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Sloppy Joes

Few meals can excite children while still being very pleasing to adults. Sloppy joes are a wonderful comfort food, that can be both fun and delicious. This is my own version, which has been a hit with everyone who has tried it.

BLOG POSTINGS > Everyday Meals

Sloppy Joes

by zirbirt

It's funny, I do not remember ever having sloppy joes in school. I remember dried out hamburgers, questionable chicken nuggets, tater-tots galore, and of course that brown pizza like substance. Sloppy Joes, however, are not present. I remember my mom making them, I remember loving them, but I don't remember them being in the lunchroom. This is very strange, because whenever someone says sloppy joes, I immediately think of school lunches... Maybe Adam Sandler is to blame for this.

Despite the name, sloppy joes do not need to be some lame slop dropped on a bun and called comfort food. They do not deserve to be the quintessential school lunch fodder. Sloppy Joes are meant to be a wonderful blend of flavors and meat that belong in the top of the comfort food category. It is time for sloppy joes to have their day.

Sloppy Joes:
1 lb ground beef
1/2 medium onion chopped
1-2 cloves garlic
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs Vinegar (I used balsamic)
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp Ground Mustard
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
1 Tbs Brown sugar

4 buns
4 slices Provolone (or any other cheese)
fried onions

Before I begin making my sloppy joes, I need to have my bun situations resolved. Normally I bake my own buns. The only problem with doing this, is I have to remember to make those buns in advance. Once in a while, I remember I need to make my buns right when I am supposed to be making dinner. Since buns cannot be baked quickly, I get in trouble.

Luckily, I keep a pack of store bought jumbo size buns in the freezer, for just such an emergency. The only problem is, they look rather pathetic.

I do not think, in good conscience, I can serve my delicious sloppy joes on these pathetic, fast food looking buns. So, I need to spruce them up a bit.

I heat the oven to 350 degrees. Then I prepare an egg wash. To do this I take 1 egg yolk, and 2 Tbs of water. I mix them together in a small bowl, until well combined.

I put the tops of the buns in a baking pan, and using my basting brush, I brush the tops, fully, with the egg wash.

The bottoms will be toasted in either the toaster, or on the griddle. I can even just toss them separately into the oven. I actually chose to use the griddle, but you can do it any way you want.

Once all the tops have a nice coating of egg wash. Simply sprinkle on some coarse sea salt or kosher salt. Then sprinkle on some dried minced onions.

These go into the oven for about 5 minutes... or until the onion bits start to brown. Do not overdo it, as the buns will dry out quickly.

Now that the bun situation is resolved, I can go ahead and get to the meat of the recipe... quite literally. I take 1 lb of ground beef and toss it in a large skillet, heated over medium-high heat.

I want to crumble and cook the meat until it is fully browned.

Remember to let the pan heat up before you put the meat in. This will give the meat a little sear and help keep some of the juices in the meat.

Once the meat is fully cooked, I dump it into a metal strainer and let the excess fat drip away.

I then take 1/2 of a medium onion, chopped into large(ish) chunks and about 2 cloves of garlic minced into fine pieces, and put them in the re-heated pan.

I cook these until the onion starts to get transparent and the garlic gets just a bit of brown on it.

I then pour in 1 can of tomato sauce, along with my salt, vinegar, pepper, mustard, Worcestershire, and brown sugar.

I bring the entire concoction to a boil over medium heat.

Once it begins to boil, I mix in my meat and bring the temp down to low. I then simmer the whole thing for about 15 minutes. Remember to taste it about 5 minutes in to see if it needs any tweaks.


The sloppy joe filling actually has a wonderful flavor by itself, but I find the texture to be too similar to pasta sauce. That isn't a horrible thing by any means, but I find I like to bring it back toward the burger side of the game, just a little bit. To do this, I add 2 very simple components, cheese and fried onions.

For the cheese, I love the nice smoky flavor of provolone. Fried onions will give me a good crunch when I bite into the sloppy joe as well as accentuating the onion flavor within.

Construction is simple, bun bottom, about 1/4 of the sloppy joe filling, 1 slice of cheese (let the heat of the filling just melt it naturally), and a hand full of fried onion, then finally the top bun.

That's all there is to it. Really the great thing about this is that it's good enough to make an adult smile, but fun enough to delight the kids.

Hope you enjoyed this posting, and as always, thanks for reading!

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