Just hearing the words “sloppy joe” from my mother used to send us kids into a tizzy. There was something wonderfully fun about getting to eat a burger/sandwich that was messy by design.
I first posted this recipe in 2008, after making it for my visiting young nephew. Sloppy joes really are a quintessential kid food, aren’t they?
After my nephew explained to me that he didn’t like tomatoes with his hamburger and he wanted his onions on top, and I explained to him that sloppy joes are made with the onions mixed in with the beef, and he eats spaghetti so what’s wrong with tomatoes, anyway?, he relented.
When called to dinner he ate the whole thing (with high praise), even though he had been making and eating s’mores all day.
Different pockets of the country have very different versions of what a “Sloppy Joe” is. The one I love is the one I’m presenting here—a sweet and tangy ground beef concoction that you ladle onto a hamburger bun. It’s a mess. It must be eaten with a fork.
What makes this sloppy joe extra special is that I’m starting with a “mirepoix” or sauté of minced carrots, onions, and celery. Then I brown the ground beef and pull everything together with a highly flavored tomato sauce. It’s one of my favorite recipes on the site, I hope you like it too!