These sloppy Joes are a flavorful tangy sandwich with ground beef in a tomato sauce base, seasoned with bbq sauce, mustard, and brown sugar.
Sloppy Joes, okay I know when you read that title you thought “everyone knows how to make these”. Everyone may, and we all have our favorite recipe, but we all make them just a little bit different. I think you will really like this version because it is simple, quick, and easy. Plus it is only 7 ingredients if you count the ground beef and garlic salt. Besides I have a few tips for you to make your sloppy Joes even better.
My sloppy Joes’ recipe is a family recipe. Years ago I was visiting with my brother Curtis and he had me help him prepare dinner. We decided on sloppy Joes. While helping him and watching him prepare our dinner, I learned from him what makes these taste perfectly tangy, not too sweet, just right. The first tip comes from him.
Tip no. 1 – mince the onion small and cook them until translucent, perhaps a couple of minutes longer than you thought needed. This adds a softness so the onion just melts into the sloppy Joe but still adds flavor.
What really makes these sloppy Joes different? The simplicity of the ingredients. Use your favorite bbq sauce for flavor. Add yellow mustard for a sharp tang. Add brown sugar for sweetness. And a little garlic salt for that sweet/salty/tangy combination. It really is that simple. I have listed amounts for each ingredient, but you can adjust a little more of each for the right amount for your taste buds.
How do I know when the sloppy Joes are ready for serving? Here comes the next tip.
Tip no. 2 – simmer the sauce with all the ingredients for 10 minutes, now is the time to test if it is just the right thickness. Draw a wooden spoon down the middle of your skillet, if the sauce fills in right away – it is too thin and continue to cook for a few more minutes. If the sauce doesn’t fill in, add a little more liquid of either tomato sauce or bbq sauce. If the sauce slowly fills in, it is perfectly ready to serve.
But I don’t like my buns getting all soggy! This next tip will solve that problem.
Tip no. 3 – toast the buns! heat a large skillet over high heat on your stove top, add a drizzle of oil; olive or vegetable. Once the oil is heated, set the hamburger buns cut side down and toast in the skillet. Check the buns about every 30 seconds until they are toasted just right. Set the cut side up on a cooling rack until ready to serve.
I have made these sloppy Joes across the world. Sloppy Joes are an American dish but all ingredients should be available in most countries. I have been told they remind people of home.
Some great side dishes to serve with sloppy Joes are Mandarin spinach salad, pasta salad, or a simple fruit salad. Oh, and those pickles – they are zucchini! And so good! You wouldn’t even know it. They taste just like a bread and butter pickle.
- 1/2 lb ground beef
- 1/4 cup yellow onion (minced)
- 8 oz tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup barbecue sauce (up to 1/2 cup - to taste)
- 2 TBS yellow mustard (to taste)
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (up to 1/2 cup - to taste)
- 1/2 tsp garlic salt
- 4 to 6 hamburger buns (toasted*)
- Add 1 TBS oil to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat on stovetop
- Saute minced onion in oil for 2 to 3 minutes
- Break up ground beef in saucepan, saute until cooked throughout
- Drain grease off as needed
- Stir in tomato sauce, bbq sauce, mustard, brown sugar, and garlic salt
- Continue to simmer for 10 to 20 minutes until sauce is thickened**
- Serve on toasted buns
Ellen’s version of sloppy Joes was first published January 14, 2012. Pictures and recipe was updated July 2020.