Now, lest you think I only eat cupcakes and oatmeal cream pies, here is something not so sweet. I have just recently fallen in love with these. They come together in about 15 minutes so I make them on nights I didn’t plan dinner out very well! I honestly make them just to have a reason to eat pickles too. I love pickles. Mom, did we eat Sloppy Joes when I was a kid? I can’t remember eating a Sloppy Joe until I was in college. Weird, huh.
This recipe is sweet, salty, and sloppy. I love pickles on this sandwich! They give that perfect sour acidic tang to complement the richness of the sweet meat. I don’t feel like they are optional, but if you are a true pickle hater I suppose it could be eaten without them. Now, don’t get lazy and not toast the buns. Toasting the bun changes everything! The crisp layer that it makes prevents the Joe from making the bread soggy. Soggy bread is a true crime in my kitchen! Toast the bun.
While you are making them be sure to sing the Lunch Lady Song. Sing it with me now…”Sloppy Joes. Sloppy, Sloppy Joes!”
Makes 6 normal or 4 stuffed sandwiches
1 pound lean hamburger or ground elk
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 to 1/3 cup brown sugar
3 T. yellow mustard
2 T. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4-6 Hamburger buns
butter, at room temperature
In a large skillet cook the meat over medium heat until cooked through and no longer pink. If using hamburger drain off any extra fat. Return the pan to the heat and add your ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Stir to incorporate.
This recipe depends a lot on your taste. If the meat seems dry, add more ketchup. If it isn’t sweet enough add a little more sugar. If it needs more salt, add a little more mustard (don’t be shy of the mustard, even if you don’t like it normally. It adds the acid and salt that this dish needs and the dish doesn’t taste mustardy at all). If it seems bland give it another shake of garlic and onion powder. Taste and adjust as needed.
For the buns:
While the meat is browning place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat the sheet and the oven to 400 degrees. Butter the inside of the top and bottom of the bun. When the meat is almost done and your oven is hot, put the buns, butter side down, on the hot pan. Close the oven and allow the buns to toast until they are golden brown, 4 to 8 minutes.
When the buns are golden on buttered side, remove them from the oven. Place the meat mixture and pickles on top of the bun and grab the napkins.