Monkey Meat… it’s not what you think

Before you run away, let me clarify – no monkeys were harmed in making this Monkey Meat.

There are also no bananas… let me explain…

Monkey Meat! It's a delicious 3 ingredient sandwich spread that kids go bananas over!

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We’re talking family recipes this week, and this Monkey Meat is an OLD family recipe. I was actually just introduced to Monkey Meat last month, and I was extremely intrigued at the name alone. I was at a family reunion, so my mom and her three siblings were there, and at the mere mention of “Monkey Meat” they would tilt their heads back, close their eyes, smile and make an, “mmmmm.” sound.

I simply had to know what it was, and what was in it. Oh, and WHY the name?

So here’s what it is – it’s a sandwich spread (also makes a great dip for crackers) made from bologna, dill pickles and a little bit of mayo.

Monkey Meat! It's a delicious 3 ingredient sandwich spread that kids go bananas over!

Here’s WHY – When my grandparents were younger and had 4 hungry kids (living on a very modest income) my grandma looked for ways to “expand” their pantry. By grinding up the bologna and her homemade pickles, she was able to stretch the meat out a little further and save a few extra pennies. My grandfather was a Science teacher, and the name “Monkey Meat” was most certainly coined by him. He passed away when I was just 9 years old, but I remember him always having the quirkiest jokes and always being the life of the party. I actually went off to college with aspirations to become a science teacher myself.

But alas, I ended up here. Sharing Monkey Meat with my friends. (we’re still friends, right?) 

Monkey Meat! It's a delicious 3 ingredient sandwich spread that kids go bananas over!

When I made these sandwiches for my kids and told them it was “Monkey Meat” they were a little confused. Ok, I had to do some serious talking with my 4 year old to convince her there was actually NO monkeys in it. She finally took a bite, and LOVED IT. My oldest kids requested these in their lunch box, and I couldn’t be happier.

With our school being a nut free zone, they can get sick of their regular sandwich selection.

Plus they can brag to their friends about it. I hope I don’t get any notes home from the principle… 

Monkey Meat! It's a delicious 3 ingredient sandwich spread that kids go bananas over!

Look, we all know family recipes can be a bit… well, odd. And yes, this one definitely is, but it’s totally worth a try!

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Monkey Meat… it’s not what you think

Monkey Meat recipe is a delicious sandwich spread or dip with crackers!

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Appetizer
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. stick bologna, cut into cubes
  • 5 to 6 baby dill pickles, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayo, + more if needed

Instructions

  1. In a food processor pulse the bologna several times until it becomes very finely chopped, place in a large bowl.
  2. Wipe out the food processor and add the dill pickles, pulse a few times until very finely chopped. Add the dill pickles to the bologna along with the mayo. Stir to combine, keep chilled and spread on butter crackers or in-between to pieces of bread for a delicious sandwich!

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4-5

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes with a bit of life sprinkled in. Mom to 4 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
169 Responses
  1. Lynn

    My mom called this “sandwich mix” and made it with a sausage grinder. The same ingredients as the recipe here, but with American cheese in the mix. One slice of cheese per slice of bologna. My husband and I served it now and then at our barbecue restaurant and many customers loved it. I don’t eat it as often now, but I have found that when one of my dogs is ill/needs medication, they will scarf up a sandwich mix sandwich.

  2. Carrie Birdsall

    My Mom always made something like this…she just called it bologna spread. She added a hard boiled egg and used with sweet pickles and Mircle Whip. She also ran it thru a meatgrinder for a finer texture

  3. Jb

    Thanks. Nice to know others have made this. My husband’s family has made this for at least 50 years – we’re not sure how much further back than that it goes – and they have always called it monkey meat. They use sweet pickles.

  4. Margaret

    I have been having something similar since I was a little kid….We did not call it MonkeyMeat however….and what I had and still make is ham salad….I use leftover ham and chop it up in my food processor and add chopped sweet pickles and mayo or salad dressing…..served on toasted rye it is great…

  5. Sarah

    My grandma always made this. Growing up during the depression. We add ground cheese substitute sweet pickles and salad dressing. Also make it with him. Very good.

  6. Pat Campbwll

    Ground bologna sandwiches. Grew up on them. Still make them occasionally. I like the name “Monkey Meat” better lol.

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Shawn Syphus Hi, I'm Shawn and I'm a busy mom of four; pretending to live on a budget. I love to cook, and explore new recipes, but they have to be quick and easy with as few dishes as possible.

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