Monday, 16 September 2013

FOOD: Sloppy Joes

I thought we'd continue with a look at American food for all my non American followers and talk about one of the main staples of American food culture - the Sloppy Joe. This staple - a combination of mince, ketchup and spices tends to date from the 1920's from an Iowa restaurateur began serving the aforementioned ingredients between two slices of bread. But as with most things there is another story that war time rationing lead to housewives mixing ground beef which was rationed due to the war effort, with other ingredients to make it go further. 

Sloppy Joe reached it's mass appeal when Hunt's introduced it's Manwich Sloppy Joe Sauce in a can back in 1969 - making it even easier to prepare and it's still available to this day.  The sloppy part to the name is easily explained - it's a very very sloppy thing to eat, prepare to get it over your face and hands. But as to the Joe part of the name, well there are several suggestion for that. Joe was possibly the name of the cook in the Iowa restaurant. Another theory suggests the name spread due to the vast success of the Sloppy Joe's restaurant in Florida's Key West Region, or that the name came from just a guy named Joe's appearance after eating such a sandwich. 

Sloppy Joe's was actually something that took me a while to get around to liking. I wasn't stuck on it at first and actually it wasn't until I started making it myself that I really started to like it. We'd been buying it out of the aforementioned Manwich can but on our little mission to save money and be healthier I found a recipe on the old Internets and took to making it. It's really quick and really easy to make and doesn't call for anything that you can easy get if you don't have it in your cupboards already. Typically you eat it in a hamburger bun, me on my healthy kick I stick it on a flour tortilla shell. Either way - super yummy! 

Sloppy Joes - 4 servings. 

  • About a cup of mince (beef, turkey etc) 
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green bell pepper 
  • 3/4 teaspoon of garlic powder 
  • One big 1 1/2 teaspoon dollop of yellow mustard 
  • One big cup of ketchup 3 teaspoons of brown sugar 
  • Salt and black pepper to taste 

After chopping up your green pepper and onions, through them into your frying pan with the mince and brown over a medium heat. Then stir in your garlic and brown sugar alongside your ketchup and mustard. The last two you can alter to your taste, the more sloppy the more ketchup you add, I always end up adding a little extra of both just to make it sloppy and with a kick! Then all you need to do is mix it all up and simmer for a good 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper if that's your thing and serve (typically) on a bun.

I dare you, once you make it yourself, you'll never want to eat it out of a tin, every again!

Have you ever had sloppy Joe's? What's your favorite American food?


  1. I LOVE Sloppy Joe's. I'd eat a whole pan of the stuff if left to my own devices. It's that tanginess that's irresistible.

    1. Yeah I keep adding more mustard in every time too and I say that as someone who isn't a huge mustard fan!

  2. oh man, those look sooo delicious!! xoxo

  3. I totally never liked Sloppy Joes until I started making it myself! This looks good!