Sloppy Joes - Betty's style

Michelle Koletar/Mertz


There are so many sloppy joe recipes out there. So many great ones! But, I always go back to the way my mom (Betty) made them. These are just your simple, old school bbqs--nothing secret or creative here. But, oh, so good. My son doesn't like any other kind of sloppy joe, so this is how we do it. Now, you can see in the pic that I don't dice my peppers & onions really, really fine. If your family is not veggie lovers, then grate those babies up & they'll never know they're in there. Sharing in case anyone wants a basic recipe, and these go great w/ the Aldine Hotel Baked Beans!

pinch tips: How to Use a Meat Thermometer




20 Min


45 Min


2 lb
ground chuck or sirloin (can use ground beef)
red pepper, diced
green pepper, diced
onion, diced
cups, ketchup
4 Tbsp
mustard, yellow (or less to your taste)
3 Tbsp
vinegar (apple cider or white)
3 Tbsp
sugar (white, & you can use brown if you prefer)
1 tsp
liquid smoke flavoring (or just a little less than 1 tsp)
1 tsp
montreal burger or steak seasoning
1 tsp
celery seed
dash of garlic powder, and a dash of chili powder
2 tsp
worcestershire sauce

Directions Step-By-Step

Salt your onions & peppers & get them sauteeing in a Dutch Oven or large pan. You want them to get softened. I don't add oil or butter to the pan.
In separate frying pan, get your ground chuck cooking up. I add salt & the worcestershire sauce @ this point. When the onions & peppers are done, remove them from the Dutch Oven & set aside. Now, take a slotted spoon & transfer the ground chuck to the Dutch Oven, leaving all that grease or juice behind in the old fry pan.
Really get your ground chuck sizzling now. Mama Betty always told me the good flavor came from getting your meat "really brown." I add more worcestershire sauce & some ground black pepper. You really shouldn't have any grease to drain @ this point & the meat should be getting nice & brown. Add a few sprinkles of hamburger seasoning, garlic powder & the celery seed.
Mix the ketchup, vinegar, mustard, liquid smoke & sugar in a bowl. When the beef is browned to your liking, pour this sauce overtop of it in the Dutch Oven & stir well. I then transfer everything to a crockpot & just keep it on warm. It gets really nice & moist that way, but Mama Betty always just cooked it low on the stove for about 45 minutes.
If you forget to add an ingredient as you're going, don't spazz out. Just go back & add it whenever you remember. (They're called SLOPPY Joes, not PERFECTLY NEAT Joes.) :) Plus, you will want to taste it throughout to suit your taste buds. I always salt the veggies & the meat, but then I don't add more salt unless I really think it needs it at the end. Black pepper -- I'm generous w/ that. Load this onto hamburger buns & enjoy!

About this Recipe

Course/Dish: Beef, Other Main Dishes
Other Tags: Quick & Easy, For Kids