Thursday, August 30, 2012

Super Sloppy Joes

I grew up on sloppy joes from a packet. Travis grew up on the ones from a can. Ho-hum and woah salty! In an effort to get away from overly processed foods, I decided to try to make my own. It was WAY easier than I thought it would be! I even ground my own beef for this recipe, which by the way is also incredibly easy if you have the attachment for your mixer!

I'm not a fan of recipes that have mustard as a main stand out flavor, so I steered clear of those. The one I picked is from the Queen of 30 Minute Meals, Rachael Ray. I test drove the recipe for your taste buds' benefit a few weeks ago, and found it to be way too vinegar-y and way too sweet. So this time, I cut the sugar, tomato sauce and vinegar by about half for each ingredient. I also added a little bit of garlic and red pepper flakes to give the mixture a little better punch. And I added some stock to counter the sauce being taken out.

Everything came together just about as quickly as the stuff from the packet, and the flavor improvement is out of this world! It's definitely worth the 10 minutes of extra prep time it takes to chop the veggies and pull the spices out of the cabinet.

Now that these taste so much better than the packet version, you can guarantee I'll be serving these up a lot more often!

Oh and sorry for all the beef posts lately- I'm still enjoying the nuiance of how home ground sirloin tastes so much better than the store bought ground beef. I'll try to get away from all of this red meat after the weekend... I'm working Friday-Saturday-Sunday again, so I'll be MIA until the new week.

Enjoy the Joes- this recipe makes enough for about 6 sandwiches. The leftovers will keep for about a week, otherwise they freeze well!

Oh and if you're also eyeing those buns- you should be! They're fabulous and easy to make. Check 'em out!

Super Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Rachael Ray's version

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef sirloin
1 medium onion, diced
1 large bell pepper, any color, diced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning (I only had the chicken grill seasoning, so that’s what I used)
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon BBQ sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder (about 3 cloves, if you’re using fresh)
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2/3 cup vegetable or beef  stock, divided
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted, and lightly buttered

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. After no pink remains, add the onion and pepper, sauté until soft. Meanwhile, combine brown sugar, steak seasoning, vinegar, Worcestershire, and BBQ sauce. Add mixture to the skillet and combine. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. Add garlic and black and red peppers last so they don’t burn. Add about half of the stock, allow to thicken for about 5 minutes. If mixture seems dry after the first addition, add a little more stock until the mixture is moist but not sopping wet. If you add too much, continue stirring until some of the liquid evaporates. Taste now and season to adjust to your liking with a little more pepper, garlic or a touch of salt. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, buttered bun bottoms and cover with bun tops. Serve with sides of choice- green veggies or fruit go nicely with the peppery acidity of the Joes. 


  1. I just made your sloppy joes tonight, and I just have to ask - did you really mean 2 teaspoons ground black pepper? That's a LOT of pepper! I followed your recipe to the letter except for all that pepper. I only put in 1 teaspoon and it was a little too spicy for my family. I plan on making it again (the flavor was very good) but will be knocking the pepper back to about 1/4 teaspoon.


    1. Hi Emma, I'm sorry they were a little too spicy for you! Yes, I really do use that much pepper. My husband (and his dad too, so that's where he gets it from, I guess) is notorious for putting tons and tons of pepper on everything, so I guess I've gotten used to it. I also buy the big tin of ground black pepper so it's possible mine has gone a little stale and needs a replacement. I'll double check, but you're right- better to add too little and then increase the amount rather than adding too much and being overwhelmed by spice! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. i made this tonight and holy crap it's delicious! i just finished my sandwich and wanted to tell you. i'll never buy the canned stuff again! i didnt put 2 tbs of pepper in it either but mostly because we have to grind it and i got lazy! :D seriously, SUPER GOOD! thank you!

    1. Yay! I am so happy they were a hit for you! I'm starting to think I need to have a peppervention with my husband since it seems his pepper intake (and subsequently mine) is off the charts. At least its not salt, right? Thanks so much for reading and letting me know something worked for you!


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