Slow Cooker Rochester “Garbage Plate” Meat Sauce

Plated Rochester Meat Sauce

There is usually a story about our meal or picture each night and that is true of this meal. We had a new friend over for dinner the other night and I struggled about what to make for dinner. I finally settled on making a dish from Rochester, New York, that would best represent us. That is the garbage plate (or as close as we can get it).  So the picture above was taken kind of quickly to not distract from our dinner conversation. The meat sauce is over the top of the entire plate as it would be served in Rochester. You can also serve it on the side.

We have been missing home quite a bit lately. We are coming up on the third anniversary of our moving half-way across the country in a few weeks and we still miss Rochester as much as ever. Every once in a while we ask the kids if you could go back to Rochester now who would you visit or where would you go? This past week it has been where or what would you eat.

There are somethings that are just different here. No Grandma Brown’s Baked Beans. No Zweigle’s Hot Dogs and no Utz’s Dark Pretzels. We are planning a trip back to Rochester sometime and plan on the Gastro-Tour Part II. My kids want seafood. Perch and White fish don’t do it. We want fresh scallops and lobster tails that are not from Red Lobster. We want Buffalo Wings that are Buffalo Wings. We want a Garbage Plate.

Slow Cooker Rochester Meat Sauce


I love this version of the Meat Sauce much better than the original one I made. Letting the flavors meld in the Slow Cooker all day really raised the sauce to another level.

You can cut the heat of the sauce by adding extra brown sugar as it cooks or leave it as is to enjoy the spiciness over your macaroni salad, french fries and hot dogs or hamburgers.


  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • salt to taste


  1. Prepare the bowl of your slow cooker by spraying with non-stick spray.
  2. Cook ground beef in a skillet over medium-high heat. Breaking the beef into tiny bits with the side of the spoon as it cooks.
  3. Once the meat is fully cooked using a slotted spoon remove the meat (leaving behind the grease) to the bowl of the slow cooker.
  4. Add all the rest of the ingredients and heat  on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
  5. Serve over macaroni salad, homemade french fries and hamburgers or hot dogs.

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