Taco Bell "Bell Burger" & "Bell Beefer" from 1960's & 1980's

Taco Bell “Bell Burger” & “Bell Beefer” from 1960’s & 1980’s

From about the mid-1960’s through the mid-1970’s Taco Bell made a Sloppy Joe like sandwich called the “Bell-Burger”. It used the same flavored ground beef mixture as a crunchy taco, along with a sauce similar to Mild Border Sauce and shredded mild cheddar cheese. This was served on a hamburger bun that had been steamed slightly to soften and warm it.

This is not the “Bell Beefer”, which came a few years later from the mid-1970’s through the mid -1990’s.
The regular “Bell Beefer” had seasoned loose meat, sauce, onions and lettuce on a bun; the “Bell Beefer Supreme” also had tomatoes and cheese. The “Bell Burger” was just seasoned loose meat, sauce and shredded cheese on a steamed bun.

-To make a “Bell Burger” add loose meat, grated cheese and mild border sauce.
-To make a “Bell Beefer” add loose meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce and mild border sauce.
-To make a “Bell Beefer Supreme” add loose meat, diced onions, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, grated cheese and mild border sauce.

Beef Filling:
1 pound lean ground beef, uncooked
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp mild chili powder
1 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp dried minced onion flakes
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp onion powder
dash garlic powder
1/2 cup cold water

6 hamburger buns (steamed slightly to soften and warm them)
6 to 12 packets (or 1/3 to 2/3 cup) of Taco Bell Mild Border Sauce (recipe below)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Combine in a mixing bowl raw ground beef, flour, chili powder, salt, minced onion flakes, paprika, onion powder and garlic powder. Mix thoroughly like you would mix a meatloaf.

In a skillet on the stove top, add 1/2 cup of cold water and the seasoned ground meat mixture. Mix well. Cook over medium heat, mash and stir ground meat as it cooks, breaking it up. Cook until meat is no longer pink and slightly browned. The meat mixture should be loose, without any large pieces. Drain off any grease or liquid.

Steam the burger buns slightly to warm and soften them.

Build a “Bell Burger” like this:

Spread a tablespoon of Mild Border Sauce on the bottom bun.
Place several tablespoons of the meat mixture on the bottom bun like making a sloppy joe.
Add 1 or 2 packets (or 2 Tbsp) of Taco Bell Mild Border Sauce evenly over the meat on bun.
Sprinkle 1 or 2 Tbsp of shredded mild cheddar cheese over meat mixture on bun. Add the top bun.
Repeat 5 more times. Serve warm.

Makes 6 “Bell Burgers” or “Bell Beefers”

Taco Bell Mild Border Sauce

1 1/2 cups cold water
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 (6-oz) can tomato paste
1 1/2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Add cold water to a saucepan. Stir in the cornstarch until it is dissolved.

Stir in the tomato paste, vinegar, chili powder, salt and cayenne pepper.
Stir until well mixed and smooth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for
5-minutes to thicken.

Allow sauce to cool then store in a covered container in the refrigerator.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups of Mild Border Sauce.

Through a Google search, I find the term “Bell Beefer” from 1974 in the Wall Street Journal, through 1994 in various Diet Calorie Guides. So its run may be a year or two on either side of those dates.

I did a search on the Google newspaper archive. The Bell Beefer was described as follows:

The Sun newspaper- Apr 18, 1982
“The regular Bell Beefer (89 cents) is meat, sauce, onions and lettuce on a roll that falls apart when lifted; the Bell Beefer Supreme ($1.09) also has tomatoes and cheese.”