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Sloppy Joe’s are one of those wonderful memories we have from childhood.  I love them.  I still do.  I like mine on potato rolls, with slices of raw onion, dill pickle slices  and potato chips on the side.  MMM…what a wonderful memory!  As a child, this was my choice of birthday dinner.  I loved them.  My mother made them, at times, with ground venison, instead of beef.  They, too were delicious.  She made hers with a can of tomato soup, but I save that to have just in case The Spicy Honey gets a yen for a bowl.  She also added dry oatmeal, as a binding agent.  Sometimes, I do that, too.  But, if you cook the mixture low and slow, it cooks down nicely.  Now, I add beer.  Mother didn’t.  However, I think she would absolutely approve.  It is a nice addition.  This is the version I currently make.  I make a large batch, but the mixture freezes well.  And, there’s always room for a Sloppy Joe!

To prepare these babies, I use a Dutch oven, a large cast iron skillet or whatever pot you have that has a good, heavy bottom.  Heat the pot over medium-high heat. I usually use a mixture of ground beef and pork, so toss those both into the pot.  Use a spatula, and with a chopping motion, break up the meat.  Cook, turning occasionally, until at least part of the meat browns.  If fat accumulates, I drain it and discard the fat.  Add the onion, carrot, green pepper, and garlic into the meat.  Sauté for a few minutes, stirring the mixture around, until vegetables begin to soften.  Add ketchup, tomato purée, beer, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and tomato paste.  Give it a good stir, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add Worcestershire, and spices; continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the mixture is no longer soupy. Taste; add salt and pepper as needed.  Remove from the heat; stir in the mustard.  I usually make this several hours before serving or the day before.  If you make it the day before, you’ll need to refrigerate the mixture.

Place about 1/4-1/2 cup on a bun.  Top with onion and pickle slices and additional ketchup and mustard, if desired.  And don’t forget the chips!

Beer-Bathed Sloppy Joe's

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 3 pounds ground beef (or part ground pork, about 3:1 ratio)
  • 1 large onion, diced (about 1 good cup)
  • 1 large carrot, shredded
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato purée or strained tomatoes
  • 1-12 ounce bottle of beer (lager is best)
  • 2-4 tablespoons brown sugar (depending on how sweet you like these)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder (or to taste)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1-2 tablespoons yellow (ball park) mustard
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Potato or Kaiser rolls
  • Thinly sliced red onion
  • Thinly sliced dill pickles or bread and butter pickles

Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef (and pork, if using); cook until the meat browns well.  If necessary, drain, discarding the fat.

Toss the onion, carrot, green pepper, and garlic in with the meat.  Sauté for a few minutes, until vegetables begin to soften.

Add ketchup, tomato purée, beer, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and tomato paste. Stir to combine; simmer for 10 minutes.  Add Worcestershire, and spices; continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Taste; add salt and pepper as needed.  Remove from the heat; stir in the mustard.

Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, add slices of onion and pickles.  These are great served with chips and slaw (which you can plunk right on top of each sandwich).

NOTE:  Feel free to serve with additional ketchup and mustard.  I like my Joe’s on the sweet side, but I always add some vinegar for balance.  The flavor is much better when these are made the day before and reheated.  I didn’t put it in the recipe, but I usually add a teaspoon or two of beef base.  It isn’t necessary, but I think it makes for a better, richer tasting sandwich.

Beer-Bathed Sloppy Joe’s Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2020.  All rights reserved.