Sunday, February 5, 2012


My grandparents owned a bar before I was born, later they had a drive-in Called Aggie's Coney Island.  I don't know what the name of the bar was, just that it was actually called a tavern.  I grew up eating a family recipe called Tavern Sandwiches.  When I was older I realized that the recipe is the kind of thing that can sit and simmer on a stove all day, which made it perfect for a tavern setting.  A no fuss hot sandwich to serve up with a beer - or after a lot of beer.

I insist my family eat the first Tavern as traditionally made, I try to turn a blind eye when I see them make a second one for themselves and use catsup...


1 pound or so of ground chuck (leaner beef an even ground turkey is ok too)
about half a container of bay leaves (a lot of them is best)
dill pickle chips

Put the ground beef, bay leaves and a good amount of salt into a saucepan, cover it all with cold water - about 1.5 cups for a pound of meat.  The meat must now be stirred and broken down into fine pieces.

Not this.

Like this.

Let the meat simmer on low for at least an hour - and up to all day, just check the water and add more if needed.  You can cover it if you want, but make sure it is simmered very low.

The proper way to make a Tavern is to put lots of mustard on both sides of the bun, and put dill pickle chips on one side. 

Using a slotted spoon, dip out a scoop of the meat, pull out any bay leaves and put them back into the pot. Drain the meat really well, I press it against the side of the pot.  Carefully transfer the meat to the bottom bun.  I put the bun up to the filled spoon and turn it over, making a well formed mound in the middle of the bun.  Flip the top on and eat - over a plate.  It is messy!