This SOS Meal Has Saved Me 100 Times!

My mom was the master of simple meals. With three kids running around and a full-time job. I don’t think we ever ate anything that took longer than thirty minutes to cook. One of the meals I dreaded the most growing up was “hamburger gravy over toast.” Whenever she said we were having this, it took everything I had not to cry. See, my family was one that didn’t allow you to have something different if you didn’t like what was being served.

You ate what was there, or you didn’t eat. It took me many years to warm up to this dish, and now that I am a busy mom myself, I look forward to making it for my family. I have one daughter that wasn’t too keen on it, so I suggested trying it over potatoes or rice instead. What a game changer!

Now that I make it like this, there are never any complaints from the table. I have even changed the way that I eat it now. It’s good any way really. It’s also super simple and affordable. You can’t really go wrong.

Recipe courtesy of Nutmeg Nanny. Photo credits to Kelli’s Goodies.

THE RED NEXT PAGE LINK BELOW FOR THE RECIPE AND INGREDIENTS

Quick Tip: Serve on toast, potatoes, or rice.

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136 comments

Yep that was the Army way of doing it. Since time in the Army for my husband and me neither one of us will eat it LOL

My Dad was in the Navy in the 60’s and they had it all the time w/hamburger. Sometimes chipped beef. He loves the hamburger one best.

i was in the USAF and for breakfast, it was over toast, can’t remember if it was dried beef or burger. it was a white gravy though (breakfast only) so i think it was dried beef. at any rate, i would always put copious quantities of tabasco on it and the guys, at first questioned why i did that. i told them to try a couple of drops and see. it wasn’t long before they ALL used a bunch.

now, at home, my mother always fixed what she called slum gullion. burger, onions, mushrooms if you got ’em, and onion, browned in the pan and then gravy (not with the sour cream like stroganoff) was made in the pan while the meat was still hot. served over boiled potatoes mashed with your fork. then the gravy over them.

we started with flour gravy but then Ma (she preferred Mom or Mommy but i had to rebel) showed me how to make cornstarch gravy (just as good only lucent). while in the USAF, a coworker would come to our apartment to do my wife’s hair and i would make slum gullion which he insisted on as it gave him a taste familiar in his home in iowa.

My husband called it Sh___on a Shingle too – but each time I would make the SOS for lunch or dinner, my kids would say they smelled it miles down the road and always showed up to finish it off. So guess it wasn’t so bad – still it is tasty.

I believe that is chipped beef and gravy, but some call it sos, my dad was in the Navy and they made it then with Hamburger and gravy, SoS

Actually that’s called Chipped Dried Beef on Toast. The sauce was a white sauce made from Flour. The dried beef used to come in plastic packages years ago.

In the military SOS was made with ground beef (army). In the Navy we called it FOT (forgive me but ‘foreskins on toast’) that was made with sliced dried beef.

I was educated at our local “Fleet Resever” club that chipped beef was (FOT)foreskins on toast, and sausage gravy or hamburg gravy was (SOS) shit on a shingle. Having said that my mother, a midwest farm kid/housewife of the 60’s called oir hambjrg gravy on toast SOS, hell I lovee it as a kid and wish i could accurately reproduce moms recipe

I always knew it by a vastly different first “S” moniker that the GI’s assigned to it. Made with dried chipped beef or jerky, ground beef, sausage, or any other chunky meat available, or even a combo of left overs. I always added a dash or two of Worstershire or sometimes TOBASCO Louisiana Hot Sauce, is good served over any fairly bland base including pasta and biscuits. It wasn’t just a Mess Hall staple, but also a depression era stand by that many of us grew up with.

You are right, it comes from what was served to our armed forces and they used dried beef, which unfortunately isn’t readily available anymore. My dad, a WWII vet used to make it for us. You can chipped/dried beef via Amazon if you want and it lasts forever. I buy it once a year or so.

It is, we spent summers at my grandparents cottage and Leo slop was a regular 2 days/WK .it was served over potatoes. Add peas and put over noodles and voilà “hamburger helper”. They way people act is like they come from families that missed the Great depression. That’s part of our history,guess it’s almost 90ys ago so they delete most of it to be able to highlight the technical advances of video games. Like music in their parents generation, this generation can list every video game made

Instead of gravy, add your fav spaget sauce and serve over noodles…. WOW , you just made spaghetti with meat sauce…oh the possibilities of ground beef. Why do you think a pound of ground beef sells for the same as most roasts and cheaper cuts of steak??

I love to make this using ground sausage ( like Owen’s) and putting it over biscuits. It is fast, cheap and can feed a crowd quickly. Sometimes after getting off of work, I fix this with either hamburger or sausage. Then I can relax and put my feet up for the evening. Yummy!

Yes, we usd to put it over biscuits, too. Sometimes with hamburger, sometimes with dried beef. I had forgotten all about this.

Exactly, biscuits and gravy with sausage. The other SOS is dried beef over toast and my dad was army and he cooked it in the army. And for his army of kids he and my Mom had. 11 kids so this food went a long way. We still make it and love it!

I tend to do it the way you do. I add the flour to the beef and little butter and then let it brown a little then whisk in hot milk. Browning the flour and beef and butter first makes the gravy much tastier in my opinion.

My mom raised 10 kids. SOS was a weekly staple. Ground beef browned with onion. Flour or cornstarch adding water instead of milk, salt and pepper over white rice. Try it you will love it. Leave the milk for sausage gravy over biscuits.

My mom raised 9. Grew up eatting this and still make it. With flour and cornstarch over mashed potatoes. Ummmm

I learned to make this from my husband’s cousin using ground beef, served over rice n mashed potatoes. I remember eating this in elementary school.

I grew up eating something similar, but we just opened a can of condensed cream of mushroom, cut the water by half and added it to the cooked meat. Sometimes with frozen peas/corn/carrots. We called it ‘Slop’…. Not a very glamorous name. I love it on rice!

We used to have slop too… I’ve never met anybody who called it that lol although our family’s recipe for it differs from ur slightly, just a tad tho

We used cream of mushroom soup, too, and ate it with rice or mashed potatoes. It looks unappetizing, so when my sister started cooking, she added green food coloring!!! Didn’t help. Green meat just looks nasty!

Dice a green pepper instead, and put it in with the meat after it’s been browned and the fat drained. While the meat is cooking, (on medium heat. Remember: high heat hardens protein) boil water and cook a package of medium egg noodles, drain and add to the hamburger mixture. This has been one of the meals I grew up on. It was many in a category of “Depression dishes”: makes a lot, but doesn’t cost very much. It was enough for a family of five, with second helpings. You didn’t walk away from the table hungry!

I like it on egg noodles sometimes but I dislike green peppers. I’ll give your version a try but will use Red peppers since they are sweeter and less bitter than green peppers.

We did the same…we just call it Hamburger Gravy over Rice. We use condensed mushroom soup (1 can), milk (1 can), and 4-5 beef bouillon cubes. Never add thickener to ours. Still my favorite meal.
As for S.O.S (Stuff on a Shingle), I used Dried Chip Beef sauteed in butter til lightly crisped. Pour milk over to cover it, heat to light rolling boil. Then mix corn starch & milk into a slurry (in a mason jar) and stir into the heated beef/milk until desired thickness of gravy achieved. Then spoon over buttered toast. YUMMY!!
My mom has made a different version, called T.O.T. (Tuna on Toast). Also made with cream of mushroom soup & canned peas mixture…then spooned over buttered toast. Delicious!

I make something similar except I don’t make milk gravy. I used Cream of Mushroom soup and add milk. It’s very good served on hamburger buns ala Sloppy Joe style.

My mum made this as well on the farm. She made it weekly and we loved it. Served it always over mashed potatoes. Thanks for recipes. Completely forgot about ut😊

My Mom made this a lot while i was growing up, but we just called it hamburg gravy, although some people I knew also called it slop! As I got older and things such as packaged onion soup and then beefy onion soup became available, we would brown our meat with a package of the dry soup mix, then cover the meat with water, make a flour paste or corn starch in a jar with some water and after the beef and soup came back to a boil, we whisked the flour mixture into beef and water to make a gravy. We served ours with mashed potatoes. I still make it sometimes and I’m an old lady of 65! My mom also used to make cukes and sliced onion , salt and pepper, and a mixture of equal parts vinegar, water and sugar to soak the cukes …better if left to set at least an hour!…:)

My mom did something like this but instead of making the gravy from scratch, she would cut a can of mushroom soup with half a can of water and soya sauce and mix it all in the same pan with the cooked meat. Simmer for 10 minutes and laddle over mashed potatoes. Our form of fast comfort food.

I used to make something similar to this, but rather than using 2 cups of milk, I used Campbell’s Mushroom soup and diluted same with milk starting with a minimal amt and adding according to the consistency. Perhaps somewhat richer than this recipe.

I made this for my children and they called it dog food because “gravy train” dog food came on the market at that time and you added water to the pellets and it made its own gravy. That was not their favorite dinner yet one of them makes it now for her kids — and liked it!!

Our family version doesn’t include flour, milk or butter. We use mushroom soup. It is served over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.

My mom made this a lot when I was little. I loved it. Don’t remember how she made it but we always drizzled a little vinegar over it.

See? I do not understand people calling it that at all? Perhaps they do not know they are saying something ugly?

We know what it means 🙂 The author of the recipe’s mother called it this and so did her grandfather. It’s a family tradition 🙂 Enjoy!

I have been making this since 1975. I just brown the hamburger meat, don’t drain, add salt & pepper and flour. Cook a bit, Then add whole milk or canned milk and water and cook till right consistency. Adjust seasonings. Serve over toast and with sliced tomatoes. My family always loved it. Still do!

Love it that way too……even without meat using flour and milk with whatever for the “fat/drippings”. Personally love it with bacon grease or even just butter. Good old milk gravy, but love it with most all the ingredients mentioned by others. Wonderful old recipe!

a spoon of instant coffee will darken the gravy – just use water instead of milk for those allergic to it

I love hamburger gravy over rice, bread or boiled potatoes! Grandma raised a bunch of grandkids, foster kids, ranch hands. We all ate it and loved it. My spoiled husband won’t touch it.

I have been making this all of my life (73 years old). Learned it from my mom and grandma. It is wonderful over boiled potatoes served with diced onions and dill pickle spears!

I learned this from my Dad and grandpa (both career military men). We steam the hamburger meat with Italian seasoning so it tastes like sausage. Drain the fat. Stir in white sauce, heat and eat! And ALWAYS served with dill pickles! Will have to try it over potatoes and throw some diced onions on like you do/

I make el cheapo SOS using the thin sliced beef(think buddig) chopped into pieces…Then fry in some butter(or oil) til crispy then finish the gravy

I make this with buddig quite often. If you want to stretch and recipe a little, try adding some chopped up hard boiled egg and definitely some powdered mustard. Comfort Food!

my dad made S.O.S on sunday mornings for breakfast we would put it over pancakes made from scratch with bacon or sausage and eggs….. best breakfasts ever !!!

My dad was in the Marines, he fixed this all the time, called it SOS. He browned the hamburger meat and onion. Added some flour, then milk. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. He added soy sauce for color and flavor. He’d serve it on toast with a fried egg and fried diced potatoes. One of my favorite meals.

What does SOS stand for. We call this dish, (which comes from my traditional Mexican family) “Carne Picada”) and the sides we had with it were always, refried beans, fideo, which is “Vermecelli, and don’t forget my mother’s great homemade tortillas. Don’t forget the best, to make it complete, homemade spicy chili. You use the serano peppers, tomatoes and a dash of garlic. Brown the serano peppers and tomatoes on an iron skillet. Peel the tomatoes and mash them in what we call the molcajete. You’re ready to eat. Yummy. On what you call SOS, (carne picada) to give it a great flavor, we use cumin and garlic.

I use a little different version, brown the hamburger, add 1 can of Cream of Chicken, 2 can of water, put that over potatoes or rice, we call it comfort food!

I grew up with Budding, but Armour is a current alternative. It comes rolled in dry slices in a jar with a metal lid.

We always used Armour when I was very young but Hormel has also been making it for a long time. A lot of metro grocery stores don’t carry either but I’ve gotten it through Amazon.

This was a staple for us growing up, except using a can of tuna instead of ground beef. I make it for my Kids now and they love it! It is a very fast easy meal to get on tne table. You can also substitute hard boiled eggs. I lke to throw in some frozen peas too!

My grandmother and my mother made it with canned roastbeef and homemade gravy and placed over our bisquits. Roastbeef gravy is what we called it.it was delicious. My mom made it for us and i make it for my kids and hrandkids and they love it.

I grew up on this hamburger gravy mixture, but our recipe differed a bit and we just call it Hamburger Gravy over Rice. We use condensed mushroom soup (1 can), milk (1 can), and 4-5 beef bouillon cubes. Never add thickener to ours. Still my favorite meal.
We have different variations to the recipe, like:
As for S.O.S (Stuff on a Shingle), I used Dried Chip Beef sauteed in butter til lightly crisped. Pour milk over to cover it, heat to light rolling boil. Then mix corn starch & milk into a slurry (in a mason jar) and stir into the heated beef/milk until desired thickness of gravy achieved. Then spoon over buttered toast. YUMMY!!
Then there is a totally different version we’ve used, called T.O.T. (Tuna on Toast). Also made with cream of mushroom soup & canned peas mixture (just like the mixture for tuna noodle casserole)…then spooned over buttered toast. Delicious!

Also very good over egg noodles. Add a little sour cream and powdered mustard and it’s just like beef stroganoff. Or try adding a little red wine to the gravy. It’s such a simple recipe and you can change it up with just a few additions.

Let me set you straight, SOS is creamed dried or chipped beef over toast, not ground beef.
Hamburger gravy I use lean ground beef, one pound, 2 diced onions, brown, add one beef bouillon and plenty of water let simmer. Season with pepper and add a few shakes of gravy master then thicken with a flour mixture. Serve over mashed potatoes. A great anytime meal. In place of water and bouillon you can use a large pkg., of beef broth saving a little to mix with flour to thicken. So simple and delicious.

Loved it when I was a kid, loved it in the Army, and I still eat the stuff.
.Put it on toast or biscuits, mashed potatoes, eice or hash browns it’s all good. Sometimes we will use a can of cream of mushroom soup with it also. I remember coming home from Vietnam the day we left country we got a big breakfest and when i went thru the line the mess sgt asked if i wanted sos and i told ya just put it on everything, he smiled and did it.

Mom made this, called it soupy ground beef. We served it over fresh mashed potatoes. Mom darkened the sauce with ‘Gravy Master’, made it look better. The SOS I like is creamed chipped beef on toast. Mom made it pretty regular, and added peas to the sauce, giving us a veggie with the meal, LOL!

We had this fairly often when I was growing up. Mom would use dried beef (aka “chipped” beef) sometimes. The dried beef version was my favorite. Unlike the author, I don’t like this on anything other than toast or sometimes buttermilk biscuits when I have the energy to make them.

That is SOS alright. I lived on various forms of it when I was a kid. I just showed the pic to my son and he said ” Oh wow, you haven’t made that in a long time ,that was good” LOL. I upgraded it when I made it, darker gravy , mushrooms, and usually served over rice . If I served it over egg noodles , I told the kids it was beef strogonoff !

Eaten over toast in US Civil War, was pork n beans over toast, dried beef was used in WWII, unlike hamburger or Buddig, dried beef requires no refrigeration. My father would not eat rice after WWII, he couldn’t look at white rice without horror (if it moves, it isn’t rice). Depression era food, dried beef and gravy, very salty dish and greasy by todays standards. Can eliminate some salt by soaking the dried beef to remove some salt before hand. Sausage gravy and biscuits is a great staple, adding beef boillion to sausage gravy greatly enhances flavor and color. Great memories.

I like both the hamburger version and the dried beef too. A good way to serve the hamburger version is over sweet potatoes or yams, for the dried beef version I lightly butter toast pile on some scrambled eggs and smother with SOS.

I came from a family of 3 kids and have 6 kids of my own. My mother made it, but I make it better! I like it served on egg noodles. I call it slop!

OK, I confess from the start that I haven’t read all the comments, so maybe someone has already suggested this. For a different flavor, you could use wine (I’m thinking dry sherry) for some of the liquid. Add some mushrooms and this could be very much like a stroganoff. Serve over noodles.

I used to LOVE this in the Navy. They served it virtually every morning. They also had a variation with a light tomato sauce that I never grew fond of. But the country style beef gravy version? I make this all the time at home. I substitute the beef with ground mild pork for the country gravy variant, and use ground beef for the breakfast version. It’s great over english muffins, and a coupla of over easy or poached eggs and a few shakes of that new smoke chipotle tobasco sauce that McInerny just introduced and I’m in heaven.

This is one of the “Depression Dishes” my mom made when I was growing up. Thursday was shopping day so she was on a tight schedule and this is a quick meal to prepare. My sisters and I would always tease that we didn’t have to ask what was for dinner on Thursday because it was always this. I still make it. Serve over boiled potatoes with peas and pearl onions and hamburger dills. It’s easy, wholesome and brings back great memories!

This was always our version of sos. I also add chopped green pepper and we eat it over mashed potatoes. It’s really very good and one of my husbands favorites. Corn is good as a side dish.

Of course i enjoyed it when Mom made it, make it now, one of my son in laws love it and is always requesting my SOS. used chip beef, but have made plenty with hamburger and tuna. I really enjoyed reading all the accounts above. Seems to be an American favorite…thanks a bunch for the little visit down memory lane. sid

Buddig’s beef, available near the bacon and sausage in most grocery stores, it 79 cents a package here. I make this quite a bit, serve it on toast, and usually make some fresh English peas with it. One of my favorite quick, inexpensive dinners, although it’s equally good for breakfast or lunch.

My mother fixed SOS almost every Sunday evening for supper. We live in south Louisiana so this was served over open face biscuits and then a bit of Tobasco sauce over the gravey. After we finished supper then we watched Bonanza on TV. Life was great back then.

Our family affectionately referred to it as hamburger glop. Especially on cold days, it was very comforting served over mashed potatoes. I still make it, but I doctor it up a bit more than Mom did. I’m such a rebel.

I’m so glad they’re finally calling it what it is… SOS IS s*it on a shingle IS creamed hamburger!!! Just look at it and you just know !!

Was in the Navy as was my Dad, don’t ever remember eating it in the Navy. At home is was dried beef and gravy on toast and called SOS. Now when we have hamburger gravy on potatoes, it is not the same thing.

Never heard it called SOS until I was in my 20’s, it was gravy whether made with sausage, hamburger, dried beef, or even chopped up hard boiled eggs (Eggs Goldenrod). Sausage gravy goes over biscuits. Hamburg, beef or eggs and I prefer well done toast. Gravy was a family favorite when I was a kid, Mom couldn’t make enough!
I’ve been a firefighter for 33 years and both chipped beef, and sausage gravies are two of our go to breakfasts

I am 83 years old and I have made this for at least 60 years, until recently. I made it with “real” dried beef. Now I cannot find real dried beef; it is “formed” beef or something like that. The taste is not the same, so I quit making it. I used to add chopped fine onion or dried onion flakes, Worcester sauce and mushrooms. It was a family breakfast favorite. We miss it.

Why the butter…why drain the beef… Just use enough flour to absorb the beef fat, then add the milk…it adds a lot more flavor, and the fat is not any worse than butter…

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