Go Forth and Be Sloppy

I think the last time I ate a sloppy joe was a decade ago, but I decided to made them this week on a whim. As soon as I took one generous bite and the sloppy contents plopped onto my plate, I knew there was a reason why I loved sloppy joes as a kid. It’s completely acceptable (and unavoidable) to be messy while eating a sloppy joe. For kids, it’s like receiving permission to cover your hands and face with your food. As an adult, I will unabashedly admit that it’s still fun.

If you’re living in an apartment and/or don’t have a grill, sloppy joes are a great faux-grilled food. The bacon in this sloppy joe offers the smoky satisfaction you get from grilling burgers. Serve these with beer, potato chips, pickles, and a stack of napkins, of course!

Spicy Sloppy Joes


1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons steak seasoning blend, such as McCormick brand Montreal Seasoning
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
4 slices of bacon
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 small jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 hamburger buns, split and toasted
3/4 cup grated cheddar cheese


  1. Combine brown sugar, steak seasoning, chili powder, and cumin in a small bowl. Set aside
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add bacon to the pan. Cook for 5 minutes until the bacon is soft and renders fat. Add ground beef and do not break it up. Let it sear on one side, about 2-3 minutes. Flip it and sear on the other side, about 2-3 minutes. Then begin to break meat up with a metal spatula or wooden spoon, cooking it until the meat is no longer pink. Add sugar and spice mixture to the skillet and stir to combine. Add onion, red peppers, jalapeño, and garlic to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium. Add red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the mixture, and cook for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook 25-35 minutes longer until mixture is thick and no longer soupy.
  3. Using a large spoon or ice cream scoop, pile sloppy meat onto toasted, bun bottoms, sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese and cover with bun tops.


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