If you’ve ever been to Rochester NY, then you know exactly what this is. This meat sauce is used as the topping for the famous Nick Tahou’s garbage plate. A garbage plate is two hot dogs, hambugers, or cheeseburgers atop a pile of fried cubed potatoes (home fries) with either baked beans or macaroni salad, and then topped off with a heaping portion of this sauce. Seldomly eaten sober, my favorite combination is two cheeseburgers,macaroni salad and home fries. This sauce is equally good on your hot dog or hamburger. Nick Tahou, the man himself, once made me a Western Omelette Garbage Plate at the wee hours of the morning. That led me to believe it was the meat sauce that was important, not the rest. This is ‘hot sauce’ in Rochester.

  • Yield: enough for about 20 hot dogs, hamburgers, or 6 garbage plates
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Total: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Active: 20 minutes

Ingredients (15)

  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt to taste
  • 1 clove garlic, diced or pressed through a garlic press


  1. In a large skillet, fry onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add meat and spices, stirring constantly with fork to keep the beef broken up. Once the meat browns, add water, tomato paste and brown sugar. Simmer 10 minutes. Go through it with an immersion blender to give it a finer texture similar to triple ground beef. Simmer 1 hour, adding water if necessary to keep it moist but not soupy.
  2. Original recipes call for triple ground beef which is too difficult to obtain and not worth the effort.