When I was a kid in Jackson, Mississippi, my mom and dad used to take us to this restaurant, I have no idea what it was called, but they had these loose meat sandwiches. We all loved them!
So my mom being my mom, recreated it at home. Well, her version. We had it often when I was a kid and all I can really remember about it is that it was a loose meat sandwich and it was peppery – like black peppery.
I always remember those sandwiches throughout my life but never bothered to ask her how she made them. I don’t know if she would have even remembered how she did it. But then she passed away in February and I’m like, “I need those sandwiches!!!”
I had no clue what I was gonna do to recreate it. The restaurant was long gone. My mom was gone and no one in the family remember them exactly as the restaurant or she did it. So, the wife and I sat around and talked about it – multiple times.
We came up with this version, a version that suits our tastes. Tasty, deep flavored beer, longish cook time to break down connective tissue so there’s no weird-feeling bits in your mouth when you eat it and it’s a winner!
So no, mom would never have cooked with beer. I’ve never seen beer in her house. It’s not her sandwich, but it’s damed good and it’s the closest I can get without a ouija board.
MOM’S MINCE & ALE SANDWICH
1 pound of ground beef
1 dark beer, think porter or stout
1 large onion chopped
1 bell pepper chopped, color makes no difference
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons garlic powder or more if you like
1 teaspoon black pepper, more if you like
pinch of cayenne
salt to taste
Get a skillet, cast iron preferably, put a bit of oil in the pan and get it hot over med-high heat. While it’s getting hot, put a little salt and pepper on the brick of ground beef. Just open it right on up, leave it there on the tray and season it.
When the skillet is hot, add the ground beef as a brick. That is, flip it over into the skillet, seasoned side down. Don’t break it up, not just yet. We want to brown it up, get a good crust. Season the side that is facing you the same way. Take a peek and when it has gotten browned, flip it over to the other side, again, not breaking it up just yet. When it’s browned, now you can get at it and break it up.
After it’s broken up to your liking, place all the other ingredients in the pan and combine. It will seem like a lot of liquid, and it is, but we’ll cook it off, which makes the meat super tender.
Turn the heat down to medium and simmer the concoction until most of liquid is cooked off, with the lid on but cracked slightly. How much you simmer this off is completely up to you. If you want more juice, by all means go for it. Reduce to your liking.
When done, butter some buns or hoagie rolls and grill in a hot skillet. Slap some meat mixture on it, dress it how you prefer, eat!
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