“If you see a recipe for loosemeats that contains tomato juice-run! A loosemeat is a sloppy joe without the slop-so stay away from anything tomato-ey please!” (Be sure to check out the original recipe here and read the “About This Recipe” on the right…very informative and a great read!)
- 1 pound good quality ground chuck, round or sirloin
- (if using round or sirloin) 1 Tb lard
- 2 tsp salt, just enough to lightly coat the bottom of your skillet
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 Tb yellow prepared mustard
- 1 Tb white vinegar
- 1 Tb sugar
- water, enough to cover
- salt and pepper to taste
- hamburger buns
- dill pickle slices
- yellow prepared mustard
Get out a cast iron skillet. They absolutely are the best…if you don’t have one, borrow one! Pre-heat skillet over medium heat. When skillet is heated thoroughly, sprinkle salt in the skillet and add ground beef.
**IMPORTANT** Using the back of a wooden spoon, crumble the meat as it cooks. It’s essential that the meat is cooked in little crumbles. I don’t have a wooden spoon…odd as that sounds (I’m waiting until I can get a good set of olive wood utensils)…so I used a metal spatula and kind of chopped it as it cooked, and that worked just fine. Add the onion and cook while browning the meat. Keep using the spoon or spatula to crumble the meat as it cooks.
When the meat is cooked, drain off any fat and return to the skillet. One of the comments left on this recipe said when you think the meat is done, cook it for five more minutes. Then cook it for one to two minutes more. This gives it a crispy crunchiness and tavern flavor.
Next, add the mustard, vinegar, sugar, and enough water to barely cover the meat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until ALL the water has disappeared…about 15 to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Loosemeats are traditionally served on steamed buns, some like them toasted. I’ve made them both ways and they’re both delicious. I think steaming them is quicker…toss them in a steamer basket for about 20 seconds and that’s it.
Put some of the meat on the bottom bun, generously top with pickles and mustard. Top off with the top of the bun. Cast off all restraint and dig in!
Two comments that helped the most in the original posting of the recipe are what I noted above about cooking the meat until it’s kind of crispy and crunchy. I’m not talking about cooking it until it’s hard little pellets, but you’ll start to notice the crumbles getting brown and crispy on the edges. The other comment that was helpful was regarding the simmering. The commenter stated to simmer, simmer, simmer and simmer some more…it’s essential that ALL the water is cooked out. This kind of leaves a carmelized coating on the crumbles. I tasted the meat at several stages during the cooking process and truly, the flavor you’re after doesn’t fully develop until the last few minutes. Be patient. If you can…it’s worth it!
Plantfreek also said don’t mess with the recipe…at least not the first time you make it. It’s a very authentic rendition of the actual Blue Mill Tavern recipe, so make it like this first to experience it then tweak it if you think it needs it. Honestly, as a habitual recipe-tweaker, it was hard not to start adding things like garlic or whatever, but after making this, I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s perfect as is!
Of course, if you don’t like pickles or mustard, you won’t like the traditional way these are served: with plenty of both. I, however, love both and the slightly sweet taste of the meat balanced out with the salty, vinegary pickles and mustard are an absolute delight to my taste buds!