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Homemade Sloppy Joes have a special place in my heart. The first time I tried them was at one of my best friend’s houses. Her mom had the best Sloppy Joe recipe ever. My mom didn’t consider them a “healthy” dinner option. Don’t ask me why, but she had something against Sloppy Joes. My friend’s mom was aware of how much I loved them so every time I came for dinner, she would make them for me.
I absolutely loved her for this. Ever since then I have tried others but in my heart and mind, hers is the best Sloppy Joe recipe of all time. Hands down. This is her famous (at least for me) Sloppy Joe recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE SLOPPY JOES
Basically all you do is brown ground beef, put it in a colander to drain all the cooking liquid out of it, set it aside and then saute chopped onions, garlic and bell peppers. I like to use different colored bell peppers just to add an extra layer of color. You return the meat to the skillet and add tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, dijon mustard, brown sugar, spices of your choice (I like to use paprika and chili flakes), salt and pepper.
A little water may be added if you think the mixture is too thick. All these ingredients are then simmered to let the flavors develop and that’s it. Easy as that.
All you need then is a bread bun of your choice, stuff the mixture in between the bun (just like making a hamburger) and you’re done.
WHY ARE THEY CALLED SLOPPY JOES?
There are several versions to the story as to how they were invented. Some people say they were invented by Jose Garcia, a Cuban cook who made a Cuban sandwich using his own version of “ropa vieja” which is a traditional meat recipe in Cuba. Others say they were invented in Iowa (in Sioux City’s Angell’s cafe) by a chef named Joe. Apparently, during the 1950s people ate what were called “loose meat sandwiches” and Joe happened to add ketchup or tomato sauce to his recipe and they started calling these sandwiches “Sloppy Joes’.
OTHER RECIPES USING SLOPPY JOE MEAT
Since I love Sloppy Joe meat, I have used it in several different ways. Let me mention a few:
1- Sloppy Joe nachos. I love to spoon the meat over nachos, top them with queso dip, chopped fresh red onion and sliced jalapenos.
2- Sloppy Joe quesadillas. You have to try these. Just grab a flour tortilla, some meat mixture and shredded mozzarella or Oaxaca cheese, fold it in half and place it on a hot skillet for about 2 minutes on each side.
3- Sloppy Joe chili dogs. If I ever have any meat leftover I love to use it on top of hot dogs, drizzle a little hot mustard over it and add chopped pickles.
4- Who says you can’t have Sloppy Joe topped pizza? Or use the meat as filling and make some stuffed bread rolls.
5- If you are cooking for a crowd, making Sloppy Joe sliders with shredded cheddar and topped with garlic butter are a great option. Just make them, brush them with the garlic butter and pop them in the oven until the bread is toasted.
CAN YOU MAKE SLOPPY JOES IN THE SLOW COOKER?
Sure! As long as you brown the meat before adding it to the crock pot, you can. Remember you have to drain the excess fat and water from the meat and if you add raw meat to the slow cooker, you won’t be able to do this. Also, as the meat cooks, you should break it up to prevent big clumps of meat from forming. After you add the browned meat and all the other ingredients to the crockpot, just stir everything together and cook it on low for 4 hours, or on high for 2.
TIPS FOR MAKING SLOPPY THE BEST HOMEMADE SLOPPY JOES
1- I like to use lean ground beef. I don’t like my meat mixture to be greasy, and I think lean ground beef is healthier.
2- Adding different colored chopped bell peppers give Sloppy Joes a more appealing look.
3- Chop your veggies as small as you can. For me, the mixture has to be smooth with no big chunks of onion or peppers.
4- If you are feeding Sloppy Joes to small children, avoid using chili flakes or hot sauce.
5- Depending on how sweet you like your meat mixture, start by adding a little bit of sugar and adding on as you see fit. Remember ketchup is also on the sweet side, so don’t add too much sugar to begin with.
WHAT ARE THE BEST BREAD BUNS FOR SLOPPY JOES?
I like to use whole wheat buns just to make them a little healthier, you can use regular hamburger buns, brioche buns, potato bread buns, sourdough buns, pretzel buns, or your favorite buns. You can make Sloppy Joe sliders using small buns like King Hawaiians.
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- 1 lb lean ground beef (I like to use 90% lean beef)
- ½ tablespoon butter
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup green bell pepper, finely chopped
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
- ½ cup white onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup ketchup
- ⅓ water (you can add more if you feel it’s too thick)
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon chili flakes
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Salt and pepper to taste
- In a medium-sized skillet over medium-high heat cook the ground beef until brown, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain the excess fat and water, and set aside.
- Using the same skillet, melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the chopped onions, bell peppers and garlic. Once cooked, mix in the tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, brown sugar, chili flakes, paprika, water, salt and pepper.
- Add the cooked beef back to the skillet, mix everything thoroughly and simmer for 10 minutes or until heated through. Spoon the meat mixture between your favorite buns.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 236Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 372mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 1gSugar: 7gProtein: 22g