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Sloppy Joe: the best-ever recipe for the popular American-style burger

Total time: 30 Min
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4 people
By Cookist

The Sloppy Joe is easily one of the most classic, beloved American burgers. Made with flavorful beef, onions, and bell peppers cooked in a sweet, tangy, savory tomato sauce, the Sloppy Joe is not only out-of-this-world delicious, but it's also an amazing budget-friendly meal you can whip up in no time.

The difference between a Sloppy Joe and a regular burger is that the meat is cooked loose instead of forming a patty, even though it is eaten between two hamburger buns.

Serve this recipe the old-school way on hamburger buns, or try a sub roll, ciabatta, or pretzel bun. Fabulous for a quick lunch or easy dinner, the Sloppy Joe is as comforting as it is mouthwateringly good.

What is a Sloppy Joe?

The Sloppy Joe is a burger made with ground meat and tomato sauce. It is a very popular meal, you can also find in the cafeterias of the schools in the USA. There are several versions of this classic American recipe, where the ratio of sweet and salty is given to the meat varies and seasonings such as Cajun flavor, BBQ, Bolognese.

The Sloppy Joe takes its name from its creator. It is said that in 1930 a cook named Joe added tomato sauce to his loose meat sandwich in a cafe in Sioux City, Iowa. From that point on, this recipe became very popular among families because it allowed them to stretch their food. Pairing inexpensive cuts of meat with tomato sauce and onion was a way to feed more people in a fulfilling way.

Some people still confuse Sloppy Joes with Manwich, but they're two different things! Manwich is only a store-bought version of the Sloppy Joes sauce, so if you're looking for the marketed, quicker way to make this burger at home, Manwich is the right choice.


Tips for Making Sloppy Joe Burger

Use 85 to 90 percent lean beef, so your Sloppy Joe isn't too greasy.

You can replace tomato sauce with ketchup.

For a kick of heat, use a dash of cayenne pepper or chili powder to the sauce or mix in your favorite hot sauce.

Try adding barbecue sauce for a smoky, sweet flavor.

Instead of serving your Sloppy Joe filling in burger buns, try using it as a topping for baked potatoes, fries, hot dogs, or to make a gourmet grilled cheese.

What to Serve with a Sloppy Joe Sandwich

You can't go wrong serving French fries, chips, potato wedges, salad, or some grilled vegetables with your Sloppy Joes.

Can you Store Sloppy Joes?

Assembled Sloppy Joe sandwiches don't last well because the bread gets soggy. However, you can store the filling in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Simply reheat, then serve on freshly toasted burger buns.

small yellow onion, chopped
small green bell pepper, deseeded and diced
Worcestershire Sauce
1 tbsp
Yellow Mustard
1 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar
1 tbsp
Tomato sauce
1 15-ounce can
Lean ground beef
1 lb
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp
salt and pepper to taste
Garlic, minced
3 cloves
hamburger buns, toasted

How to Make a Sloppy Joe

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook for 5 minutes until the pink disappears.

Use your spatula to break up any large chunks. Season with salt, and pepper.

Add the onion to the beef.

Add the bell pepper. Cook for 5 minutes more until the beef browns and the vegetables soften.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 to 45 seconds.

Pour in the tomato sauce.

Add the brown sugar.

Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.

Add the mustard.

Mix and bring to a gentle boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce reaches your desired thickness. If the sauce is too thick, add a little beef or chicken stock or water.

Place the filling on the buns and serve.

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