How Alton Brown Really Feels About Truffle Oil

It shouldn't be any surprise that truffles are one of the most expensive ingredients you can cook with given the labor that goes into finding them (via Delicious). And while you might think that truffle oil could be a cost-effective way to get the taste of truffles without dropping a lot of money, it isn't. As it turns out, truffle oil is actually really bad if you ask Alton Brown, and he'll faithfully stick by his answer.

Brown recently tweeted, "Culinary truth: truffle oil sucks." Apparently, Brown has been consistent with his disdain because in 2011, he had a similar answer when asked how to impress people with a cheese board (via Grub Street). He suggested serving cow, goat or sheep cheese in odd numbers with fruit and perhaps a dollop of honey. But at the end of his cheese board advice, he said, "truffle oil sucks, don't offer that." Obviously, he really dislikes the oil, but his opinion isn't without good reason, of course.

This is why truffle oil is so bad

According to Napa Truffle Festival, Brown isn't alone in his aversion to the product. Actually, the chef behind Michelin-starred La Toque, Ken Frank, also hates it. He believes it tastes bad and, even worse, ruins real truffles for you by throwing off your palate. "The problem is that if your palate becomes accustomed to truffle oil, you will no longer be able to appreciate the real thing," Frank said. "Consequently, when you dine on dishes with real truffles, you may not recognize the true flavor and think the truffles are flawed. Not so." While some may think it's an economic way to get the flavor by assuming it is oil infused with truffle, they are actually losing out. "It's a huge rip off. It's bad oil," he added.

Truffle oil is actually made with chemicals "derived from a petroleum base," according to the outlet. It's 2,4-Dithiapentane that you taste instead of truffles. Companies then can use the smallest amount of truffle possible to be able to label it as such. To drive the point home, Frank explained, "truffle oil is to truffles what Tang is to orange juice." So, skip the truffle oil. If you really want truffle oil, try adding a small amount to oil and infusing it yourself. But always stick to the fresh stuff.