Rochester Style Garbage Plate with Meat Sauce

Rochester Style Garbage Plate with Meat Sauce

We are going back “home” for a visit soon but we are still missing Rochester.  On our last trip back I picked up 3 lbs. of Hoffman Hot Dogs.  Now Zweigle’s are the hotdog of choice in Rochester, NY but we prefer Hoffman’s.  I can say that now that we moved away without everyone looking at me like I am anti-Rochester.

So we made “Garbage Plates.”  This is served in some form or another in every joint in Rochester.  You can have it with french fries, hot dogs, hamburgers, cheeseburgers, or sausage patties.  Over the top is always the Rochester Meat Sauce.  Kind of a spicy hamburger sauce with tons of flavor.


This is my first attempt at the meat sauce.  It turned out pretty good.  I think the crock pot helped meld the flavors.  Mine wasn’t as spicy as I like but you can taste and adjust the cayenne pepper as needed for your sauce.

Both kids loved the plates.  I didn’t realize that they had never had them before.  We loved them and my son even took the leftovers for lunch the next day.


  • Hawaiian Macaroni Salad
  • 1 can of Brown Beans (warmed)
  • 1 bag of potatoes fried in butter until crispy
  • your favorite brand of hotdogs (preferably grilled)
  • Rochester Meat Sauce (recipe below)


  1. To assemble plates add one scoop of each item to your plate.  Lay the hotdogs over the top of all the food and add the meat sauce over the hotdogs.  Drizzle with your choice of mustard, ketchup, onions and relish.

Rochester Meat Sauce

  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 pound finely ground beef
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper, cayenne pepper, chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon each: ground cumin, allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground cloves
  • salt to taste


  1. In a large skillet, fry onion and garlic in oil until soft. Add meat, stirring constantly with fork to keep the beef broken up.
  2. Once the meat browns, place in a slow cooker.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients to the slow cooker and mix well.
  4. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.  Stir and add water and spices as needed.

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