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Talk to me about "Loose meat" and "maid-rites"

Are they essentially the same thing? Do you have a recipe, mayhap?

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  1. Did you look in Wikipedia?

    1. Allrecipes.com had loose meat recipes.

      1. Haven't tried this, but it looks good:

        Copycat Maid-Rite Loose Meat Sandwich Filling

        In a crock pot set on low for 6 hours
        combine the following ingredients and mix well:

        1 lb 85% lean hamburger
        1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
        1 tbsp soy sauce
        1/4 tsp sweet paprika
        4 tsp cider vinegar
        1/2 Cup chicken broth
        1 small yellow onion, finely diced
        3 oz Coca-cola
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/8 tsp black Pepper
        1 tsp granulated sugar

        Serve with a slotted spoon on hamburger buns with chopped onion, yellow mustard and dill pickle slices. Add Ketchup if desired.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Antilope

          Looks a lot like "Sloppy Joe's"

          1. re: todao

            Though from what I've seen on TV, the meat is piled on the bun without much liquid (hence the slotted spoon). Note there isn't any thickener (or tomato sauce) in the crock pot recipe. And I don't see any significant point to using a crock pot.

            When I've attempted to imitate what I've seen, I season the browned ground meat to taste, and cook it till most of the liquid has evaporated.

            1. re: todao

              similar -- but no sauce.

              Very traditional through Northern Missouri and Iowa.

            2. re: Antilope

              Original Maid-Rites

              1 pound ground beef
              2 tablespoons vinegar (not white)
              1 tablespoon instant minced onion
              1 teaspoon salt
              11/2 cups Swanson’s chicken broth, boiling
              2 tablespoons prepared ketchup
              2 tablespoons prepared mustard
              8 hamburger buns

              Brown meat lightly; drain fat. Add vinegar, onion, salt, ketchup and
              mustard. Stir well. Add boiling broth. Cover and simmer until meat is tender
              and liquid is absorbed.

              Serve on hamburger buns with fresh chopped onions and mustard only.

              1. re: Antilope

                Maid Rite Sandwiches


                1−1/2 pounds ground beef
                2 teaspoons granulated sugar
                3−4 teaspoons prepared mustard
                4 Tablespoons beer
                To Taste:
                red pepper
                black pepper
                garlic salt

                Brown & drain the hamburger. Stir in the other ingredients and simmer.
                Spices are added "to taste."

                The Maid Rite serves their sandwiches with a choice of cheese, mustard and chopped fresh onion.

                1. re: Antilope


                  2 pounds ground beef
                  1 chopped onion
                  3/4 cup ketchup
                  2 tablespoons brown sugar
                  2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
                  1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
                  2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
                  1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                  1/2 teaspoon salt
                  16 hamburger buns, warmed

                  Brown the meat and onions together in a pan, drain, and stir in the rest of the ingredients (aside from the buns, unless you've got some extra interesting tastes). Simmer it for 20 minutes and serve on the warm buns.

                  1. re: Antilope

                    These sound like Sloppy Joes, not Maid-rites or loosemeats. Good sloppy joes, but not quite the same. :)

                2. I ate one in Iowa. It was fine, but not something I long for. I remember it as being a lot like a sloppy joe.

                  1. and probably one of the best is at the Mark Twain Dinette in Hannibal, MO -- preferably with a Mississippi Mud shake chaser.

                    (do they still have the old drive-in speakers?)

                    1. Exactly the same. Maid-Rite is a chain that serves Loosemeat Sandwiches.

                      As for what it is, I described it on my blog "A loose meat sandwich is like a “Sloppy Joe” but not sloppy. Like a burger but not formed."

                      Unsauced seasoned ground beef served on a hamburger bun. Add cheese and you get a Cheese-Rite and Maid-Rite in Greenville, Oh (Not part of the chain) serves one with sliced cheese and black forest ham called a Big Jim. It's excellent.


                      1. Growing up in Iowa and eating a lot of Maid Rites (and losing many young brain cells at the Maid Rite Tavern (not the sandwich shop) on 1st Ave in Cedar Rapids) I assure you that a traditional Maid Rite is not really as fancy as the recipes above. They are gussied up versions of a very basic recipe.

                        It is essentially crumbled browned ground beef (some places dont really brown just cook) simmered with slivered onions (very often dehydrated) and broth. Generaly chicken broth but some swear by beef. It served dry and not sloppy on a soft hamburger bun.

                        Its not uncommon to add a piquant touch using vinegar or mustard or sweet using ketchup or sugar.

                        Recipes that call for soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce are probably developed by experienced cooks who know how to bring some umami to the party.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: C. Hamster

                          Enough beef base (the paste style instant bouillon) to give the right saltiness would be an easy way to flavor this ground beef.

                          1. re: C. Hamster

                            Agreed. I grew up in Iowa City, and while the loosemeat sandwich (served at the Maid-Rite chain) wasn't too apparent to me as a regional specialty as a kid, I've sampled several now that I know it is a "regional specialty". It is definitely loose ground beef with very little seasoning other than salt and pepper. I don't think it is usually browned either. I don't think the Maid-Rite brand has onion in their mix, but I might be mis-remembering. It is better than it sounds from my description. The salt and whatever other subtle seasonings are added enhance the beefiness of the meat. In any case, it is distinct from the sloppy joe (which contains tomato/ketchup/bbq elements) and is definitely minimally seasoned. (You are allowed to put toppings on the loose meat.)