Food Hussy Recipe: CopyCat Maid Rites! (The Iowa Specialty!)

I tend to get obsessed about Iowa foods - I love big tenderloins, cheesy queso from "Mexican"-ish restaurants and MAID RITES - oh man - I almost forgot about Taco Johns Potato Oles! It's not that Ohio doesn't have amazing food - but Iowa is home - so I have a soft spot for all things Hawkeye. 

For quite some time I have been wanting to make my own Maid-Rites - you see - there used to be a Maid Rite in Oxford - but it was AWFUL!!! No shock that it's closed now. So - on the hunt I went for the right recipe...

Now if you don't know what a Maid Rite is - think back to the days of Roseanne. Remember when she opened a diner and they served "loose meat sandwiches"? Well - there you go! It's like a sloppy joe without the sauce. 

Honestly - when I think back to eating Maid Rites as a kid - I really can't picture Neil Wicks (he ran the Maid Rite in my tiny town) putting all these ingredients in the sandwich. All I remember of him is him standing over the griddle with a big stogey hanging out of his mouth. 

But - I found some recipes on the internet - made, tweaked and made again - and think I have it!!! 

It's very simple - you just brown ground beef and add seasonings. As you're going - one key is to chop the meat into tiny tiny pieces! With Sloppy Joes I tend to like to keep bigger chunks of meat together so it falls out of the bun less - but see a Maid Rite is meant to fall out of the bun! My husband refers to them as the "fall-apart burger"! So chop away - chop so much that your forearm hurts! Tiny tiny pieces!!!

Then you add this mix of salty, tangy, sweet and more - we've got Worcestershire (oh I love this stuff), soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, beef bouillon, brown sugar and water. 

Then let the meat simmer in that "sauce" until it all evaporates away. This is very important - no sauce!!! Stir and continue chopping to be sure the meat has soaked it all up. 

And there you go! Now be sure to use the $1 buns - the cheaper, the better! Fresh, cheap & soft - that's the best way to go. Spoon a heap of the loose meat onto your cheap bun and you're ALMOST ready to go! 

I say almost because that's how I made it the first time - but then I realized something was missing - THE PICKLES!! Once I added those - perfection! So don't forget them! Also - be sure to get the dill pickle slices - not bread & butter - you need the zing!

hamburger, quick, easy, sloppy joe, loose meat, sandwich, iowa
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CopyCat Maid Rites!

prep time: 5 MINScook time: 15 MINStotal time: 20 mins
Maid-Rites are an Iowa specialty that I've eaten since I was 3 years old. My husband refers to them as the "fall-apart" burger - but they are a taste of home that I absolutely love!


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 1 beef bouillon cube
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1.5 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Hamburger buns
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Dill pickle slices


  1. Brown ground beef & onion - chopping vigorously until the pieces are tiny!
  2. Add bouillon, water, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce and soy sauce.
  3. Stir and continue chopping ground beef.
  4. Simmer until liquid has evaporated.
  5. Top a heaping spoonful onto your cheapest hamburger bun and top with dill pickles, mustard and ketchup and you too will be reveling in the delight of the Iowa Maid Rite! 


OR Make it a Cheese-Rite by adding a slice of Land O'Lakes American Cheese - I heat it in the microwave to melt the cheese and soften the buns a little.
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  1. Or stop at the Maid Rite in Greenville OH and load up.

    1. I've been there! Gum wall and all!

    2. Used to original Maid-Rite's these were not that good. Bland just loose hamburger..

    3. Sorry you didn't love them - I think the seasonings, worcestershire and soy really add a bunch of flavor to the meat!

  2. Iowa Maid-Rites are an institution! I remember when the Maid-Rite in Lake Mills, IA burned down about 1969. I was pretty young, but remember a long period of mourning. They rebuilt and I was raised in that place. Your recipe looks great...I'm gonna try it. I make them now with beef broth and a little black strap molasses. I wrap each one in wax paper before I serve them to make it feel just like a real Maid-Rite. It's awesome!

    1. Yaaaaaas!!!! I love them! pickles, ketchup and cheese and it's Cheese-rite perfection!

  3. I wasn't expecting them to taste sweet. I followed your recipe to a T.

    1. There's a little sweetness but not too much - hope you still liked them!

  4. I will be trying this recipe tonight, but thought I would let you know your beef will chop up finer and more easily if you add water to pan while browning it. In this case, I may try mixing the liquid ingredients from the recipe and adding it with the meat so it all cooks at the same time. I use water with the ground beef anytime I want it super taco meat to resemble taco bell texture.