Ready for a throw-back? Sloppy Joes are just one of those foods that can bring back memories of being a kid. They are kind of like a barbecue beef sandwich, kid style. I love them, but they have to be done right. I like a good quality ground beef, a tangy, rich sauce and a dense egg bun. Without those factors, I feel like I am eating high school cafeteria food. In fact, it was the high school cafeteria version of Sloppy Joes that inspired me to make my own, better version at home.
I searched for a good base for a recipe and landed on The Pioneer Woman’s Sloppy Joe recipe. It was easy enough and I figured I could adapt it to the slow cooker and let it simmer for a few hours there, filling my house with a wonderful smell. I was right, and these turned out better than I expected. I will definitely make them again and double or triple the meat for a crowd.
Here is what you need for about 5-6 regular sized sandwiches:
1 lb grassfed ground beef
2/3 Cup ketchup
1/2 large diced red bell pepper (The P. W.’s version calls for green pepper, but I prefer red’s milder flavor)
1/4 Cup finely diced red onion
1 large clove garlic, minced (unlike The P. W.’s 5 cloves…whew)
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp ground yellow mustard
2 tsp chili powder
2 shakes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce
1 tsp worcestershire sauce
2 Tbs brown sugar
1 1/2 Cups water
Good quality hamburger buns from the bakery
Brown your ground beef in a large skillet over medium high heat and drain off as much fat as possible. Add the vegetables to the meat mixture and cook for a few minutes, then add your other ingredients, reserving 1/2 Cup of the water for later, and stir together.
The mixture should come together and have a beautiful color like this:
Pour your meat mixture into your slow cooker, then pour the last 1/2 Cup of water into your skillet and swirl it around to get all the rest of the goodness out of the pan. Pour this remaining water from the skillet into your slow cooker and mix it into the rest of the meat.
Cook on low for 4-5 hours or crank it to high for two hours.
Serve on buns with a side of fresh green beans or a salad. Yum! I think you will have a flood of memories on your first bite and maybe you can make some new memories for your kids, too!