Cannibal Sandwiches

Mary Kate McCoy for Wisconsin Public Radio:

It’s the holidays and to quiet your pre-dinner hunger, someone hands you a slice of rye bread topped with a thick spread of fresh raw beef, chopped onion and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Cannibal sandwiches are a longtime Milwaukee tradition. Come Christmastime, Bunzel’s goes through over 1,000 pounds of raw beef and about 250 pounds of raw onions, exclusively for cannibal sandwiches.

I’m from Wisconsin, lived most of my life there, and most recently even Milwaukee and somehow missed these delights. I first saw this linked up on Kottke and he’s also from Wisconsin and had not heard of them.

I figured I’d run it past my Extremely Wisconsin family though to see if they’d heard of them. Mom:

Yep. Most definitely. I never cared for them so therefore never served them. But they we’re common especially at holiday parties back in the day.

Step dad:

When I was a young man we would make those for cocktail party hors d’oeuvres. You gotta get a good cut high end beef. I would have them grind up chuck roast. You gotta keep it cold. You would chop onion and put it inside the hamburger and lay strips of onion on top. Ryebread or specialty bread would make it more classic. I never overindulged but I like to eat them. My dad would make them and then have sardines and stuff like that, which I didn’t care for.


(Written from the floor of a Walgreens where I’m sitting waiting for the pharmacy staff to come back so I can get some muscle relaxers for my pissed off back. Good thing I don’t have a boss that will yell at me for taking too long of a lunch break.)


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2 responses to “Cannibal Sandwiches”

  1. Ian says:

    The verification on this is super appreciated

    I always thought it was an urban legend…

  2. Steffen says:

    Try pork instead. It’s a delicacy in Germany. If you wanna go fancy try a Mettigel (Metthedgehog)

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