When I was growing up, we never ate “Sloppy Joes”. We ate “BarBQ”, a family favorite that my mother learned to make from her mother. This recipe became one of my first cooking efforts and I still turn to my family’s “BarBQ” for a comfort food lunch or supper.
Recently, Larry and I were talking about old family recipe names and we discovered that his mother called it “BarBQ” as well. Since Irene grew up in Iowa and my grandmother in Kalamazoo, Michigan, we wondered it this is a Midwestern thing. What do you call this dish?
There aren’t too many family recipes that make me feel more sentimental than this one. Whenever Larry and I would come home from a trip, we would find that my mother had sneaked a batch of this into our fridge – along with milk, eggs and bread. I never open the door of that empty, post-vacation fridge without remembering Mama and her BarBQ.
I’ve never played much with the recipe. Sometimes, I throw in some chopped sweet peppers, just for some color. After all, sometimes a classic should remain a classic.
TIP: I always make this earlier in the day, since it tastes so much better reheated. A day ahead is even better for improving the flavors. And I always buy organic ketchup…
- 1½ pounds lean ground beef
- ½ onion, chopped
- 1 cup chopped red, yellow and/or orange bell pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1½ cups ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup Meyer lemon juice, or any fresh lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Using a large skillet, cook the meat, onions and peppers over medium-high heat until the meat has browned. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add remaining ingredients, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
- Serve over hamburger buns or grilled bread.