View Full Version : Fred's... knockoff experiment #1

09-13-2009, 11:32 AM
Unfortunately the posts and threads about Fred's marinated sirloin and tri tip were vaporized during the black days we no longer talk about. However, the quest to duplicate Fred's marinade is still alive. Thanks to Mooch, who was savvy enough to copy the now defunct thread from a Palo Alto link, the knockoff recipe was saved. And today I used it. The results won't be known for three or four days as I plan to follow the instructions as posted, at least for this first experiment.

This is the knockoff recipe saved from the Palo Alto site, which I can only assume was resurrected by some broke grad students working in the lab at Stanford which is across the street from Schaubs, the home of the original Fred's. How accurate it is we don't know... yet... but when we cook it up Thursday I'll let you know.


1-1/2* ** Cup Brewed Coffee
1 Cup* ** Red Wine
1/2 Cup* *Olive oil
1/2 Cup* *Molasses
1/3 Cup* *Balsamic vinegar
1/3 Cup* *Tamari Sauce
1/3 Cup* *Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp* * Chili Powder
2 Tbsp* * Onion Powder
2 Tbsp* * Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp* * Marmite (or Vegemite, in a pinch)

Marinate for at least 3-4 days in a tightly sealed ziploc bag. Cook steak to 125. Let rest for 10 minutes. Devour....

09-14-2009, 06:49 AM
Where would you get marmite? I cook a lot and see lots of recipes, but never heard of that. Have heard of vegemite, though. I suppose I could just order it via the Internet, huh.

09-14-2009, 10:31 AM
Marmite became an interesting topic during the original discussion about Fred's marinade. Marmite is very British and Vegemite is the Australian version. The primary use for it is as a spread on toast, a very thin spread; barely a smear is sufficient. Marmite is a thick, dark gooey paste made entirely from vegetables in a yeast base, with a couple of undisclosed spices thrown in the mix. It's very high in vitamin B and people either love it or consider it sludge left over from brewing beer, or worse. There is no middle ground when it comes to revues on Marmite.

I happen to be part of the we-love-it fan club and enjoy it on buttered toast, either plain or topped with cream cheese or cottage cheese. The taste is very concentrated and if you decided to try it I can not over emphasize using it VERY sparingly. A smear scraped across the buttered toast is more than enough.

I have also used it in other marinades and soup and stew stocks. Again, less is better when using it.

I found it in the Nob Hill market in Morgan Hill, but I had to look for it because none of the employees had a clue what I was talking about when I asked. Obviously, there must be a few Brits living in the area.

Other than that here are a few links to sites that carry it:*





09-14-2009, 04:30 PM
Thanks for the good info. Guess I forgot about any previous discussion.

Sure wish I could get the name "marmot" outta my head, as it reminds me of local rodents up in the high country. *Toxic wanders off repeating "MarMITE...MarMITE...NOT ground-up rodents...ground up veggies and yeast."*

09-16-2009, 07:12 AM
Don't eat me!!!!

I thought you could buy Marmite from Schaub's?* I seem to recall that Tower Market in SF also had it (as mentioned by another Sniffer).

Is today the day we find out if the recipe is good? Or will you let it ride another day?

09-16-2009, 11:41 AM
The last time I was in Schaub's I asked the butcher if they had Marmite. That was the time the butchers eyes lit up and said no they don't sell it, but he said the owner, Fred's son, knew where to get. And then I knew that had to be one of the ingredients.

The sirloins have been in the marinade three days so I pulled them out tonight and let them drain and put them in a container in the fridge. My thinking is that they need some air time to form the outer crust like the ones you buy in the store. I'll find out tomorrow night when we cook them and let you know if it worked.

09-19-2009, 05:37 AM
Three days have pasted... Maybe it killed him ;D

09-19-2009, 09:10 AM

You don't suppose he has developed a black crust????

;D ;D ;D

C'mon Frank! We're all waiting to hear if you'll be putting Schaub's out of business!!!

09-20-2009, 12:35 AM
Sorry about the delay, guys. We did cook it up Thursday evening, but with the weeks work load of horses to shoe I was too whupped to post. And then Saturday I was forced to get on a boat out of Santa Cruz for some rock fishing and came home late, wanting nothing more than dinner and bed.

The Results From Knockoff Experiment #1:

Everything about the marinade and the three days soaking made the meat look like Fred's. But it wasn't the same. It was close, but I have more experimenting to do before I can claim it truly is Fred's recipe. We did experiment with the cooking and grilled a couple of pieces on the George Forman grill and baked a couple of pieces. The result from that part of the experiment was clear: the baked version was much more tender. Everybody agreed the knockoff was too sweet, and it was. The real test was in the leftovers. The times I brought home the real Fred's from Schaub's there were no leftovers, not even a scrap for the dogs. The leftovers from the experiment were enough to freeze for a winter pot of beef barley soup.

Notes from experiment: (and mistakes I made)

1) Use dry red wine - I used an already open Merlot and wouldn't use it again.

2) Use Lea & Perrins not a knockoff brand.

3) Use Tamari and not Kikkoman.

4) Use fresh Chile, onion and garlic powder.

5) Brew up some really strong coffee, probably a French roast and let it steep over night in a thermos.

6) Marmite is definitely one of the ingredients. Next time I might add a touch more; maybe an extra teaspoon, but no more than that.

7) Use a tri tip and not sirloin steaks, especially for the three day soak.

Picture comparisons:

The cooked original Fred's from Schaub's


The cooked experiment version


09-20-2009, 04:22 AM
Thanks for posting up your results Frank - very interesting.

There's a noticeable difference in the 'blackness' between the two.* I wonder if the original marinade is more like a paste than a liquidy marinade.* Maybe cooking it down so it's thicker?

Also just one comment about letting the coffee steep overnight.* That will yield a stronger flavor, but you will also extract the bitterness from the coffee.* If you are after the assertiveness from coffee I would brew (or even better use a french press) with 2-3X the quantity of grounds, but not let it steep overnight - just brew as normal.* Perhaps consider 'brewing' it by pouring 200* water over the grounds and let that steep for 5 minutes then strain through a coffee filter.* I'm not a fan of french roast.* Though it is the darkest, most french roasts just taste like ash to me (all the coffee's more subtle flavor has been roasted away).* Usually lesser beans are used for this roast.* Espresso or Italian I think is better.

Regarding soy, I wonder if they use a product called 'dark soy'.* This is fermented longer and is sweeter and more concentrated.* It's often used to add a deep color to foods such as sauces and soy sauce chicken.* If you think you'd like to try it Frank and none is available in your area, PM me.