If you are anything like me then the highlight of your day growing up was when you went to the cafeteria in elementary school and it was sloppy joe day. When I was a kid those old sloppy joes were a favorite of mine. They were usually served on a generic little white bun with a nice helping of tater tots and a little cartoon of milk on the side. I don’t remember if there was any fruit on the plate because… well I had a sloppy joe and tater tots. That’s all I needed to be happy. As I started getting older my mom started making them for dinner. She would go to the store and buy a can of Manwich and some ground beef and then we would usually eat them open faced on white bread. You probably guessed by now that it didn’t take very much to make me happy back then. I was pretty easily pleased when it came to food.
Now that I am an adult and like to cook things on my own my tastes have grown and I am a little bit more hard to please (just a little). I first came up with the recipe for making homemade sloppy joes about 10 years ago. My wife was in the mood for them one night and when I mentioned Manwich she turned and made that scrunched up face that meant I was about to learn how to make something from scratch. Just so you know… I don’t mind that face. It means I get to experiment in the kitchen. That’s how a lot of my recipes come into existence. Well I started playing with different ingredients and after several attempts I came up with one that we were both happy with. It has that tangy yet sweet flavor that you want in a good sloppy joe but also a little extra kick. The great thing about these sloppy joes is that they are not that hard to make. They make for a relatively quick meal when you are in a crunch for time. I am sure that you will love them.
So with that being said, let’s get this show on the road.
What you need before you get started: Sharp knife and cutting board, non stick pan, wooden spoon or spatula and some measuring utensils (tablespoon, teaspoon and 1 cup).
1 pound ground beef
1/2 medium sweet onion (small diced)
1/2 bell pepper (small diced)
1 jalapeno (seeded and small diced)
apple cider vinegar (1 and a half tablespoons)
dijon mustard (1 tablespoon)
Heinz ketchup (1 cup)
Dark brown sugar (1 tablespoon)
chili powder (1 teaspoon)
1 pack of onion rolls (or whatever buns you prefer, but I highly recommend onion rolls)
Small dice the onion and peppers and set to the side.
Heat your non stick pan on medium high and coat with non stick spray. Add the onions and peppers and saute until they become fragrant and the onions start to turn translucent. Push those to the side of the pan and add the ground beef. Brown the ground beef and salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to medium/low and add the rest of the ingredients (not the buns) and stir everything together. Let that simmer for about 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
While that simmers go ahead and cut your onion rolls in half like a bun. If you are just using regular pre-cut buns then move on to the next step.
Once the sauce has reduced down to a nice thickness you are ready to go. Just scoop out a nice generous helping onto the bottom part of the bun and then cover with the top of the bun. You can serve this with whatever you like. Tater tots come to mind or fries or even your favorite potato chip. Its all up to you because these sandwiches go with just about anything.
There you have it folks. This is how to make homemade sloppy joes without relying on canned sauce. I am sure that you will enjoy these. Don’t forget to come back next week to see what I have cooked up next.
Thanks for reading,