The Best Mayonnaise You Don’t Know About

The Best Mayonnaise You Don’t Know About

why does it look so intimidating?

why does it look so intimidating?
photo: Danny Palumbo

heyI like Chef J. Kenji López-Alt as much as you do, but I never quite understood what the heck was going on the mayonnaise taste test he conducted with the Serious Eats team. Besides the peculiar initiation of power as the best mayonnaise, Duke’s Mayo was rated “too strong” by tasters, Kewpie takes an insulting fourth place, and Trader Joe’s Mayo somehow performs better than Hellmann’s. The whole ranking just feels… off. That cursed list was actually a gift, though, because it was my first time hearing about Blue Plate mayonnaise.

How Blue Plate compares to other mayonnaise on the market

After looking it up and seeing that Blue Plate is made in New Orleans, perhaps America’s finest food city, I’d suspected that this lesser-known brand of mayo was a winner, regardless of its placement in that bizarre, atypical off-base Ranking from one of the great minds of the culinary world. And my guess was right: Blue Plate tears.

It is smooth, Man. Complex. nuanced. It’s spicy, sweet, savory and rich. Though this Lousianna staple was invented in 1923, this mayo feels current and on-trend as if it borrows the best attributes of every other brand of mayo. How so? Glad you asked: the first three ingredients listed in Blue Plate are soybean oil, distilled vinegar, and egg yolk, so it has something of that intensity kewpie wealth to it. In contrast, the second ingredient at both Kraft and Hellmann’s is water, followed by whole eggs rather than just the yolk.

Blue Plate also contains sugar in the recipe, so it only tastes slightly sweet like a Miracle Whip (not my thing, but a little sweetness is nice). At the same time, it’s thick, sloppy, and pudding-like like Hellmann’s. This stuff is balanced and therefore beautiful.

The best way, every Kind of mayonnaise

I’ve tried Blue Plate side-by-side with Duke’s and while my palate prefers Duke’s tasty, smacking acidity, Blue Plate is temptingly thicker and full of rich egg flavor. In comparison, Duke’s looks and tastes more like a distribution made from oil. These two Southern staples are both amazing products that offer vastly different experiences, and they’re the subject of debate a lot.

That’s why I’m so baffled by the Serious Eats ranking: There’s a lot more variation between jars of store-bought mayonnaise than we might think. Each brand is unique, with its own specific capabilities. With its intense, almost lemony note, Duke’s is the perfect dressing for potato salad. Savory Hellmann’s is the iconic spread for a decadent BLT. And Velvety Kewpie is pretty much liquified egg salad, ideal for topping up a batch of deviled eggs and marinating in protein.

Blue Plate’s flavor is best paired with New Orleans food. Combine the slightly sweet and tangy mayonnaise with pickled cucumbers, spicy hot sauce, mustard and Worcestershire for a classic tartar sauce. Of course, it’s used in Po’ Boys across town, and it’ll stand up to an abundance of shrimp, beef or pork with crusty French bread, shredded lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. I’ve also used Blue Plate as a specialty sauce at home and paired it with light sour Hunt’s ketchup to make a rich burger sauce.

If you’d asked me a few months ago, I’d say there’s not a single ranking or article that would change my mind—the top three mayos are Hellmann’s, Duke’s, and Kewpie. But how much of that brand loyalty is just autopilot? After trying Blue Plate, I no longer worry about deciding what is “best”. They are all so different and offer wonderful opportunities. Mayonnaise exists on a wild spectrum. It’s really comforting to know that sometimes things taste so different that it makes no sense to classify them.

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