The definition of a loose meat or tavern is: ground beef prepared loose, not formed into a pattie, scooped onto a bun, typically with an ice cream scoop and topped with, but not limited to: mustard, ketchup, onion, pickle, even cheese and bacon. Tavern meat, when cooked right, should have 2 distinct tastes: 1. seasoned, steamed beef. 2. a light greasy taste and texture. A true tavern NEVER has any sort of sauce or gravy added to into the meat while cooking, whether tomato based or otherwise. Once a sauce is added the sandwich is no longer a tavern and CANNOT be called such. Tavern meat shall NEVER have rice mixed in with it during the cooking process. Meat that does shall never be called or considered tavern meat, but rice can be used as a topping or condiment.
A true tavern shall have 3 things:
1. A bun that is not too thick, too thin, too dry or too soft. The typical bun is made with white flour. But can be made with wheat and other types of grain. The bun shall be baked as to not allow all of the moisture of the meat and condiments to be soaked into the bun to make it too mushy or be so dry it falls apart. The bun can have sesame seeds on it or be dusted with corn meal but should not be too large. The inside of the bun can be toasted and/or buttered.
2. Condiments and toppings that are well proportioned together. There is no limit to various condiments or toppings, as establishment is different and everyone has their favorite. But one condiment or topping shall not over power another. Condiments and toppings can include, but are not limited to: ketchup, mustard, pickle, onion, cheese, bacon, and even lettuce, tomato and rice. Sloppy Joe sauce or gravy sauces are NOT condiments when cooked into the meat as sauces are mixed with the meat to make a different type of sandwich. But such sauces or gravy can be added as a topping or condiment after the meat is cooked as can rice. Condiments or toppings should be offered by the establishment preparing the tavern leaving it to the individual consumer to decline and add condiments and toppings themselves.
3. The meat shall have enough spice to allow for the taste of both the meat and the spice. It shall never be bland with no taste from the spices or so much spice there is no flavor from the meat. Cooking th emeat with onions in it is acceptable. The meat shall be moist, but not so much that it soaks into the bun to make it mushy. The meat shall not be too lean or have too much fat content, 85% is usually ideal. The meat shall stay on the bun but not be so moist it sticks together as if it is a solid patty of meat. The meat shall be loose enough so that some will fall out of the bun, making a spoon a necessary utensil to consume the loose meat that does fall out of the bun.