Classic Manwich vs. Classy Manwich

Homemade version on the right.
Homemade version on the right.

It should come as no surprise that the idea for Battle Manwich came to fruition over more than a few beers. Two coworkers of mine got into a malt and hops-fueled discussion one night at a local tavern about what could, in casual conversation, be called "Manwich." Frank was talking about how he makes a fantastic homemade Manwich (not the crappy canned stuff), and David swore that it was practically illegal to call something a Manwich that didn't come from that crappy can. And so an epic competition was born.

The stakes were pretty simple. If Frank won, he could call his creation "Manwich." If David won, Frank would have to cease and desist using that name and forever refer to his slop as Sloppy Joe. The two decided to bring in both versions to the office on a Friday and let us decide for ourselves which one was 'Wich. Frank fully prepared his at home the night before and brought it to work in a Crock-Pot. His included beef, pork, tomato sauce, tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper and spices. The rules stated that David had to fully follow the instructions that were on the Manwich can, and so he simply browned ground beef at home the night before and brought a Crock-Pot to warm everything when it was mixed together.

The office smelled fantastic on tournament day. Five judges were picked at random, and they were both given plates with hamburger buns filled with Frank's and David's concoctions. As the judges tallied, the rest of us ate away and had our own tabulations going in our heads. Then the moment of truth... by a vote of 4-1 it was winner David and his classic Manwich. Frank was crushed and said that he (again, not surprisingly) had had a few beers the night he was cooking, so he wasn't cooking at his full potential. Obviously sour grapes.

My opinion on the bachelor's gourmet heaven was pretty much in line with the judges' votes. The classic had a good bit of high fructose-infused sweetness that I liked at first, but got a little hard to take after the first few bites. The homemade version was tasty but just a little dull. To be completely honest, though, I think the best option would have been to combine the two. The original Manwich did offer a zip that was lacking in what is now called Frank's Sloppy Joe (or should we call it Sloppy Frank?).

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