Sloppy Joe’s

I remember going ga-ga over Sloppy Joe’s when I was a kid. I was nuts for the sweet ground beef and soaking hamburger buns—especially lucky too, because I didn’t need to rely on the lunch-lady for my fix; my mom made them all the time.

But, alas, like so many old favorites we try as adults, these sloppy joes didn’t stand up to my memories of them. I could’ve guessed looking at the recipe—a whole cup of ketchup for 1 lb of meat?—but I was feeling so nostalgic for lil’ kid summers of swingsets and singing, that I whipped it up anyway. And, after I overcame my disappointment at not thinking these were the “Best. Food. I. Have. Ever. Tasted.” I realized they are actually quite appetizing. A bit too sweet, though it tastes delectable with a toasted and buttered bun and a slab of bacon (but then again, what wouldn’t?)

Sloppy Joe’s

adapted from Saveur Magazine Sept ’07 *

Active Time: 10 min Cooking Time: 25 min

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded & diced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp mustard
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • ¼ ground cloves
  1. Heat butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and pepper and sauté for 10 minutes, or until tender. Add ground beef and sauté until mostly browned.
  2. Add ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and cloves. Stir and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until sauce is rich and brown. Serve on toasted, buttered buns with bacon if you prefer (I insist!)

*adapted by omitting a Tbsp of sugar.

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10 thoughts on “Sloppy Joe’s

  1. I hope you realize how many people are gonna have Lunch Lady Land stuck in their head today. “Sloppy Joe’s, slop-sloppy joe yeah…”

    I haven’t had sloppy joe’s in ages, and the last time I did it was a manwich, which was needless to say incredibly disappointing. Don’t know when I’ll do it, but I’ll have to make this recipe (though I might cut down on some of the ketchup). Thanks!

  2. Jim- Eww Manwich! Haha, I remember going to a friend’s house for dinner because she told me she was having sloppy joes and they turned out to be Manwiches. I was soooo pissed at her!!

    And Mom! I know you wrote me a comment, but I can’t see it! And yes, yours were much better. These ones kind of hinted at yours, but there was something off.

  3. My boyfriend made these a week ago from Saveur too – and I wrote about it on Accidental Hedonist. 🙂 Glad to see the recipe getting some recognition – I thought these were quite tasty – good recipe. I think the stuff in a can is revolting, but then again, I hate anything that comes from a can pretty much – other than oily fishies 🙂

  4. I had to resurrect Sloppy Joes because I was really craving that soggy bun thing. What is UP with that??

    I made several versions before we found one that we thought replicated those of our childhood; and then I twisted it into a southwestern style that about blew our heads off it was so good. I saw this recipe too and now I think I have to dig out that issue again and make it for myself.

  5. ok – this a definite must do for when i have the kids here next
    which means in 2 weeks sloppy joes are what’s for dinner
    thanks for the idea
    the good news is that the grown-ups will love them too!

  6. Kathy says:

    Your page almost always leaves my stomach grumbling while im at work.. But the sloppy joes, Im afraid I’m drolling over my desk! haha.. Moms were good .. havent had them in ages!… Im done from work on aug 15th! I should come by and learn a recipe sometime before school!! let me know 🙂

  7. Radish: You are soo right about oily fishes! Haha! And isn’t Saveur beautiful?

    Kate: Anything southwestern works for me!

    Kristen: Hahaha, I think I’ve always had a soft spot for soggy buns!

    And KATH! Can’t wait until we hang out! I’ll have to teach you some good recipes!! 😀

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