Looking for another easy ground beef recipe to try? If so, this loose meat sandwich is a must try! Simply seasoned and made in under 30 minutes, it’s a delicious weekday dinner the whole family will love.
I owe the inspiration for this recipe to my grandfather. I know loose meat sandwiches (also known as tavern sandwiches or loosemeat sandwiches) are quite common, especially in the United States, but it’s not something I grew up eating here in Newfoundland. My pop (grandfather), however, regularly enjoys them.
When pop told me what they were all about (basically, the flavours of a hamburger but not formed into a patty), I just knew I had to give them a try … and I was not disappointed!
If you’re a fan of hamburgers (and, well, ground beef recipes), then chances are you’re going to love these loose meat sandwiches too. I know I do.
- Olive oil: For cooking everything. Feel free to use vegetable oil instead if that’s what you prefer or have on hand.
- Onion: I like to use a simple yellow onion for this recipe.
- Ground beef: I prefer to use lean or extra lean ground beef for this recipe. If you use something fattier, you can simply drain the excess grease after it’s cooked.
- Seasoning: It’s kept quite simple with Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Yellow mustard: Mustard adds flavour and also helps to bring the meat together just a tad. As an alternative to mustard, try relish (that’s another option pop enjoys when he wants to mix things up).
- Hamburger buns: I prefer brioche buns but you can use your favourite variety. Sesame seed buns are another great option.
- Mayonnaise: For spreading over the buns.
- Garnish: Some favourites are mustard, ketchup, pickles, onions and cheese. Use what you enjoy best.
How To Make Loose Meat Sandwiches
Here is an overview of how to make this recipe (full details are in the recipe card below):
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet, then cook the onion until softened.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet and season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Cook the ground beef until it’s fully cooked through.
- Add a generous amount of yellow mustard to the ground beef.
- Stir the mustard into the ground beef mixture until it’s well incorporated.
- Serve on hamburger buns and garnish to your heart’s content!
Loose Meat Sandwich Versus Sloppy Joe
Though a loose meat sandwich and a sloppy joe are both traditionally a ground beef sandwich, the main difference is that a sloppy joe has a tomato-based sauce, whereas a loose meat sandwich does not.
Both sandwiches are really yummy. However, after trying the loose meat sandwich, I prefer that. The beefy flavour really comes across and it kind of reminds me of a hamburger but messier (in the best kind of way).
What To Serve With It
This ground beef sandwich pairs well with so many things. Pretty much whatever you’d enjoy with a traditional hamburger would be tasty with these. Some favourites are:
- Potato chips
- French fries or potato wedges
If you have any of the loose meat mixture leftover, you can properly store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 to 4 days.
Reheat before serving. To reheat, place the ground beef mixture in a skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it’s heated through, then serve. You can serve the ground beef on hamburger buns or mix things up and serve it on a wrap or use for nachos.
Pop enjoys these loose meat sandwiches two ways: serving the ground beef on a hamburger bun with toppings (like sliced pickle, onion and ketchup) and another with the ground beef mixture served on a simple slice of bread generously smothered in gravy.
Serving the ground beef on a hamburger bun is definitely more of the traditional way to serve loose meat sandwiches, but both versions hit the spot. If I were to a pick a favourite, though, the hamburger bun version is it (can’t beat a classic)!
More Ground Beef Recipes
If you make this recipe, be sure to leave a comment below!
Loose Meat Sandwich
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons yellow mustard, or relish
- Hamburger buns, for serving (toast buns if you like)
- Mayonnaise, to taste
- Mustard, ketchup, sliced pickles, sliced onions, cheese slices, for serving
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the onion to the skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the skillet. Season with Worcestershire sauce, salt, black pepper and garlic powder. Cook the ground beef, breaking it up into smaller pieces and stirring occasionally, until it's fully cooked through (the ground beef should no longer be pink and be browned all the way through), about 8 to 10 minutes.Note: If you use a fattier ground beef, simply drain the beef of excess grease after it's cooked.
- Stir in yellow mustard until it's well incorporated.
- Spread mayonnaise to taste over the hamburger buns, then pile the loose meat mixture onto the buns and garnish as desired. Serve and enjoy!
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are estimates only.
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Tried this recipe?
If you do make this recipe, thank you!! It would mean so much if you could leave a comment below. Love to know how you enjoyed it, and it helps other readers too!
Mmm, these sandwiches look fantastic! My boys would love them, especially my youngest since he doesn’t like tomato anything… will have to make it for him!
So funny, I was just thinking of how this reminded me of a Sloppy Joe, until I came to the part about how they’re different. Who knew? Looks delicious — especially with all of the yummy condiments. 🙂 ~Valentina
David @ Spiced
Holy cow, Dawn! These sammiches look amazing. I am a huge fan of burgers, but I have to admit that I’ve never come across loose meat sandwiches before. These need to happen…like ASAP!