The oldest living Maid-Rite and, in the opinion of many, the last vestige of what Maid-Rite sandwiches once were, is in jeopardy.
The Marshalltown, Iowa Maid-Rite, which opened in 1928 has bucked the head shed in West Des Moines for years. They serve nothing but Maid-Rites with only pickle, onion and mustard. Catsup was put on the counter only after corporate forced them to do so in the past few years.
The new franchises serve everything else, includng hot dogs and the meat is shipped in pre-cooked and microwaved on premesis.
The cooking at the Marrshalltown location is done in a steam well. And raw hamburger is placed at one end of the steam well while cooked meat is at the other end and scooped into sandwiches. The meat at the end of the well is cooked to 200 degrees. You can order your Maid-Rite dry or wet. Drain the fat or put some of the grease on the bun.
There never has been a food borne illness reported associated with this method in 80 years, and the Iowa powers had pretty much ignored the FDA food code violation of adding raw meat to cooked meat in the same vessel.
The restriction that the state wishes to place on the Marshalltown Maid-Rite will restrict their usual 50 pounds per hour production to 20 pounds per hour. The cooker that the state wants them to use costs 7500 bucks and that would mean at least a 15 grand investment in cookery and here is the kicker...
The final product would be different.
There is a reason that this sandwich has survived since the year my father was born. You might think it a bland thing, but it's not. It's so very tasty that ex-pats will make it their first stop upon visiting their hometown.
Because this is so important, there is a a bill in the Iowa house to let it slide. I hope it passes, even though I am certified professional food manager and I know that the method goes against the grain. I've watched them often and, by the time the meat gets to the end of the well, it is most likely properly cooked. I've never been given partially cooked beef.