Grown up sloppy joes! Yes, sloppy joes can be crazy delicious.

Oh my goodness kids…it has been FOREVER! So many events and changes have happened since I last posted. I won’t get into all of them, but to sum it up…life happened and it hit me like a ton of bricks! My schedule is so wacky that carving out time for posting, videos, pictures and just the food planning and cooking has been ridiculously challenging.

But I’m back and will figure out a way to make this all work!

So, with that sorry explanation, I’m back with a solid, old-school recipe….GROWN UP SLOPPY JOES! Yes people, sloppy joes. Funny little story about these and sloppy joes in general. Not gonna lie, I friggin’ HATE sloppy joes. So one day me and management was having a discussion about sloppy joes, how we both hate them, hated them growing up, you know that kind of thing. This is how the conversation finished up – she turned to me and said, “If you ever feed me sloppy joes, I’m gonna divorce you.” I immediately said, “Same.”

That was it, we both knew what was up and that was that. About a week later, a friend of mine texted and asked if we like sloppy joes and I said no, we hated them. She says ok, try my recipe. I say ok and told management what the plan was. The look she gave me a look that could wither a bamboo forest.

I made it and we both loved it! It was legit and for sure, for sure not like my momma’s sloppy joes. (Well, let’s be honest, it wasn’t her sloppy joes it was Manwich’s sloppy joes.) These sloppy joes were sooo good, we made them a few more times and then it occurred to us: Maybe there are others out there with such a deep hatred for sloppy joes and this recipe could turn their life around. Dramatic, perhaps. But at that moment, I knew I was gonna share it with the world.

Turns out, when I put the video out, it came to my attention through the comments that maybe me and management were the only ones who had a deep hatred for sloppy joes. Weird. We thought surely this must be a universal hatred, like the kind built into our societal consciousness. The commenters seem to have fond memories of sloppy joes. Not sure what that’s about but….

That’s perfect because whether you love or hate sloppy joes, this simple recipe is just plain perfect. Perfect balance of sweet and heat, it freezes like a dream and you can whip it up in no time. Dudes, just dooo iittt.

Grown Up Sloppy Joes

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword beginner recipe


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • olive oil for browning
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, chopped, reduce for less heat
  • 4 cloves garlic or more or less to your liking
  • ½ cups BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2-4 dashes liquid smoke
  • cup beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, leave out for less heat
  • teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 cup shredded cheese, or more depending on taste
  • buns


  1. Over medium/high heat, add oil to a large-ish pan. When the oil is hot, slap the two bricks of ground meat into the hot oil and brown on each side, without crumbling. You want a nice crust on each side.

  2. Once the bricks are brown, reduce the heat to medium, break it up and add the bell pepper, onion and jalapeño. When the veggies are softened, add in your garlic and cook for another minute or so.

  3. Add all the remaining ingredients, stir well. Simmer until the desired consistency is achieved, stirring occasionally. You may like it more sloppy or more firm, it's up to you at this point.

  4. Once you've reached desired consistency, remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese to incorporate. The amount is up to you. I like about a cup but if you're a real cheese-head go for it, add what you like.

    Serve on your favorite bun!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

If using Better Than Bouillon and not liquid broth, use 1 scant teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon and 2/3 cups water.

Also, if you find yourself with the mixture being too sweet, start with one capful of apple cider vinegar.  Stir that in and taste again, you might need another one.  I tend to use a more vinegary or mustardy BBQ sauce in these, but that’s just because it’s my favorite.  If you like that sweet situation, don’t worry about the vinegar.  

Grown Up Sloppy Joes

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