Sloppy Joes and Our History

Sloppy Joe recipe
♫Sloppy joe slop, sloppy joe uh-hu, sloppy joe slop, sloppy joe. ♫ Remember that Adam Sandler song the Lunch Lady? OK the song is a bit annoying but I still like it and think it’s funny. ( I have a goofy sense of humor. ) I’ve had such a strong craving for Sloppy Joes and I really don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because the song popped in my head and it was a subliminal message. Or maybe it was the fact that I kept singing it over and over , out loud and in my head, for like a week. I think if my poor husband has to hear me singing this song again he will lock himself in a room far away where he wont be able to hear me. But I made it up to him with a few Sloppy Joes!

First if I may tell you my “history” with the Sloppy Joe, it started out very badly. You see the first time I had to eat a Sloppy Joe was in a school cafeteria, yuck!, a bad starting point. At the time I was not very familiar with American foods, other than the famous fast food restaurants. I hardly spoke a word of English and didn’t have many friends either. Then I get in line at the cafeteria and I’m served this messy, soggy bun, with some reddish sauce and “meat” at which I just stared at with disgust. Back at the lunch table my American classmates quickly and happily ate their Sloppy Joes. I just sat there staring at them (chowing down their Sloppy Joes), and at my plate wondering if I was brave enough to take a bite. I’ve never been a picky eater and I’ve always enjoyed trying new foods. Maybe back then I wasn’t as open minded as I am now, but it was really more about my dislike of ground beef (it’s never been a favorite of mine.) I’ll admit that I thought to myself “well this may be a rough school year”. OK I actually did take a few bites and it wasn’t as unappetizing as it looked. Over the years I grew to like Sloppy Joes and other “strange”, well at least to me, and new American foods. But those are stories for another time. Don’t get me wrong I’m not giving American food a bad name , there are a lot of delicious American dishes that are just not replaced by any other cuisine.

For those of you who have children I don’t have to tell you they usually love Sloppy Joes. Here is my simple yet Sloppy Joe crave satisfying recipe.

Sloppy Joe ingredients

1 LB. ground beef /500 grams
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
1 tsp. Brown sugar
1 tsp. mustard, yellow
1 TB. garlic powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1-2 tsp. cayenne (adjust to your taste)
splash Worcester sauce
2 cans tomato paste ( 230 grams total or 8 oz)
4 TB. tomato puree
Olive oil or sunflower oil
Hamburger buns
Water or broth* see step 3

1. Chop the onion and bell pepper. In a large pan heat the oil , add both the onion and green pepper and cook until both are soft. Next add the crumbled ground beef and fry until the meat has cooked through. Once the beef is done drain all the fat from the pan.
2. Add all of the spices and mix thoroughly, lastly add the tomato paste and puree. Once again stir to combine all of the ingredients thoroughly.
3. If you want to you can serve the Sloppy Joes right away . Otherwise cover and simmer for 20 minutes or longer. Cooking longer will allow the flavors to really come together. Check on the mixture often to prevent burning. If the sauce begins to dry out too much add a little bit of water or broth at a time to prevent burning.


Once ready to serve, you can either toast the buns or leave as is. Spoon the meat mixture onto the buns and you have your Sloppy Joes, serve right away. Either Potato chips or potato salad make a great side dish.

Sloppy Joes spicy homemadeMessy, yet satisfying!! Now if you’ll excuse me I have someone to go serenade or I mean annoy. Sloppy Joe…..slop……♫


  1. says

    And isn't that totally what the song's all about!? …in Lunch Laaa haa dyyyy Laaaaaand! I love Adam Sandler…and that song. Honestly, I sing it every time I make, see, or hear the word Sloppy Joe. LOL! Your version sounds tasty…and yeah, the kiddos would love them! We like to throw some potato chips on top before we add the top bun, too…crush it all together and take a big bite…YUM! =)

  2. says

    Too funny! Good work on the sloppy joe, it looks way better than the cafeteria kind. Sometimes when you have a craving for something you just have to satisfy it;-)

  3. says

    Try using dry mustard instead of the ball park mustard. My Mom made them that way and I love the difference the dry mustard makes.

  4. says

    I have a confession. I've NEVER had one of these. They're not customary in Panama and I guess the name sends me running in the opposite direction. But yours…, looks yummy! May need to reconsider.

  5. says

    I think it's about time to make sloppy joe's from scratch. We depend to much on cans and frozen food products. Your sloppy joe looks delicious and ready to eat.

  6. says

    I have never heard that song…too funny:) My kids loved sloppy joes when they were little (the only thing their Dad knew how to cook)…I think they still make them. The the photos too:)

  7. says

    It was a long time before I learnt what a sloppy joe actually was after reading about them in American books while growing up. I thought they sounded scary and I still think they are a little ;)

    Yours doesn't look scary though! Promise!!


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