Recipe Spotlight

How to Make Zip Sauce, a Detroit Favorite That Packs a Helluva Punch

It comes together in minutes and will enhance any cut of beef.

Published Apr. 12, 2022.

The 20th-century American author Napoleon Hill once wrote, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” 

Now, Hill probably wasn’t talking about roast beef. 

But enduring expressions are versatile, so I think the sentiment can be applied. You don’t always need the bells and whistles of an expensive roast or fancy trimmings to create a truly delicious dinner. Take Cook’s Country’s Bottom Round Roast Beef with Zip-Style Sauce for example. In this recipe, an inexpensive cut of meat is made great with small but reliable techniques to create a tender, juicy roast.

Perhaps the greatest element of this dish? Zip Sauce.

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Zip Sauce came to life in the 1940s in the kitchen of Lelli’s Inn, an Italian restaurant in Detroit. The butter-based steak sauce became so popular among customers that word of it quickly spread, and soon copycat sauces were cropping up in neighboring restaurants.

Today, bottled Zip Sauce can be found across Detroit and online thanks to enterprising chef Michael Esshaki. But if you’re after a homemade version that will make any cut of roast beef sing, then this Zip-Style Sauce is a perfect alternative.

Bottom Round Roast Beef with Zip-Style Sauce

The best thing about Cook’s Country’s version—aside from the smack of aromatic tang from fresh thyme and rosemary—is just how simple it is to make. In a single step that combines all the ingredients in no more than a few minutes, you have the perfect complement to your roast beef.

It’s small, but it’s great. Here’s how to make it.

Zip-Style Sauce

Makes ¾ cup sauce 

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper

Bring all ingredients to bare simmer in small saucepan over medium heat, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

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