Good ’nuff for Company Sloppy Joe

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Sloppy Joe was the unsung culinary understudy of my youth. I don’t ever recall anyone asking for it when someone asked “what do you want for dinner?” I don’t know of a single person that ever listed it as their favorite meal. (By now you are probably asking yourself why this post exists if Sloppy Joe is so unloved).

The thing is, it showed up everywhere in my youth; Dinner on a Wednesday night at grandma’s house, church socials, family reunions, picnics, summer camp, school lunch. And thing is, no one ever complained when it appeared on the menu. If anything, people were generally happy to heap a pile on a bun (or two). My dad always made it opened faced piled high on bread with no lid. Leftovers were always good reheated or piled on top of a hot dog the next day.

As a young parent I kept it in the rotation because the boys would eat it without complaining and it was easy to add a can of Manwich to some hamburger. Well, one night I was all set to whip up a quick dinner and found I was one ingredient short – the can of Sloppy Joe sauce. We lived in the middle of nowhere, the boys were starving, I had to improvise. I had watched grandma make Sloppy Joe a hundred times so I had a decent idea of what needed to go in there. Then I remembered I had a jar of Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Relish in the cupboard. Tomatoes, peppers, onions – already in a jar! I was saved! I tossed together the recipe below and Sloppy Joe has never been the same since. I do get requests for this recipe, and it’s good enough for when company comes to dinner. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. If you are feeding an army you can also whip a batch of my Creamy Chicken Sandwiches and you will have a real feast.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 Lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
  • 1 Jar (7.5 oz) Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Relish
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

DIRECTIONS

  1. Brown the ground beef over medium heat. When all of the pink is gone drain the meat and set aside. Leave about 1 Tbsp of the fat in the pan for the next step.

2. Over medium heat, saute the diced onion in the pan until the onions just start to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Add the diced garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
4. Add the magic (the whole jar of Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Pepper Relish). If you can’t find this locally, I recommend finding it online. It is worth the effort. If you must, you can try another brand, but it won’t be as good.

5. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, salt and vinegar.
6. Stir well and bring to a boil, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Add the cooked meat back into the pan with the sauce.

8. Add the bread crumbs and stir well to incorporate them into the meat and sauce.
9. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If you need to hold this until everyone is ready for dinner simply cover, turn heat to low and stir it once in a while.

I like mine on a sweet Hawaiian Roll with pickles and a slice of american cheese. You eat yours however you like.

One last word about Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Relish. Yes, I work for the company that makes it. No, they don’t pay me to talk about it or even know that I am writing this post. That said, the stuff is amazing. Buy a whole case. It makes everything it touches into a gourmet meal. Pile it on chicken tenders. Pour it over cream cheese and devour it with crackers. Add it to your favorite curry recipe. It is not overwhelmingly spicy, but it has a little bite. It adds a unique flavor to so many recipes I can’t believe it is still relatively unknown in most of the US.

Good 'nuff for Company Sloppy Joe

Good 'nuff for Company Sloppy Joe
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Category: Main Dish, Meat, Carry In
Cuisine: American

My secret recipe Sloppy Joe. You will never want that canned sauce ever again after trying this recipe.


  • 2 Lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, diced or minced
  • 1 Jar (7.5 oz) Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Relish
  • 15 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of seasoned bread crumbs

  1. Brown the ground beef over medium heat. When all of the pink is gone drain the meat and set aside. Leave about 1 Tbsp of the fat in the pan for the next step.
  2. Over medium heat, saute the diced onion in the pan until the onions just start to brown, about 4-5 minutes.
  3. Add the diced garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the magic (the whole jar of Dickinson’s Sweet Hot Pepper Relish). If you can’t find this locally, I recommend finding it online. It is worth the effort. If you must, you can try another brand, but it won’t be as good.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, brown sugar, salt and vinegar.
  6. Stir well and bring to a boil, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked meat back into the pan with the sauce.
  8. Add the bread crumbs and stir well to incorporate them into the meat and sauce.
  9. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes. If you need to hold this until everyone is ready for dinner simply cover, turn heat to low and stir it once in a while.

Like any good recipe this represents my “how I usually do it”. Feel free to tweak and play to make it your own. It is also fairly flexible. I have used crushed tomatoes when I didn’t have tomato sauce, etc. Sometimes I added diced red and green peppers,

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 25 minutes Yield: 20 Sandwiches
Serving Size: 1 sandwich
Calories per serving: 269.11 kcal
Fat per serving: 15.56 g
Saturated fat per serving: 5.81 g
Carbs per serving: 18.32 g
Protein per serving: 14.22 g
Fiber per serving: 1.1 g
Sugar per serving: 12.96 g
Sodium per serving: 396.69 mg
Trans fat per serving: 0.89 g
Cholesterol per serving: 53.68 mg
Nutrition label for Good 'nuff for Company Sloppy Joe
https://oldguykitchen.com/2018/12/21/good-nuff-for-company-sloppy-joe/

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5 thoughts on “Good ’nuff for Company Sloppy Joe

  1. Yum! You know, I’ve always liked sloppy joe but you’re right, it’s never requested, never listed as a fave, not typically served at restaurants but it always seems to just be there! My teenager is not a fan. However, this recipe looks pretty tasty! I think I’ll give it a try. She may be the only one in the family who doesn’t like it. I’ll let you know how it goes. HAHA

  2. I bought 6 jars of your recommended relish from Amazon .I’ve not made the sloppy Joe’s – that’s tomorrow’s supper but it is amazing! Great on chicken. Can’t wait to try it with cream cheese and crackers!

    1. Hi Linda. I know I’m biased, I work for the company that makes it but that stuff is amazing. I put it on chicken fingers, in stir fry, on cream cheese with crackers. It’s like magical fairy dust off deliciousness. Glad you liked it. Let me know how the sloppy joe turns out.

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