I tried making the garlic sauce two ways. One with more margarine vs oil and the 2nd with more oil vs margarine. The taste is very different to papa johns as is as the color. Papa's is yellow, mine is white with very little yellow in it. Any ideas? Margarines also differ alot by taste. I went with imperial for this test. It may just be better to drop the 75 cents for the sauce cuz because that is a very important part of these cheese sticks.
As best I can tell, the base for the PJ Garlic sauce is a commodity-type product to which garlic and "natural garlic flavor" are added. For example, if you compare the PJ Nutrition Facts for the PJ Garlic sauce as given at http://order.papajohns.com/nutrition/5/subMenu.html
with a generic "Margarine, margarine-like vegetable oil spread, 60% fat, tub" as given at http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fats-and-oils/7190/2
, you will see that the Nutrition Facts are almost identical. The generic margarine product has a bit less sodium/salt but the differences are so small as not to be noticeable on the palate.
I tried to find some retail brand margarine products that seem to come closest to the Garlic sauce as described at Reply 22 at http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php/topic,6758.msg59232.html#msg59232
but leaving out the garlic ingredients. Doing this, we are left with the following: Liquid and Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Water, Salt, Vegetable Mono & Diglycerides, Soy Lecithin, Artificial Flavor [butter], Sodium Benzoate (a preservative), Lactic Acid, Calcium Disodium EDTA added to protect flavor, Beta Carotene (Color).
A couple of retail products that contain most of the above ingredients are the Land O Lakes stick margarine at http://www.landolakes.com/product/14000/margarine---sticks
and a Parkay stick margarine product at described at http://www.walmart.com/ip/Parkay-Sticks-65-Vegetable-Oil-Spread-16-oz/10291481
. No doubt there are others but if you double the Nutrition Facts numbers for these two products, you will find that the numbers are close to the PJ Nutrition Facts for the PJ Garlic sauce. The two products, however, contain buttermilk or whey, which are milk products. The PJ Garlic sauce does not contain those ingredients. Otherwise, but for the garlic ingredients, the ingredients in the Land O Lakes and Parkay products are quite close to the PJ Garlic sauce.
You might want to print out the ingredients list highlighted above to take to your local supermarket and see if there are any retail margarine products, either stick or tub, that are similar to the above ingredients list. I will try to do the same at my local supermarket.
In the meantime, maybe you can try to identify a source for the Grandioso product that Jon mentioned, or maybe he can can tell us where he gets it. I do not recall seeing that product anywhere but I will look to see if is sold at my local supermarket.