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!


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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4.88 from 8 votes

Monkey Meat… it’s not what you think

Monkey Meat recipe is a delicious sandwich spread or dip with crackers!
Prep Time15 mins
Total Time15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 5
Calories: 440 kcal
Author: Shawn


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


  • In a food processor pulse the bologna several times until it becomes very finely chopped, place in a large bowl.
  • 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!


Calories: 440kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1582mg | Potassium: 346mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 210IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 1mg
Keywords: bologna, dill pickles, mayo
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?don't forget to share a picture and mention @iwashyoudry on Instagram or tag #iwashyoudry!

About the author

Shawn is the Owner and Creator of I Wash You Dry. She loves to create and share simple, family-friendly recipes. Mom to 5 adorable children and dwells in the desert of Southern Utah.
193 Responses
  1. Elizabeth Daugherty

    Mom called this Ham Salad (why, I don’t get it). BUT yes we just bologna, pickles – or relish) & boiled eggs to mix with mayo.
    We put the bologna & eggs through a greater then add pickles & mix.

  2. Linda Moe

    I live in Eastern South Dakota and we called these the funeral sandwiches or Funeral burgers, because this was the traditional sandwich that would be served down in the Church basement after an afternoon funeral service. This sandwich, along with red jello with fresh bananas and topped with cool whip, many varieties of homemade cakes and pickles and kool-aide or lemonade and lots of strong egg coffee were standard fare at most funerals. Our area was settled mainly by people of Scandinavian and German descent. The food was always good and plentiful. There was something special about those sandwiches, I think it was that the spread was made with love and in large portions that made them taste like a little bit of heaven.

    1. Paul

      5 stars
      I used the relish because it all I have. Boy! The spread were really good! Better than deli department. It’s a keeper! Woll make more.

    2. Cynthia Evanoff

      My sister, husband and I were talking about the sandwich spread from Oscar Meyer that we used to eat like crazy when we were kids. We are all in our 60’s. Our favorite memory was eating the spread out of the gathered ends of the plastic wrap. So happy to find your recipe and the comments of enjoyment from others. We are in confinement .Pray that it is over soon…I do need my spread!

  3. Byrrni

    5 stars
    Our family grew up on this but we made it with sweet pickle relish. It was also christened “Bologna Sh*t”. It remains a favorite.

  4. Sharon Humlicek

    My kids ( in their 50’s ) still request this. I too grind the bologna, add a little miracle whip and dill pickle relish. I serve it open faced on sliced French bread. Really a favorite around here

  5. Donna

    5 stars
    My mom grew up during the depression. She raised all of us kids on monkey meat.
    Mom is now 95 and still going strong. I think the name ‘monkey meat ‘ has been around a long time.

  6. Dayna Hemmelgarn

    This was passed from my grandma to my mom
    then my sisters and brothers. They called it ham salad and we used the hand crank grinder. We used Miracle whip, vinegar, sugar and a little milk to thin the Miracle Whip.
    Since my kids have all left home I don’t make it any more.

  7. Rozanne

    5 stars
    I grew up on monkey meat. Reason we were told it was named after the music grinders with their monkeys that played on the streets. We made it with the bologna, American cheese, onion, sweet pickles and mayo. Tastes better the second day after flavor meld together. Brings back good memories

    1. Shawn

      Sorry you didn’t have great results with the food processor Cheryl. If you pulse the food processor too many times it’ll definitely get blended all together and have a mushy consistency. Just a few pulses is all you need! 🙂

    2. Kathy M

      5 stars
      That’s how my mom, grandmother and I make it. We all used the old hand crank meat grinder for the bologna and the pickles. My sons call every so often and ask me to make some for them still (they’re in their 40’s).

      1. Mary

        In my family we add grated cheese, scoop it into hamburger buns, wrap each sandwhich in foil, and throw them in the oven to heat them up and toast the bun a little…. we call them Gooey Buns.

  8. Michele Szot

    OMG…my mom made this with ring bologna…and she used a meat grinder. I think I still have it somewhere packed away. I really need to make it…brings back so many memories!!!

  9. 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.

  10. 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

  11. 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.

    1. Tana Ingle

      I have made this for 50 plus years with bologna. We call it bolo salad. I also put a couple of hard boiled eggs and Velvetta cheese in it. Makes a great sandwich.


  12. 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…

  13. 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.

  14. Pat Campbwll

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

  15. Cheryl

    They actually sold this at the little grocery store up the street. It was one of the reasons I loved going to my MIL’s house! Only it was called Ham salad. Not sure what was in it, but it sounds similar.
    Yum! Now I want some.

  16. Debbie

    My Mom (in the 1960’s) used Spam, sweet midges pickles and Mircle whip salad dressing, we would hand grind it…. it was sweeter that way…I still make it with her hand grinder, mmmmm

  17. David

    I grew up with a similar recipient. We grind up the balogna, then we grind up sweet pickles (definitely not dill) the bread and butter pickles are suitable but definitely not dill. Then we add mayo. I like it on soft white bread. Never 2 slices, I have it on soft white bread folded over on it like a taco wrap.

    1. Debra

      My mother would also make it with sweet pickles. Mom came to visit when I was pregnant with our first child. The minute she walked through the door I was craving it. My family loves it. Now I have to run to the store.

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Shawn Syphus

Hi, I’m Shawn and I’m a busy mom of five; 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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