Crowd Pleasing Sloppy Joes


Last weekend, our oldest daughter had her very first slumber party with a few friends. I asked her what she wanted me to make for supper for her and her friends and she quickly said, “Sloppy Joes!” Well, that’s easy. I can easily throw that together without too much effort. It feeds a crowd and my family doesn’t mind eating leftovers for a couple of days. My husband usually requests a big crock pot or sloppy joes for food days at his work and they go over well. I admit, I get a little anxious sending my good crock pot with its attached lid fitting spoon. I’m always afraid that spoon is going to somehow get lost or taken by mistake. This spoon came with the crock pot and fits in the lid for transport so I can’t just get a replacement if something happens to it. I think I threatened one of my husband’s coworkers over the spoon. “Dave, Return my spoon or there will be hell to pay!” He had graciously washed it and grabbed it after a food day, but forgot to give it to my husband. I’d like to somehow attach this beloved spoon to the crock pot with a lock and chain so they can still use it and enjoy my food, but don’t dare take off with my spoon by mistake! Instead of the Soup Nazi, I guess I’m the Spoon Nazi! I’ll hunt you down if you take my spoon, but please enjoy my sloppy joes! Ha Ha!

Sloppy Joes

Start with the basics, onion and garlic
Start with the basics, onion and garlic
Browned Hamburger meat
Browned Hamburger meat
Tomato sauce and paste has been added
Tomato sauce and paste has been added
Adding in BBQ sauce and mustard
Adding in BBQ sauce and mustard
My spices of choice: Kosher Salt, Steak Seasoning, Ground Chipotle Chile, Ground Black pepper, Paprika, and Brown Sugar
The spices: Kosher Salt, Steak Seasoning, Ground Chipotle Chile, Ground Black pepper, Paprika, and Brown Sugar
My secret ingredient! Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup
My secret ingredient! Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup
Ready to serve!
Ready to serve!
Take a bite!
Go ahead take a bite! I just did!

Sloppy Joes


1 TBS olive oil

1 Medium-large onion – diced fine

4 Garlic Cloves – minced

3 lbs ground chuck beef. I use 80/20

1 28-30 oz can of tomato sauce

1 6 oz can of tomato paste

2-3 TBS Dijon Mustard

1/2 C BBQ sauce. I used a combo of Famous Dave’s Rich and Sassy and Sweet Baby Ray’s Hickory Brown Sugar

3 TBS Balsamic Vinegar Ketchup. You can substitute 2 1/2 TBS regular ketchup mixed with 1/2 TBS balsamic vinegar

1/2 teas Kosher Salt

1 1/4 teas Steak seasoning. I used Aldi.

2-3 TBS light brown sugar.

1 teas paprika

1/4 teas ground chipotle chile powder

1/2 – 3/4 teas ground black pepper

Buns or rolls

sliced cheese or shredded cheese – optional



In a large pot, heat olive oil on medium heat and add in diced onion. Saute’ for 4-5 minutes on medium – low heat until onion soften. Add in garlic and stir so it does not burn.

Add in the ground beef. Brown this on medium heat until almost all pink is gone.

Remove excess grease, but not all of it. I usually try to keep 3-4 TBS of the grease still in the meat. This helps to add flavor to the sloppy joes. Drain more or all if you prefer.

Add in the tomato sauce and tomato paste

Add in Dijon mustard, BBQ sauce (s), ketchup, and all the spices. Add in brown sugar to taste. Some prefer sweeter sloppy joes, but I like them to have more kick.

Keep this on medium – low heat until all ingredients are well combined and flavors mingle. Stir, cover and leave alone for 15-20 min.

Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.

Sloppy joes can sit on low and simmer for hours or they can be served immediately. I prefer to let them simmer for as long as possible.

Serve on buns or rolls.

We like to top them with sliced or shredded cheese. My personal preference is open face with shredded cheddar cheese or sliced pepper jack cheese.

This feeds an army. At least 15-20 sandwiches, depending on how big you make them.


Variations and Leftovers:

You can also make this in the crock pot. Just saute’ onion, garlic and brown meat on the stove, drain and then transfer to the crock pot and then continue with recipe.

Made too much? Don’t worry, you can easily freeze the sloppy joe meat in a bag or freezer safe container for up to 3 months and just thaw and then warm on the stove or in crock pot on low-medium until heated through.

Sloppy Joe Calzones: You could also use Rhodes Frozen Dinner Rolls, store-bought pizza dough, pre made crescent roll dough, or homemade pizza dough to make little hot pockets or sloppy joe calzones. Just roll the dough out flat and spoon the sloppy joe mixture on one side. I’d of course, add some shredded cheese, fold the rest of the dough over the top and crimp edges. Top with a little salt and pepper and bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 min or until golden brown. You could even make these smaller for a little appetizer or bite sized party food.

Add some dogs: Sometimes, I’ll grill up some hot dogs, cut them up into small pieces and add those into the sloppy joes too.

How I prefer to eat them - Open face topped with cheese, of course.
How I prefer to eat them – Open face topped with cheese, of course.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s