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

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 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.