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Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe'sSloppy Joe’s were always my birthday request when I was but a wee one.  I still love them.  My mother made hers with tomato soup, but I tend not to use canned soups…I think it might just be a bit of snobbery on my part, because there really was a reason I asked for them every year.  They were sublimely delicious!  This is the way I make them now.  I don’t know if my memory isn’t what it used to be…it’s not.  I love these, but they never seem quite as tasty as hers.  Nostalgia is terrific, but it stinks when memory and current flavors don’t match!

This is pretty simple, it goes together quickly and it freezes well, too.

I brown the meat in a cast iron skillet.  But, I don’t let the meat brown completely, only about half the meat is cooked.  There will be visible raw meat.  This keeps the Sloppy Joe’s nice and moist.  Also, don’t be moving it around too frequently.  Let it brown.  It will take about 5 minutes.  Remove the meat from the skillet and drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat off.  Set the meat aside.  Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe'sI add the onions and bell peppers, if I’m using them.  I usually don’t, but lots of people enjoy including them, so it’s up to your preference whether you use them or not.  I use a metal spatula, to turn the veggies over, but not too frequently.  I want them to brown a bit, but not burn.  The process should only take a minute or two.  Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe'sStir in the shredded carrot…yes, that’s right, carrots.  Sauté for a minute or two.  They won’t be cooked through.

I stir in everything else, lower the heat and simmer, stirring now and again, until the mixture is very, very moist, but not soupy.  If you over reduce, add a tablespoon or two of water and stir it in.  And that’s pretty much it.  I like to toast the buns; we like potato rolls.  But these too, are a personal preference.  We enjoy adding lots of thinly sliced raw onion, and The Goddess like slices of dill pickles and/or slices of pickled jalapeños…depending on her mood.  I prefer to serve plain potato chips, because I like their crunch…again, personal preference.  These are simply delicious…I may someday break down and use a can of tomato soup…I’ll let you know if I do.

Please note that I made one and a half times the recipe.  Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe'sThe “sandwich” in the picture, is a slider…perfect for Super Bowl Sunday, don’t you think?

Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe's

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

If you wish to use ground turkey/chicken, omit the brown sugar, and reduce the shredded carrot to two tablespoons, or the mixture may be too sweet.  We like our Sloppy Joe’s to be a bit on the mustard-y side, so I use the larger amount.

  • 1 pound lean (or leaner) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped bell pepper (optional)
  • 1/3 cup finely shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup ketchup (use 1-2 tablespoons more if you want it sweeter)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato juice
  • 1/2 cup beer (lager), beef broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce (don’t omit this)
  • 2-4 teaspoons yellow mustard (ball park-type)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar (taste and adjust to your taste, but don’t omit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic granules
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Dash ground allspice
  • For Service:
  • Potato buns or GF-rolls
  • Sliced, raw onion
  • Sliced dill pickles

Heat a cast iron (or whatever you want to use) skillet over medium heat.  Add the ground beef and cook, breaking the ground beef apart, until a nice, deep brown crust forms on about half of the meat.  Remove the beef; set aside.
Remove all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat.  Add the onion and bell pepper, if using.
Cook, until nicely browned.  Don’t over stir.  I use a spatula, turning the onions from time to time, about 3-4 minutes, total.  Return the beef back to the pan; add the remaining ingredients, stirring to combine.  Lower the heat and simmer, until the mixture is very moist, but not soupy, about 5-6 minutes.  It will thicken slightly, as it sits.

Serve on toasted potato buns with lots of raw onion and pickles, with potato chips on the side!

NOTE:  If you like BBQ-flavored Joe’s, substitute 1/4 cup BBQ sauce for an equal amount of ketchup.  If you wish, you may add finely chopped, cooked bacon and shredded cheddar cheese.  Just gently stir both into the hot beef mixture just before serving, but don’t over-mix.  I like the cheese to not melt completely.

Simple, Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe’s Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019.  All rights reserved.

At times, we leave the mixture just a tad more juicy than normal, and serve over rice, topped with chopped, raw onions…and this version, is gluten free, too!