The Best Meat Sauces Should Look Like 'Sludge,' According To 1 Chef

Some chefs have an unorthodox way of describing how good food should look, and chef Matty Matheson is no exception. Matheson took to YouTube to answer some common cooking questions, and his description of the perfect meat sauce probably raised some eyebrows.

According to Matheson, unlike many other dishes, your meat sauce isn't supposed to look pretty. While you may strive to make your other recipes look worthy of the 'gram, Matheson nixes that idea when it comes to some popular pasta sauces. The way he describes how pasta sauce should look is highly unappetizing, but according to him, this "gross" consistency makes for a pasta sauce that'll never be too watered down. Although every chef has their own philosophies about how food should look (and their own ways of describing its appearance), this is definitely confirmation that if you can never seem to get your meat sauce to look aesthetically pleasing, you're probably actually doing things correctly in the kitchen.

What your meat sauce should look like

Matty Matheson insists that every meat sauce you make should look like "sludge." While the mental image of sludge doesn't exactly gel with what you want to think about when you cook, his out-of-the-box observation about the best pasta sauces isn't far from the types of sauces other chefs encourage home cooks to make.

There's nothing worse than making a meat sauce that's so runny that the sauce can't hold up to the meat. If you're tired of eating a watery sauce and prefer something more than liquid with some meat thrown in, then emulating that "sludge" consistency might help you in the long run. A thick pasta sauce won't escape your pasta as easily, and you'll taste the flavors of both the meat and the sauce distinctly. No, it might not be the most eye-appealing sauce you've ever made, but you just might enjoy it more than a thinner, less substantial meat sauce.

How to thicken your meat sauce

OK, so your pasta sauce should look like "meat sludge," but how can you get the right consistency? It takes some work to perfect that gloppy texture, but learning how to thicken your sauce will help you get there faster.

The best ways to thicken meat sauce are to add some ingredients that will bulk it up or to reduce the liquid. Flour and cornstarch might feel like immediately obvious choices to you, but there are other options you can also defer to. Add vegetables or cheese if you'd like a thickener that adds flavor to your sauce. Prefer to change the texture without changing the flavor? You can add egg yolks or make a roux. If you'd rather reduce the liquid, you have a couple of options. Adding pasta water may sound counterintuitive, but the starch from the pasta residue will actually absorb the liquid out of your sauce. You can also allow your sauce to simmer for longer. When you simmer a sauce, the liquid component evaporates, leaving your sauce thicker than it started. Matty Matheson was onto something when he claimed that meat sauce should look like sludge, and the good news is that there are a variety of ways to make that happen.