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Today's Case

Woolworth's Barbecue Sandwich

Subject: Recipe Request
From: Jamie
Date: 4/16/2020, 4:45 PM

On 4/16/2020 3:25 PM, Jamie wrote:

Hello Uncle Phaedrus!

I sent a message earlier, today, trying to find an old Walgreens 
Chili Con Carne recipe. I apologize that I didn't include my last 
name on the email. My name is Jamie and I live in Minnetonka, MN.

I have another question though. Your food manual that you got all 
the Woolworths recipes from... Does that have a year listed anywhere? 
I have been saving images of Walgreens and Woolworth menus that I 
find on the internet and have a TON but I can't seem to find mention 
of the Woolworth "barbecue sandwiches" prior to the mid 60s menus. 
Just trying to narrow down when they may have added this to their lineup!

Minnetonka, MN

Hello Jamie,

No problem about the last name - I only ask for the real first name so that I have someone to address in my replies.

I don't have the complete Woolworth's Kitchen Manual.  A helpful reader of several years ago sent me scans of about half of the manual that he had. I do have a scan of the cover, but it does not have a date on it. I do not have a scan of the title page. However, each recipe page is dated with a revision date. The dates on the ones I have are all from 1952 to 1959. There is no recipe in it for barbecue as we know it - no ribs, no chicken, no pulled or chopped pork or beef. However, there is a recipe for "barbecue sauce" and one for a "barbecue hamburger" with loose ground chuck plus barbecue sauce. This recipe sounds more like a "sloppy joe" than a barbecue sandwich to me.

Hope this helps.

I'll also post this for reader input.


NOTE: I have posted the recipes for Woolworth's Barbecue Hamburgers and Woolworth's Barbecue Sauce below.

Subject: Woolworth's Barbecue Hamburgers and Woolworth's Barbecue Sauce From: Karen Date: 4/29/2020, 6:53 AM To: On 4/28/2020 7:30 PM, Karen wrote: Thank you for a fabulous web site.  In these uncertain times your web site provides something to look forward to. May I please have the recipes for Woolworth's Barbecue Hamburgers and Woolworth's Barbecue Sauce that you have offered to send? Thanks so much. All the best,   Karen

Hi Karen,

Sure. See below.

There are two versions of the "barbecue hamburgers", one called "loose" and the other called "dry". I'm not sure what they

mean by those terms, as both appear to be what I'd call "loose meat" sandwiches and neither seems "drier" than the other. The biggest difference that I can see is that the "dry" recipe has onions cooked with the meat.


Woolworth's Barbecue Sauce (1952)

Yield: 2 lbs, 8 oz or enough for twenty 2 oz portions


2 oz        chili sauce
12 oz       tomato puree (can use catsup)
5 oz        prepared mustard
2 oz        cider vinegar
1-1/2 oz    Worcestershire sauce
1/4 oz      lemon juice
1/4 oz      salt
1-1/2 tsp   black pepper
1/2 tsp     red pepper (cayenne)
1/2 tsp     chili powder
1/4 oz      celery seed
1/2 oz      sugar


Mix all ingredients. Bring to boil on stove. Let simmer about 
10 minutes with lid on.

Note: If possible to secure a smoke sauce, use it. (1/4 oz to 
the above recipe), as it greatly enhances flavor of sauce, giving
it a real smoky tang.

Can be used with barbecue sandwiches, beef, pork, chicken, or roast 
beef or roast pork.
Woolworth's Barbecue Hamburger (Loose Mix)(1952)

Ingredients for 2 lbs, 8 ozs or 20 2 oz portions

ground chuck    1 lb, 8 oz
shortening      1/4 oz

Melt shortening, add ground chuck, stir occasionally. Cook until brown, 
about 10 minutes. Add above sauce and mix thoroughly. Serve
Woolworth's Barbecue Hamburger (Dry Mix)(1956)

Ingredients for 2 lbs, 8 ozs or 20 2 oz portions

Step #1

onions        1 oz
water         1 oz

Place finely chopped onions in frying pan and cook until tender.

Step #2

ground chuck    1 lb

Add chopped meat to onions and brown(10 minutes). Stir occasionally 
to keep meat separated

Step #3

barbecue sauce    1 oz
salt              3/4 tsp

Add to above. Blend. Remove from stove and serve.

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