Adult Swim blew everyone’s minds with their Rick and Morty April Fool’s Day episode, which wasn’t so much a prank as it was a gift from the gods. For all the things we could say about the episode, perhaps its greatest moment was how it shone a light on the lack of McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce in this day and age. A good lesson for us all: if you go back in time, your first priority should always be food related.
While fans are now clamoring for this dipping sauce to rise from the dead, Andrew Rea of Binging with Babish took on the task of recreating his own version. Never having tasted the real thing, Rea uses his own instincts (and a little help from Reddit) to show us not one, but three different ways to achieve sauce nirvana:
For sauce number one, he starts off with dried chiles, which he dry roasts and steeps in boiling water to bring out the flavor. The chiles are then pureed with ginger to create a homemade chili paste which is then sautéed with a little acid, a little sweet, and a whole bunch of ground up Szechuan peppercorns. Sauce number one is what I’d refer to as the artisanal one of the bunch, definitely something you’d find served alongside hipster McNuggets.
Rea then recreates Reddit user xeropoint’s recipe for sauce number two. This sauce has more of a home-cooked feel to it, starting off with a base of plum sake, vinegar, and Sriracha—more commonly known among foodie circles as cock sauce. This version looks pretty close to the real thing, and the healthy amount of sugar makes it a contender for authenticity.
Finally, the third option is to simply combine McDonald’s prepackaged sauces to create some sorta saucy Cronenberg monster. Rea blends two parts Sweet ‘n Sour sauce to one part Tangy BarBeQue (Yes, that’s the unfortunate spelling) to stir together nothing short of a McMasterpiece. I think we all know this is the most likely scenario of all the versions, as it almost immediately looks remarkably similar to the 1998 McDonald’s commercial.
In a final taste test—the three sauces are pitted against one another—is no doubt a showdown for the ages. Which sauce was the winner? You’ll have to watch the video to find out.