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.
Oh, I’d prefer this BarBQ over a sloppy joe any day of the week!!! Welcome home, my friend!
Hey, I’m running to your house for some of those baby artichokes!
Oh, we have always called them sloppy joes. My mom would cook them for the sitter to serve us when she and my dad would go out. I remember hearing her bracelets clink together as she stirred the pot of sloppy joes and made sure she was a couple steps away from the pan, so she wouldn’t get her party clothes dirty. It was always served on the soft buns, like you have, and I would put a big squirt of yellow mustard on the bun before the sloppy joe was piled on the bun. I tried to make them for my son and he doesn’t like them at all. He says that school’s sloppy joes ruined it for him. Fun memory. Thanks Liz.
Such a great family story – thanks for sharing, Elizabeth.
This raises the bar on sloppy joes for sure!
Thanks, Lynda, I’d love to make a batch for you and your family.
I love this, and love the memories it evokes. I like to keep classics classic and don’t really mess with them (well maybe just a little sometimes) Your BarBQ sounds great, I never had a sloppy joe or BarBQ growing up, I feel deprived. I have had them since I left home many many moons ago, and love them. I love the sauce on the meat, what a fantastic recipe.
Thanks so much – it’s a family fav for certain –
This looks so good, Liz. The perfect comfort dinner. I grew up with sloppy joes in the school cafeteria, and it was always my favorite day for lunch. But I love your version with brown sugar, apple cider, and mustard!!
I’m dreaming of your kale pesto, though, Susan –
What a blast from the past! Although I haven’t eaten beef for years I did used to love sloppy Joe’s as a kid! I remember having them at summer camp! Such a coincidence that both you and Larry called them by the same name! Great post and thanks for the memories!
Thanks Jayne – I was reading your message as it came in – great minds think alike!
I guess we would make it with chopped beef and call it sloppy joes or perhaps meatballs and call it fricasee – depends on whether we’re delving back to my mom’s mom or my mom’s kitchen :-). I love these kinds of dishes — horrible for you if you were to buy it packaged in the store but glorious and wonderful when cooked at home. And really so easy to make. Thanks for sharing.
Hey, Beth, thanks for your comment. My mom would get a kick out all this, as would her mother.
Oh Yes, My Mom made this with chopped sirloin and I think we had it at least two times a month when I was growing up! Of course, it is now a classic with my family too. It is so funny really, my memories are now my hubby walking in from work and “sniffing”, sloppy joes tonight?
Love the story about you Mom and her filling your fridge ….so sweet.
She was so sweet to always have food in the fridge for us – I still miss it!
Some people call it ‘loose meat’ sandwich, but I have to admit that name seems a bit repulsive to me. I like ‘BarBQ’ better. GREG
How could I forget “loose meat”? Agree, pretty repulsive…
Oohhh….like a sloppy joe but even better! Love the sweet peppers and the cubed (as opposed to ground) meat…yum! You could put this in my fridge any day!
This sounds amazing. So much better than sloppy joe. Chunks of meat and that savory sauce, I love it.
Mouth watering… Looks delicious!!!
Thanks for the visit, Maggie – just by coincidence, I made a batch of this to enjoy for our supper tonight.
I’ve never had a sandwich like this, if you can believe it! I’m not sure what my family would call it 🙂 I’ll ask my mom next time we’re together.
Really, never had a sloppy joe, Lisa?