Garbage Plate

  • By: Jack Mancuso

Garbage Plate - Cuso Cuts

What on earth is a garbage plate? It is perhaps the ultimate in greasy food on a plate – fries, hot mat sauce, macaroni salad, cheeseburgers, condiments… well, you get the idea. The original garbage plate originated in Rochester, NY. Hungry college students imbibing started playing around with this idea of the ultimate hangover meal. If you’re looking for something diet-friendly, this dish ISN’T it. 

There are a few things that will make your take on the garbage plate. Keep your macaroni salad on the dry side. You have plenty of other sauces. I think of the macaroni salad and fries as the foundation of the recipe. You don’t want them soggy. 

Three Key Components for a Garbage Plate

There are three keys to a really outstanding garbage plate.

White Hots

If you live outside the Western and Central, NY area, you may have trouble finding the white hots I list in the recipe. What gives the dogs their white color is the lack of curing or smoking. When there are none at the supermarket, regular franks or sausage will do the trick.

Rochester Hot Sauce

By far the masterful element that brings a garbage plate together is the “Rochester Hot Sauce.” Most households who love the stuff have their own unique take. Rochester hot sauce is almost like a chili, but not as spicy as you might anticipate.


garbage plate would be incomplete without toppers. I like extra cheese and mustard. You might consider fried eggs, raw onion, ketchup, relish, banana pepper, and a side of bread for dipping into any remaining sauce. 

The Basic Process

  1. Make a batch of home fries. If you’re in a time crunch, use frozen ones. You’ll have to defrost them and pat them dry before frying. I suggest using peanut oil. The fries go on one-half of the plate
  2. Macaroni salad goes on the other side of your plate.
  3. Top in whatever order you wish, making personal changes that suit your tastes. 

Ingredients for garbage plate

Rochester Hot Sauce Ingredients & Instructions

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 Tbs smoky barbecue rub
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1 medium white onion, minced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ beef broth
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 Tbs light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs Frank’s Hot Sauce
  • 1 tsp each chili, chipotle, and black pepper
  • ½ tsp smoky paprika and Italian seasonings
  • ¼ tsp. Cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Using a large skillet sauté the onion and garlic in oil.
  2. Mix the meat with the rub, then add it to the pan.
  3. Break up the meat as it simmers. Let it cook for an hour, adding water as needed for moisture.
  4. Once the ground beef is cooked, add the remaining ingredients into the skillet. 
  5. Simmer for another hour, giving it an occasional stir and continuing to break up the meat.
  6. If it starts to look dry, you can add a little more beef broth. 

Remaining Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 cups macaroni salad
  • 1 cup crispy fries 
  • 2 cups Rochester Hot Sauce
  • 6 hamburger patties (80/20)
  • 6 white hots
  • 6 slices cheese (your choice)


  1. Grill your patties to medium-rare. 
  2. Slice your white hots down the middle. Cook your white hots at the same time, getting a nice char.
  3. Top them with cheese and leave them to melt for one more minute.
  4. Begin building your plate 
  5. Use the salad and fries for your foundation. 
  6. Add burgers, white hots, sauce, more cheese, and your toppers.
  7. Share with hungry friends (this is a BIG bite)

Pit Master’s Memo

You won’t need a lot of tools for making a proper garbage plate. The most important one is a heavy, large frying pan. I like cast iron because of the even heat distribution. 

Next is a decent wooden cutting board for the potatoes (if making home fries), onions, and white hots. A properly treated wood board lasts a long time and it doesn’t dull your favorite knives.

Speaking of knives, pull out your house favorite. This is our Damascus steel Chef Knife that I use every day for something. 

Add to that a spatula for turning burgers, tongues, and a mixing spoon and you’re ready to rock it out. 


NONE (seriously, all your sides are on the plate!)

From the Bar


Dark coffee

Light-bodied red wine

Three heads double India pale ale

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