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Sloppy Joe’s are pure comfort for me.  They were always my birthday request, with tons of raw onion slices and dill pickles.  I’m have a momentary ecstatic longing for my 8th birthday!  So, why no make them now?  Why long for something so delicious?  And with Super Bowl Sunday lurking around the corner, a slow-cooker full of Sloppy Joe meat would fit the bill nicely, don’t you think?  Think Sloppy Joe Slider, like in the picture above.  Potato rolls are perfect for that.  You will find a plethora (don’t you just love that word?) of recipes for Sloppy Joe’s on the InterWebs.  I suspect they will all give you a decent sandwich, but in The Goddess’s humble opinion, many of them are just “good”.  They don’t use vinegar.  And vinegar makes a huuuuuge difference in the final flavor.  The key to a great Sloppy Joe, is the balance between sweet, salty and sour…that where the vinegar comes in.   So make certain you taste before you serve them.  You may need to add additional vinegar, particularly if you make them ahead. The carrot adds sweetness, along with the ketchup.  Rarely does there need to be additional sugar, and of course, salt.  It all depends on how salty the dry beef base is.  I add beef, chicken or vegetable base, instead of salt to many dishes.  Why not?  It adds additional flavor, rather than just salt, which is absolutely essential.

This goes together quickly and freezes beautifully.  Sometimes I freeze half the batch, in individual portions, which makes it a cinch for a quick lunch.  By the way, Sloppy Joe meat spooned over crispy tater tots or fries, with a sprinkle of diced raw onion, is fantastic.  I don’t usually put cheese on Sloppy Joe’s, but The Spicy Honey wanted some.  He liked it.  Cheese just doesn’t work for me, with the Joe’s.  But, if you like it, have at it!

Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe's

  • Servings: About 8
  • Difficulty: Deliciously Easy
  • Print

  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I use either chuck or sirloin)
  • 1 1/4 cups very finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup very finely chopped bell pepper
  • 1 small carrot, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoons grated (or minced) fresh garlic (about 3-4 large cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2/3 cup ketchup (I really like Hunts™)
  • 1/3 cup water or lager
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon light chile powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry beef-flavored base
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat a heavy skillet or pan over medium-high heat.  Add beef, breaking it apart as it cooks.  Continue to cook until it browns, about 4-5 minutes.  If you’ve used lean ground beef, it probably won’t be necessary to drain.  If you didn’t, then you may wish to drain the fat off.

Add the onion, bell pepper and shredded carrot to the meat.  Cook for a couple of minutes until the onions soften.  Add garlic and and tomato paste; cook 30 seconds, stirring well.

Add ketchup, water, dark brown sugar, mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, beef base, vinegar and black pepper.  Stir well to combine.  Lower the heat, continue to cook, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes.  You want the mixture to be quite thick, but still moist.  Remove from heat and serve on toasted buns with heaps and heaps of raw onions slices!

NOTE:  If desired, you may add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes with the ketchup.  Sometimes I add 1/8 teaspoon ground celery seed.  I seem to be able to tell the difference, but I don’t know if anyone else can.

Simply Delicious Sloppy Joe’s Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020.  All rights reserved.

So here’s the Joe’s with and without cheese….