Get the recipe here.
When Roseanne returns tonight after 21 years off the air, the show will have some questions to answer. Everybody’s been asking the same two: (1) How are they going to explain Dan Conner’s (AKA John Goodman’s) resurrection, after he died in season 9? (2) How will both actresses who played Becky (Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke) appear on the show? All the while, everyone’s been overlooking one absolutely crucial question: What the heck happened to the Lanford Lunch Box?!
Early show teasers haven’t shown the restaurant, and when two of the show’s stars — Michael Fishman and Sarah Chalke, who played Roseanne’s kids, DJ and Becky, respectively — were asked about it, they admitted it won’t appear in the season premiere, which airs on ABC at 8 p.m. EST. “We haven’t really gone over exactly what happened with the Lunch Box, but we won’t see it this season,” Fishman said. “It’s still a big part of the Conner lore and history.”
BUY NOW Roseanne, The Complete Series, $25; amazon.com
For now, it will remain a mystery, but one thing that won’t be kept under wraps is the Lunch Box’s signature dish, the loose meat sandwich. It’s a midwestern specialty, much like a sloppy joe without the red sauce, so naturally, we had to recreate it for the premiere. Also known as a tavern sandwich, people are just as divided on the name as they are what’s in it — and who invented it. (Some cite Ye Olde Tavern, some say Maid-Rite restaurants.)
For Fishman and Chalke, it was a dish they only ate while on set, often getting in trouble with producers for sneaking bites in between takes. “You’d see Roseanne and Laurie, and everyone, just picking at it,” Fishman laughed.
It didn’t matter how long the sandwiches had been sitting on set, either. “They’re kind of addicting — at any temperature,” Chalke added.
There are a few musts: grilled onions, crumbled ground beef, and mustard. Garlic and worcestershire sauce help flavor the meat, balancing out the sharp tanginess of the mustard sauce. We turned to the stars for a few details to make ours as close to the show’s as possible.
“It’s not as chunky as hamburger, but it kind of has that homey, tasty, goodness,” Fishman explained.
Still, it needed a little something extra: “Throw a pickle in there for good measure, it makes it a little crunchy,” Chalke said.
The true test, however, was having the stars themselves try it. You can watch their unfiltered reactions in the video above — and get the recipe to make it yourself.
Follow Delish on Instagram.