I know what you’re thinking. Sloppy joes are already a perfect meal for picky eaters, right? But usually there are onions involved, and often bell peppers too, and many fussy eaters will be decidedly unimpressed with that. This here is just meat and flavor. Just make sure you cut the garlic finely enough that no one can pick it out and accuse you of feeding them onions. (‘Some’ picky eaters I know think that garlic bits look like onion bits in things like this.)
How to Serve Sloppy Joes
The simplest way to serve these is to dollop the meat mixture on a burger bun or roll of your choice. I use my homemade burger buns. You can top with cheese if you like, and if, like me, you actually like onions, you can sauté some to add to your sandwich, or just add them raw. It’s really up to you.
How to Make Sloppy Joes
Set a large skillet over medium heat and add butter. When it’s melted and starts to foam, add the ground beef and cook, stirring and breaking it up, for about 4-5 minutes or until brown. If there’s a lot of excess fat in the skillet, spoon some of it out, leaving about a tablespoon.
Add Garlic and Tomato Paste
Add the garlic and tomato paste, if using, and cook, stirring, for another minute. This tastes good without the tomato paste, but a bit better with it. It just adds an extra savoriness to the meat mixture.
Add Other Ingredients
Add the ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Season with a little salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until liquid has reduced, stirring a couple of times. You can cook for a bit less if you like your sloppy joes sloppier!
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if needed, then serve atop burger buns or rolls, along with any extra toppings you want, such as cheese or onions.
Sloppy Joes for Picky Eaters
- 2 teaspoons butter
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste optional
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder see note
- 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 4 hamburger buns or rolls toasted, if desired
- Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until brown. If a lot of excess fat has accumulated in the skillet, spoon it out, leaving a tablespoon or so.
- Stir in garlic and tomato paste, if using, and cook for another minute.
- Add ketchup, water, brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, and Worcestershire sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
- Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring once or twice, for about 15 minutes, or until liquid has reduced to your liking.
- Taste and adjust seasoning, then serve on hamburger buns or rolls.
- The chili powder called for here is the US version, which is a mild blend of chilies, cumin, paprika and a few other spices. Do not substitute with chili powder made completely from chilies or this will be really spicy. You can find recipes for US chili powder online if you can’t buy it; Spend with Pennies has a recipe that looks good.
- Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Woman.
Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!