Joe’s Sloppy Joes

I have a friend named Joe who makes Sloppy Joes. I love that. But most of all, I love his Sloppy Joes, a slight variation on the tomatoey versions we are used to seeing, especially like the stuff that comes from a can. Here’s my slight variation on Joe’s meaty and messy masterwork:

Joe's Sloppy Joes - served

There’s no way you’ll be able to eat Joe’s Sloppy Joes without some of the filling falling out. That’s okay – it comes with the territory – and the name!


1/2 onion, finely chopped (but not minced)
Approximately 1 cup of shredded cheese of choice (I like cheddar and when I use cheddar, I always buy the Extra Sharp because you can use less while still getting a big flavor)
1 pound 90/10 or 80/20 (lean to fat percentage) ground beef, pork, turkey or a blend
1/4 c. ketchup
Hamburger buns

Joe's Sloppy Joes - in process

You can make these Sloppy Joes a little healthier by making them with turkey and by adding finely-diced red, yellow or orange peppers. Green peppers would change the overall flavor of the dish too much.


1. In a little olive oil, saute the onions until they are translucent.
2. Add the meat. If it’s very lean, you may need another drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking to the pan. Salt and pepper to taste.
3. Saute, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and the bulk of any grease has cooked away. Add the ketchup and mix thoroughly.
4. Sprinkle the cheese over the mixture, cover with a lid, lower the heat to low and simmer long enough for cheese to melt.
5. If you like, prepare the buns ahead of time by lightly buttering the cut sides and toast them slightly in the toaster or cut-side down in another skillet. The crispiness of the bread is a nice foil to the softness of the meat mixture.
6. Spoon the meat mixture into the buns and serve, making sure to provide a lot of napkins! These are SLOPPY Joe’s after all, true to their name.

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