Pass the “garbage,” please.
It’s not pilfered trash on a plate, but rather Rochester, New York’s iconic culinary invention.
The comfort food staple dates back to the early 20th century and remains a celebrated favorite on Rochester’s food landscape to this day, combining a medley of hot dogs or hamburgers, home fries, macaroni salad and meat hot sauce, plus accouterments like mustard, ketchup and onions.
If you’re hoping for the dish to be even more indulgent, it’s often served with buttered bread slices.
Beloved by college pupils as a late-night feast as students have returned to school, it may be time to dive into the meal’s backstory and how to make this rich, protein-filled pile.
Rochester, New York, is known for a delicious and trashy dish called the Garbage Plate, most loved by college students returning to classes. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
The Garbage Plate’s origins date back to 1918, when the restaurant Nick Tahou Hots founded by namesake Nick Tahou created the fabled fare, according to Visit Rochester, the official tourism board for Rochester and surrounding Monroe County.
It’s worth highlighting that Nick Tahou Hots has a trademark on the name “Garbage Plate,” so the only genuine Garbage Plate can be found at this establishment.
There are different versions of the Garbage Plate throughout Rochester. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
Still, the concoction is readily available in these parts, with many restaurants across the greater Rochester area offering versions under names like “Trash Plate” or “Rochester Plate,” among others.
An article on VisitRochester.com shares more on the history of the Garbage Plate as well as a list of places around Rochester where you can find different versions of the dish.
Some local eateries have even taken to creating playful riffs on the original Garbage Plate, such as the vegan Compost Plate at Red Fern and the Sushi Plate at Stingray Fusion.
Currently, Nick Tahou Hots is in its third generation of ownership.
Visit Rochester revealed to Fox News Digital how anyone can make their own version of the Garbage Plate at home.
Bear in mind that while such platters are traditionally a combination of the below ingredients, it’s by no means a definitive recipe, as many variations are on offer.
A spokesperson for Visit Rochester emphasized that people can be very particular about their “plates” and what is included.
That said, make sure you’re hungry and get the recipe guidelines for “The Rochester Plate,” below.
The Garbage Plate can come in many different forms, including a vegan option and even a sushi-inspired creation. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
Cooked meat/protein of your choice (hot dogs, hamburgers, etc., you can really put anything on here — grilled cheese, chicken tenders, pulled pork, sloppy joe meat)
Healthy scoop of macaroni salad
A choice of potato (typically home fries, French fries)
Meat hot sauce* (see more details below; note this is going to be made with a few secret ingredients by each restaurant to give a unique twist and variety from establishment to establishment)
Optional — ketchup
Slice of bread for serving
The dish is a hodgepodge of different flavors and treats, giving it the name of “Garbage Plate.” (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
1. Assemble your plate with a scoop of macaroni salad and choice of potato, then top with selected protein.
2. Spoon meat hot sauce atop the whole thing, followed by raw onions and yellow mustard on top of everything over a slice of bread.
3. Serve and enjoy.
*Note: If you’re at a restaurant and order a Garbage Plate or rendition of it with “everything” on it, the plate will come topped with meat hot sauce, mustard and onions.
The traditional meat hot sauce is made up ground beef, tomatoes and a bunch of different seasonings. (Visit Rochester / Brave World Media)
A traditional Rochester meat hot sauce is described by Don Bush, owner of Marshall Street Bar & Grill, as “a bean-less Texas Chili — the recipe has most of the same components but less tomato. Traditional meat sauce is a combination of ground beef, spices and tomatoes.”
For another take on the Garbage Plate’s meat sauce, try this recipe from the Rochester-based Genesee Brewing Company, one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in the U.S.
Below are the ingredients and instructions for the Genny Plate Brew House Meat Sauce.
The Genesee Brew House has the “Genny Plate,” topped with classic ingredients such as macaroni salad and home fries. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
The Genny Plate includes the classic ingredients like mac salad and home fries.
If fans want to make this at home, use your favorite recipes for those portions.
The Genny Plate Brew House Meat Sauce from John LaRocca and Jake Swain at the Genesee Brew House
Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 60 minutes
The Genesee Brew House will use a can of beer to help flavor the Brew House meat sauce. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
1 can of Genesee Beer (At the restaurant, the Brew House meat sauce is made with 12 Horse Ale. Since this isn’t available in stores, a can of Genesee Beer will suffice just fine.)
½ white onion
1 oz of minced garlic
2 lbs of ground beef
1 cup of your favorite hot sauce
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of cumin
1 tablespoon of cyan pepper
The classic Garbage Plate meat sauce is described as “a bean-less Texas chili,” Don Bush told Fox News Digital. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
3 tablespoons of paprika
½ tablespoon of all spice
2 tablespoons of granulated garlic
½ tablespoon of black pepper
½ tablespoon of kosher salt
Water to desired thickness
This protein-rich dish can be whipped up in 60 minutes — the perfect meal for college students. (Visit Rochester/Brave World Media)
1. Dice onion & garlic. Sauté in a small amount of oil in a large pot.
2. Add ground beef, hot sauce, beer, and water.
3. Cook until meat has browned, roughly 45 minutes. Do not drain fat or oil.
4. Add spices and turn down to a simmer for 35 minutes.
5. Use immersion blender on level one to mix the spices for a minute.
Perri Ormont Blumberg is a contributing lifestyle reporter for Fox News Digital.