Loose Meat Sandwiches

Loose Meat Sandwiches, Tavern Sandwiches, or Maid-Rites – whatever you want to call them, call them delicious!

“It’s an Iowa thing!”

I referenced these sandwiches on my blog post from September 2019 “A Road Trip to American’s Heartland” after eating at a Maid-Rite sandwich while visiting my boyhood home of Davenport, Iowa.

It was so great to taste one of these sandwiches again that I had grown so fond of while growing up in Iowa that I had to find a way to duplicate that experience at home.

The Maid-Rite restaurant was one of our favorite places to go for “date night” while dating my soon to be wife Susan in the mid 1970’s.

These are definitely a Midwestern dish, and I haven’t been able to find a loose meat sandwich while living in the south.

Here is an interesting link from Wikipedia concerning the history of the “Tavern Sandwich” I am sure that all of the current presidential candidates campaigning in Iowa the last several months have been introduced and likely consumed some of these.


These are not to be confused with sloppy joe’s because they no not have a “sauce”.

So….. for the last several months, I have been researching and experimenting with different recipes and different ingredients to try to perfect this delicious sandwich.

I tried using everything from cider vinegar to brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, chicken bouillon, Dijon mustard, honey, French onion soup mix, butter and smoked sea salt. They all tasted good, but just didn’t taste like the original, so it was back to the drawing board once again.

Since these sandwiches always include dill pickles, and they enhance the sandwich, I thought why not try a little dill pickle juice in the mixture?

Behold! I think I’ve got it!

Here is the recipe…..

Cook / Prep Time – 30-40 minutes

Servings – 4 sandwiches


  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef

  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp dill pickle juice
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • Sliced cheese any flavor (optional)


I made this in an InstaPot, but any skillet will do. Brown the ground beef on low heat, stirring constantly. If you do not stir it, it can become clumpy – you want the meat to be loose and crumbly. When fully cooked, drain the fat off the ground beef and return to the pan.

Add the chopped onions, beef broth, sugar, mustard, pickle juice, soy sauce, granulated onion and black pepper. Simmer on low heat, stirring often until the liquid has evaporated. Salt to taste if needed. Place a scoop of meat on a warm bun with mustard and dill pickles. Yummy!


***** Bonus Weight Watcher’s Recipe using the loose meat****

Note – My lovely wife Susan joined Weight Watchers about a year and a half ago and has lost around 35 pounds since then. The have various plans based on point systems that encourage sensible eating. You can find out more about their plans at http://www.weightwatchers.com

I have not been paid or reimbursed by Weight Watchers for this endorsement.

Loose Meat Tortillas

Servings – 1

Weight Watcher points – 8

Ingredients: 3 ounces of loose meat from recipe above (4 points)

  • 1/4 cup fat free shredded mozzarella (0 points)
  • 3 Mission thin corn tortillas (4 points)
  • 1/2 cup canned fat free dried beans (0 points)
  • 1 sliced tomato (0 points)
  • Sliced jalapeños (0 points)
  • 1 chopped green onion (0 points)

Place the 3 tortillas on a sheet pan or air fryer rack. Divide the refried beans and spread onto the tortillas. Add 1 ounce of the loose meat to each tortilla. Slice the tomato and divide the slices onto the 3 tortillas. Divide the mozzarella and sprinkle on the 3 tortillas. Add some sliced jalapeños on the tortillas if desired.

Bake or air fry at 350 degrees until the cheese has melted. Top with the chopped green onions and serve.


Suggested songs to listen to while preparing the loose meat….

“Maid Rites” by the Riptones from their 2003 album Slant 6.

Since these are also called “tavern sandwiches”, I recall a great song by Mary Hopkin called “Those Were The Days” from her 1968 album Those Were The Days” She was one of the first artists to be signed by The Beatles’ Apple records label, and the song was produced by Sir Paul McCartney. Here is the “tavern” lyric excerpt…

” Just tonight I stood before the tavern

Nothing seemed the way it used to be

In the glass I saw a strange reflection

Was that lonely woman really me”

If you have tried any of my recipes, feel free to comment or send me a snapshot. Thanks for reading!

Crispy Korean Style Chicken Wings

These sweet and spicy slow cooked Korean Style Chicken Wings are lip smacking good, especially when snacking on them while watching college football!

The pink celery in the picture was picked from our garden! You can find pink celery seeds at www.rareseeds.com

Cook / Prep Time – 36 hours

Servings – 1 – 2


  • 8 split chicken wings

  • 1 tbsp aluminum free baking powder ( not baking soda)
  • 1 tsp smoked sea salt
  • 6 ounces gochujang
  • 1 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • I tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp Terry Ho’s Original Yum Yum Sauce
  • 1 tbsp pure maple sugar


The day before, pat the chicken wings dry and in a mixing bowl, coat the wings with a mixture of the smoked sea salt and baking powder. ** Set them on a rack over a sheet pan and let them dry out overnight. The smoked salt/baking powder mixture will dry them out to help them get super crispy.

** Be sure to use an aluminum free baking powder, as the aluminum may cause the wings to have a metallic taste.

The next day…

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees. Place the wings in the oven and let them cook for 30 minutes, then turn the wings over and let them cook for an additional 30 minutes.

While the wings are cooking, mix all the other ingredients together for the marinade.

Remove the wings from the oven. Brush both sides of the wings with the marinade. Turn the oven up to 325 degrees. Put the wings back in the oven and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the wings over and cook for another 15 minutes.

Remove the wings from the oven again. Brush both sides of the wings with the marinade again and return to the oven and cook for another 15 minutes on one side, turn, and cook another 15 minutes on the other side.

Continue to cook the wings until they are nicely browned and have reached a temperature of at least 165 degrees.

Place the wings on a serving platter and top with a little yum yum sauce or ranch dressing. Serve them with a few crunchy celery sticks and your favorite dipping sauce.


Suggested music to listen to while preparing the wings…

“Wings over America” a triple live album released in 1976 by Wings featuring Paul McCartney, which features live recordings of Beatles, Wings and Paul McCartney songs.

In Search of the Perfect Classic, Crispy Baguette

I made these awesome crispy baguettes from a King Arthur Flour recipe.

I have enjoyed making baguettes for years, but I have never been able to make the perfect crispy on the outside, pillowy on the inside baguette like you would find in one of France’s finest bakeries until I came across this recipe from King Arthur Flour.

While baguettes usually just have 4 ingredients, (flour, yeast, salt and water), there are so many factors behind the science of bread making that come into play to make the perfect specimen, and this recipe pretty much nails it!

Here is the link to the recipe….


I did have to make a few minor adjustments to get the results I wanted…

I added about 3 extra tablespoons of flour to the dough because it seemed a little too wet.

I baked these in a baguette pan like this, sprayed with olive oil and sprinkled with a mixture of semolina flour and fine ground white corn meal.

Other than that, I followed the recipe to the tee, allowing the dough to rise at the highest suggested raising times. After they cooled, I brushed the tops with ghee.

Thanks https://www.kingarthurflour.com for the awesome recipe! You can check out this, and hundreds more recipes at their website.


As for suggested songs to listen to while making this awesome bread, check out anything by the very talented David Gates and Bread!