I’m going to admit it: I love sloppy joe’s. In all their splendidly messy glory. In all their spicy sassiness. Sloppy joe’s are quite possibly the main reason I am not a vegetarian. I can’t go more than a few weeks without making them for a week night dinner.
A good sloppy joe (and this is just my opinion of course) will be a little bit spicy and a little bit sweet with an itty bitty tang. I used to simply pour a jar of Heinz chili sauce over the cooked meat and call it a day, but soon realized there had to be a more homemade approach. I looked up numerous recipes and experimented until I found my ultimate sloppy joe’s. And by ultimate I mean the best.
- olive oil
- 1 medium sweet onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef, chicken or turkey
- 1 small green or red bell pepper, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon seasoning salt, such as Lawry’s
- 2 cups or 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- pinch dry mustard
- pinch ground cloves
- 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper
- few dashes ground cayenne pepper (optional)
- salt to taste
Heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large stock pot or high rimmed pan over medium-high heat. Add onions, ground meat, and red bell pepper; season with seasoning salt. Break up meat and combine with onions and pepper using a wooden spoon until cooked through.
Pour tomatoes, ketchup and rest of ingredients including spices in ground chicken mixture (in same pot/pan!). Stir to thoroughly combine. Bring up to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and let cook for about 30 minutes. Serve on hamburger buns with pickles.