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An easy and inexpensive beef burger alternative. Loose Meat Sandwiches are the perfect no-fuss weeknight dinner solution!

If you were a fan of the Roseanne show back in the day, you must remember the popularity of the Loose Meat Sandwich which was the specialty at Roseanne and Jackie’s diner-style restaurant, the Lanford Lunch Box. I sure do! I was a huge fan!

I didn’t watch the show when it was in syndication, because our family home didn’t acquire a television set until 1992 or somewhere thereabouts. I think Roseanne started airing in 1987, which meant I would have been five years behind. I did, however, watch the show in re-runs over and over and over again. I kid you not! I can still recite many of the best scenes from memory.

When the show was re-booted in 2018, I actually did not get to watch one single episode. I know there was some speculation that the show might not be renewed for a second season after the main character, Roseanne Barr, tweeted racist comments, but a quick internet search tells me that the show is returning without Roseanne. I wonder if the Lanford Lunch Box will make an appearance?

Loose Meat Sandwiches

Well, I digress! Long before Jackie and Roseanne started serving greasy ground beef on burger buns to their customers, my mom made Loose Meat Sandwiches on the regular for weeknight dinners. Oftentimes, she would pan-fry ground beef with onions and serve it on buns with a slice of processed cheese and a pile of fries on the side. I’m starting to drool as I write this!

Now, even though I was a huge fan of the TV show and have watched every episode repeatedly, I can’t recall whether or not the Lanford Lunch Box had cheese on their Loose Meat Sandwich or not. Either way, I did not include it on my version, because never would you find processed cheese singles in the Thomas-Ewing household! Besides, if the ground beef is flavoured properly, you won’t need the cheese at all.

This was the first time I’ve made Loose Meat Sandwiches in at least ten years. So, what prompted me? I can’t remember, to be honest! I do have an app on my phone that allows me to make quick notes whenever I’m inspired by a certain food or recipe. I will often make notes about things that I want to cook for Lord Byron’s Kitchen, and in most cases, I can remember why.

But, in my app, there were just the three words listed on the one line – Loose Meat Sandwiches – no reason, no notes, nothing. So, after months of seeing those three words stare back at me every time I opened the app to log an idea or to look through my list of recipe notes, I decided they had to be made.

I’m so glad I did. As soon as the photographs were taken, I devoured the rest of that sandwich you see the bite missing from. The other one went to McKenna who immediately told me how delicious they were and that the sandwiches reminded her of her mother and of Newfoundland. (Her mom does use ground beef quite often!)

If you make these, do yourself a favour and top them only with mustard, ketchup, and a few slices of sweet pickles. In my opinion, it’s the best way to eat them. You can add cheese to if you want, but trust me, you won’t need it! Enjoy!

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5 from 1 vote

Loose Meat Sandwiches

An easy and inexpensive beef burger alternative. Loose Meat Sandwiches are the perfect no-fuss weeknight dinner solution!
Course Main Course
Cuisine North American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 332kcal
Author Lord Byron’s Kitchen


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon beef bouillon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns


  • Over medium heat, place the onions, ground beef, and cooking oil in a large skillet. Break the beef apart with your spatula. Cook, stirring often, until the onions and beef are browned – about 15 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and stir into the beef and onions. Cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Next, add the Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon powder, salt, and ground black pepper. Stir well to combine. Continue to cook for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Remove from heat. Evenly distribute the cooked beef onto the bottoms of the four burger buns. Top with ketchup, mustard, and a few sweet pickles. (This is optional – you can top the sandwiches your way.) Serve with potato chips.


Nutritional value does not include sandwich toppings or sides.


Calories: 332kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 990mg | Potassium: 570mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 4.7mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 4.7mg

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Luv "loose meat san". We call them "sloppy joe" san. Had them as a grade school kid in hot lunch program (made by our mothers). My own kids loved them, and I make them with tomato sauce into the meat and small amount of oatmeal oats to whole the seasoned ground beef loosely together! ALWAYS served with Potato chips and dill pickle on the side.....never cheese! Thanks, I like your version too!
    1. Sloppy Joe's are completely different from a Loose Meat Sandwich in my neck of the woods. But, yes, always with potato chips and a pickle!

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