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Sloppy Joes

You may think of Sloppy Joes as lowbrow cafeteria food, but they’re still delicious. To make these satisfying hot sandwiches, cook bell pepper, onion, and garlic along with tomato and ground meat. Add a few seasonings along with Worcestershire and tomato sauce, and let this simmer on low in your crockpot until the flavors concentrate into a sweet, tangy mixture. Pile a generous helping on a toasted Hawaiian roll and don’t forget to tuck a napkin under your chin.

Game plan: The flavors continue to develop as the Sloppy Joe mixture sits, so you can make this recipe up to 2 days in advance and refrigerate it in a container with a tightfitting lid, or freeze it for up to 1 month.


1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (I use a mix of turkey and beef)

1/2 medium onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 medium red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and diced

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1/2 cup ketchup

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dry ground mustard

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

6 hamburger buns, for serving (I like the Hawaiian rolls brand)

Precook the ground meat in a skillet until no longer pink. Dump all the ingredients, except the buns, into a crockpot (use a liner for easy cleanup) and stir to combine. Set to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

If you have time, smear a little butter on the buns and toast them on a grill, under the broiler or in a hot skillet. This forms a nice crust on the inside, helping them hold up better to the meat mixture.

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