Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Loose Meats, Taverns, Maid-Rites or Sloppy Joes?

Today's title asks a question.  The question depends on where in the state of Iowa you live.  I'm sure other states have local names for loose cooked ground beef too.  But Iowa seems to have more than their share.

Likely because that is where they really started.  Alright, the "Loose Meat" sandwich was started in Missoula, Montana back in the 1920s.  There is not a lot of confirmation on that but that's the story.  But they didn't catch on until a gentleman started serving them in Sioux City, Iowa.  He called them "Taverns" because the restaurant's name was "Ye Old Tavern" and it just made sense to make that the name.  The restaurant's name changed later to "Ye Olde Tavern" under a new owner.

"Maid-Rites" came next in Muscatine, Iowa a few years after the "Tavern" in the 1930s.  This sandwich later became a chain restaurant still operating today.

Then we travel back to Sioux City, Iowa for the "Sloppy Joe" sandwich.  It was created by a cook in an unnamed restaurant there who's first name was Joe.

Now you might be wondering why the same sandwich has so many different names.  Well the truth is they are not the same sandwich.

The part that is the same is the loose cooked ground beef.  It is the other ingredients that makes them different.  All of these recipes are secret so what we have are the best interpretations.  The "Tavern" uses seasonings plus a little ketchup and mustard.  The "Maid-Rite" does not use ketchup or mustard.  But does use some liquids in addition to spices.  The "Sloppy Joe" uses a tomato based sauce in it's recipe.

All three are very popular methods of making a loose meat sandwich.  But there are many more ways.  I can remember as a youngster in Boy Scouts having loose meat sandwiches that added chicken gumbo soup to the meat along with a few other ingredients.  You never would have guessed that was what gave it the delicious flavor we enjoyed.

I mentioned 4 names for the sandwich in the title of today's blog post.  But there are many more names used to describe the sandwich.  Even within Sioux City the sandwich has more than one name.  There is an establishment called "The Miles Inn" and they refer to their sandwich as a "Charlie Boy" and serve quite a few daily.  It is a little heavier on the pepper which spices it up.

There are several others in Sioux City too.  But I don't have the space to name them all.  What I do have is a couple of good recipes for you to try this week.  One is tomorrow's recipe, "Iowa Loose Meats" and the other is "Copycat Maid-Rites" and it will appear on Thursday.

"Happy Cooking" and let me know what you think after trying one or both of the recipes.  Thanks.

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