Every once in a while I have a recipe that just does not work.  When this happens, I label it an epic failure.  Today it wasn’t the recipe but the ingredients that ruined my meal.  I was coming up with a nice Roasted Garlic Aioli for a Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich that I making for my chapter in the book 55 knives (Yeah, I’m writing a chapter in a book).  Aioli’s are simple and easy to make.  Add a couple of egg yolks, with some acid and a bit of oil.  Nothing too hard.  But I royally screwed mine up by using a store brand Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Store Brand Olive Oil creates Epic Failures
Store Brand Olive Oil creates Epic Failures

I started by roasting the garlic.  Then I squeezed the roasted garlic into a food processor with two egg yolks, the juice of a small lemon, a pinch of cayenne and a some salt.  With the food processor running, I drizzled in some olive oil till thick to make a nice aioli. The aioli looked amazing.  The flavor on the other hand, not so much.

The cheap flavor of the olive oil ruined the aioli.  So much so, that I still can’t get the taste out of my mouth.  I want to go out back and eat some grass with Tucker to get rid of the taste.  It is lingering.

If I have learned anything from this fiasco, it is that ingredients matter.  If things cost less there may be a reason for it.  You get what you pay for.  Not to say that all cheap ingredients taste bad, but you definitely need to taste the cheap ingredients before using them.

Needless to say, I need to recreate the Aioli.  I think I might go back to using a flavorless canola oil so that the roasted garlic flavor shines through.


Rex is an avid griller, barbecuer and bacon enthusiast. He is the Pitmaster for the Rex BBQ competition team. Rex was also featured on the TV show American Grilled. If you have any questions or wish to have Rex decode your favorite dish, click on the ASK REX link in the menu above.


  1. Was the oil 10w-30? ha ha ha 🙁 sorry, couldn't resist.

    You have reiterated something I've been thinking about lately. Sometimes simple recipes are easy to make good, but difficult to make perfectly.

    I so want to win the lottery so I can go to culinary school so I can learn this kind of thing to perfection. I hear culinary school is only just a little bit harder than maui thai training where you kick a tree with you shins to toughen them up 😉

    • You are right Chris, it is so easy to screw up a simple recipe. While I did not use 10W-30, I did use a cheap oil that ruined the whole aioli.

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