Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sloppy Joes

Sloppy Joes

My Venture into Sloppy Cooking

As a sloppy cook and eater, sloppy joes are a real treat. Traditionally, they are made with ketchup, tomato sauce, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and vinegar to form their base sauce (with an infinite number of combinations). The recipe I am posting today is a variation of my mother's that she fixed when I was growing up. Unlike some sloppy joe recipes, this version has an in-your-face sweetness and tartness that will keep you interested with every bite. Mom always used Kraft Original Barbecue Sauce in hers but you can use any brand that you would like. These joes are quick and easy to make. Kids love 'em! Leftovers taste even better the next day. Some people, interestingly, love to add American cheese to their joes. I'm not a big American cheese fan so that would be an acquired taste for me.

Feeling on the adventurous side? Try making these with ground turkey or breakfast sausage. Pork and barbecue sauce, after all, are a match made in heaven.

A word of advice: Don't drop any of the sloppy joe mixture on your new tennis shoes that just cost you $49.99. The stain is harder to get out than picking gnats off an angry dog's rear with a boxing glove. Like that euphemism? It was my father's. Sigh. See what I grew up with?

Enjoy – and may your day be fun-filled and sloppy!

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Barbecue Sloppy Joes
Printable Version)

1 TBSP oil

1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb of ground beef
3/4 tsp kosher salt (or half that amount if using table salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/4 cups barbecue sauce and more as needed
1 1/4 cups ketchup and more as needed
2 TBSP brown sugar
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Hamburger Buns
American Cheese (optional)

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 TBSP of oil. When hot, add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the ground beef, salt, and pepper. Break the ground beef into small chunks. Brown and drain.

Return the skillet to medium heat and add the barbecue sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and cayenne (if using). Stir to combine. When the mixtures begins to simmer, set your timer and continue to simmer for 15 minutes, stirring often. The mixture will splatter if not stirred often -- possibly staining your new tennis shoes. The mixture will thicken, darken, and taste less acidic as it cooks.

After 15 minutes, decide if you need more barbecue sauce and ketchup. You may need to add as much as a 1/4 cup of each if you like your sloppy joes on the goopy side like I do. Too tart for you? Add another tablespoon or two of brown sugar. Even if you do not adjust the seasoning, continue to simmer another 5 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns.

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