Just like Billy Madison and the kids, we like our Sloppy Joes Extra Sloppy! The lunch lady knew what she was doing, and so do we! “Have some more sloppy joes. I made ’em extra sloppy for yous. I know how yous kids like ’em sloppy.”~ Lunch Lady
Sloppy Joes certainly brings to mind wistful days in school, tray in hand waiting to see what the lunch lady had in store for us. A simple white bun piled high with hamburger in a sweet and tangy sauce. It was messy but it was always a treat, at least in our school! My Gran knew this recipe as Spoonburgers well before it was called sloppy anything, this recipe is right in line with the flavors of my past and way better than the cafeteria in all its glory.
We love simple meals and this one does not disappoint, from stove to table in under 60 minutes (including prep) the longer the sauce cooks the thicker it becomes. It’s the perfect meal and can be doubled or tripled for parties to potlucks. Let’s get down to sloppy making business!
There’s a variety of ground beef to choose from at your local meat counter. So which one comes out on top for us?
- Regular Ground Beef: Typically contains the highest amount of fat ranging from around 25-30%. Created from any combination of cuts (shank, brisket, round, etc.) which creates a consistency problem, that can result in greasy dishes that also suffer from major shrinkage issues (not talking Seinfeld here). After years of cooking, we avoid ground beef due to poor texture and fat content.
- Ground Chuck (can also be labeled as Lean Ground Beef): A great multi-purpose ground beef that contains 15-20% fat which comes from the front area around the shoulder. Not as fatty as regular ground beef and has great texture and taste. Our go-to for recipes that call for ground beef!
- Ground Round (can also be labeled as Extra-Lean Ground Beef): Contains around 12% fat and comes from the around the rump area. Not as flavorful as Ground Chuck but a good lower fat alternative if being added to spaghetti sauce.
- Ground Sirloin (can also be labeled as Extra-Lean Ground Beef): Containing anywhere from 10-14% fat it comes from the midsection and renders up the driest most flavorless hamburger meat you’ll ever serve. We steer clear ground sirloin due to it’s dry and flavorless consistency.
Can I Drain Excess Fat from Ground Beef?
Yes, you need a fine mesh colander and a large bowl. Place the colander over the top of the bowl and scoop the cooked ground beef into the colander. The fat will drain into the bowl, leaving the ground beef less fatty but still flavorful. Once the excess fat has cooled pour it out of the bowl and into the garbage.
Can I Use Another Type of Meat for Making Sloppy Joes?
Absolutely! Take your pick we use Ground Chuck for full flavor and great texture, but get creative with any ground meat or combo and let us know what works for you! Adjust cooking times as needed.
- chuck + pork combo
- textured vegetable protein (I have not personally tried this but my now vegan parents say it works great)!
Chef’s Tip: Cook this recipe on low for an hour to get a more richly flavored sauce. However, it’s fantastic after 30 minutes and the leftovers shine too!
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How to Make Extra Sloppy Joes
The best Sloppy Joes recipe bar none! Skip canned sauce from years ago and make your own, a winning combination of flavors that's sure to please!
- 2 pounds (900 grams) grass fed Ground Chuck, sub venison + chicken + turkey
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1 large green bell pepper, washed + diced
- 1 large red bell pepper, washed + diced
- 1 large white onion, topped + peeled + diced
- 5 cloves garlic, smashed + peeled + diced
- 3 Tablespoons (45 grams) tomato paste, organic
- 1 ⅓ cups (320 grams) ketchup, organic
- ⅔ cup (160 ml) water
- 2 Tablespoons (30 grams) dark brown sugar, sub coconut sugar
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) yellow mustard, organic
- 1 ½ Tablespoons (22½ grams) chili powder
- ½ cup (120 ml) Worcestershire sauce, sub liquid aminos
- 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) distilled white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) red pepper flakes, optional
- Kosher sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat a heavy-bottomed Dutch Oven or pot over medium-high heat add the Ground Chuck and cook stirring with a flat bottomed wooden spoon until mostly browned, about 5 minutes. Scoop out and drain in a fine mesh colander over a bowl.
While the beef is draining, pour in the EVOO and reheat for 30 seconds. Toss in the diced green and red bell peppers along with the onions. Cooks stirring for about 5 minutes or until the veg becomes soft and the onions translucent. Throw in the garlic and cook stirring for 30 seconds until aromatic.....
Add the drained ground beef back to the Dutch Oven along with tomato paste stirring well to deepen the color of the tomato paste to coax out more flavor about 5 minutes (stir often) to heat through the color will become a deep red....
Now combine the rest of the ingredients into the pan, ketchup, water, dark brown sugar, yellow mustard, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, distilled white vinegar, red pepper flakes (optional), and S+P to taste.
Stirring well to fuse the flavors together, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until the mixture has thickened to your desired consistency between 30-45 minutes.
Serve over toasted buns with oven fries and steamed broccoli or as desired.
- Prep time is approximate, dicing peppers and onions can be done faster in a food processor if desired.
- Cook time will vary slightly with the desired consistency (thickness).
- Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or in the freezer up to 6 months.
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