somehow was only introduced to it this past spring.

  3. Still want to read all your posts, Andy, but this reaked of Anthony Bourdain, quite possibly the most elitist, arrogant SOB in the food industry, and someone who has increasingly become marginalized as his opinions have become stronger and more vocal. Seriously, thrashing a condiment, especially one widely loved? When you’re that much in the minority on a food, you are only correct for you, not everyone else, so you come off beyond snobbish. That said, you powered through, and the sauce sounds amazing, so now I want it, but can’t get it. Thanks for that.

    Now, as for Anthony’s opining, he has a bit of an excuse. He’s getting older, and when you reach your 40s and above, you begin to realize you don’t care what anyone else thinks…you’re just going to say it anyway. I am told that once I reach my 50s, then my 60s, that this will become even more a part of the truth I live. I suspect by that time my wife may stop taking me out in public, but until then, I have a few positive things yet to say, just so long as I don’t dip to Bourdain’s cellar of supposed happiness.

    So while I may believe you’re a little cuckoo regarding your hatred of mayo, I can still lend a positive thought or two and continue enjoying your reviews and experiences. 🙂

    • Andy Staples says:

      I’m sorry. I can’t accept criticism from anyone who admits to liking mayo. It undermines your credibility. Also, if getting your own Travel Channel show and becoming a millionaire is becoming “marginalized,” sign me up for that. I hate mayo. I don’t care if you or anyone else likes it. Lots of people like Nickelback, too.

      • Oh, man, the Nickelback comment is just brutal. At least I don’t like them, lest you find a way to unsubscribe me from the blog & Twitter. Are there any other condiments or foods I’m not allowed to enjoy? I just need to know because, well, tomorrow is grocery day.

  4. Andy Staples says:

    You can enjoy whatever you like. But don’t get mad at me for hating something disgusting.

    • If I’m angry, I’m feeling it in a funny way. I still find it amusing you went to such literary lengths to attack something so widely enjoyed, but then again, it’s YOUR blog, not mine. Go ahead! 🙂

  5. James says:

    I friggen love this blog. Makes me laugh. Keep up good work.

  6. Kevin says:

    I share your mayo hatred…grew up in AL and always stayed away from the white sauce. No, that’s not a double entendre. Had it at Saw’s about 4 mos. ago and you’re spot on.

    Andy – next time you’re in that area, try Big Daddy’s ribs in Warrior. And I’ve been to places like Southern Soul/Franklin BBQ. Know what I’m talking about. At least tell Randy about it; he’d fit in in Warrior.

  7. Andrea says:

    I am with you 100% on mayo–I hate it with a passion as hot as the sun. Great blog–my husband suggested it months ago and I just finally got around to checking it out.

  8. BroJames says:

    You don’t really hate mayonnaise — you’ve just been using the wrong brand. You need to switch to Mannaise (aka “Mayonnaise For Men”) instead! 🙂

  9. Mike from Champaign says:

    Hey Andy,
    Love the blog. Illinois fan heading to an Auburn game to experience the SEC. Any good food recommendations for Auburn?


  10. Pingback: Super Bowl food tips: Butcher has best sandwiches in New Orleans | Extra Mustard -

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