The Best Sloppy Joes

June 11, 2016
The Best Sloppy Joes - Messy, sweet and oh so delicious. The much loved sandwich of tailgates, school cafeterias, church potlucks & homes of busy families

“Ask any woman how she makes it through the day, and she may mention her calendar, her to-do lists, her babysitter. But if you push her on how she really makes it through her day, she will mention her girlfriends.”     ~ Anna Quindlen

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Photo Credit: Tumblr – Jiminyoon

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Nearly nine months had passed, and I'd missed them

This funny (and wise!) group of women who spend their lunch-hours in the lazy river, all while soaking up the sunshine and chatting about life.  I love hanging out with them; what a treasure trove of stories, and wealth of great information.

Making a pie crust?  Add vodka.  Funniest name for a pet?  Milkshake (the cat).  The best potato salad?  No to the Mayo; yes to Miracle Whip.  It also has to be mustardy with, eggs, onions, and a splash of pickle juice.  Have you tried Ina Garten's?  Why in the world would someone deviate?

Favorite books for summer?  Offering a glimpse into what's stacked on their night tables, along with some very

sweet stories

It was fun to hear about two-person book clubs, where (a few times each year) a woman and her best friend read the same book. They've been doing this for twenty-three years(!)

I also loved stories of reading in bed with their husbands, pets, kids, or grandkids.  Such wonderful and cuddly memories.

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Photo Credit: Pinterest

“When we were newly-married, forty-one years ago(?!), I had a terrible case of the flu.  He brought me water, freshened my throw-up bucket, and sat as still as he could on the bed.  His genius way of distracting me from a bad tummy?  Reading short stories

A few decades had gone by, and we'd sort of forgotten about it.  But then one night, we remembered and decided to start doing it more regularly.  We each pick a few books we think the other person might enjoy

We'll read bits and pieces, and often end up getting into side conversations.  It's fun to get a peek into his brain and see what jumps out to him, plus we're reading books we wouldn't have otherwise.

But inevitably, I'll fall asleep.  That stinker, he'll start inserting nonsensical plot points (“and his head popped off!”) to see if I'll say something or if I'm actually asleep.  Most of the time I'm out like a light.”

The Best Sloppy Joes - Messy, sweet and oh so delicious. The much loved sandwich of tailgates, school cafeterias, church potlucks & homes of busy families

As we made our way around and around in the pool that afternoon, they also shared some of their current reads.  Each time we'd finish a lap, I'd jump out of the water, grab my notebook and write them down

For the weekend, I thought it might be fun to share a few

Lots of Candles Plenty of Cake 1-300xLots of Candles Plenty of Cake

Considering and celebrating, everything from marriage, girlfriends, our mothers, parenting, faith, loss, to all the stuff in our closets, and more.  Anna Quindlen says for us what we may wish we could have said ourselves.



LaRose 1-300x


This is a brand new release.  A story of a tragedy of an Ojibwe hunter who accidentally shot and killed the 5-year-old son of a friend, a very close friend



Girl Gone 1-300x

Girl Gone

On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary.  Presents are being wrapped, and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears.  A story full of suspense, chaos, twists, and turns.



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Life by Keith Richards

She read it to understand why the wholesome Patti Hanson would marry a “dangerous” man.  More importantly, she'd been reminded not to judge a book by its cover



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Daring Greatly

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” —Theodore Roosevelt


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Fates & Furies

The story of a marriage told first from the husband’s, the wife’s, perspectives presents two very different accounts of the same relationship.



The Girl on the Train 1-300x

The Girl on the Train

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night.  Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck.  And then she sees something shocking.  It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough.  Now everything’s changed.


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The Goldfinch

The story begins with an explosion at the Metropolitan Museum that kills narrator Theo Decker's beloved mother and results in his unlikely possession of a Dutch masterwork called The Goldfinch.  Shootouts, gangsters, pillowcases, storage lockers, and the black market for art all play parts in the ensuing life of the painting in Theo's care.


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Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

A must-read for anyone hoping to live a creative life, I dare you not to be inspired to be brave, to be free, and to be curious



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Sycamore Row

Seth Hubbard is a wealthy man dying of lung cancer.  He trusts no one.  Before he hangs himself from a sycamore tree, Hubbard leaves a new, handwritten will. It is an act that drags everyone he left behind, into a riveting conflict



The Best Sloppy Joes - Messy, sweet and oh so delicious. The much loved sandwich of tailgates, school cafeterias, church potlucks & homes of busy families

The sloppy joe – messy, sweet, and oh so delicious.  The much-loved sandwich often found at tailgates, school cafeterias, church basement potlucks, and the homes of busy families.

They're simple enough to make.  Brown peppers, onions, and ground beef (or tenderloin for something truly special) add a few seasonings along with steak sauce and ketchup, and simmer until the flavors concentrate into a sweet, tangy mix.

A sandwich that reminds me of childhood. Growing-up .. they were in regular rotation .. I'm sure because they were quick yet good

Different pockets of the country have very different versions of what a “Sloppy Joe” is.  The one I love is the one I’m featuring here—a sweet and tangy ground beef concoction that you ladle onto a hamburger bun.  It's one of my favorite recipes on the site.

It’s a mess.  It must be eaten with a fork, with lots of napkins at the ready

There are competing stories of how the Sloppy Joe came to be.

According to one legend, a cook named Joe at Floyd Angell’s café in Sioux City, Iowa added tomato sauce to his “loose meat” sandwiches and the sloppy joe was born.

According to another, Sloppy Joe's was a bar in Havana in the '30s owned by a man named José García.  The bar got its name because his place was always a mess, and the ropa vieja sandwich served there came to be known as a sloppy Joe.

Wishing for you a wonderful (and relaxing!) weekend ahead



ps:  For recipes and stories from Spaghetti Saturday .. here

— — —

~ Adapted from Aaron McCargo (Big Daddy of Food Network)

The Best Sloppy Joes


  • a small glug of oil
  • 1 pound beef tenderloin, diced or ground (or ground beef)
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, minced
  • ¼ cup red pepper, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp steak sauce (preferred: A1 Steak Sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
  • dash hot sauce (large or small dash depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 6 buns, toasted (gluten-free if you're avoiding gluten)


  • In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add oil.
  • Add beef tenderloin (or ground beef if using), pepper and salt. Allow to cook for a few minutes.
  • Add onions, peppers and garlic and stir.
  • Mix in steak sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, hot sauce and dry mustard. Cook until browned.
  • Serve on toasted buns
Serves: 6
Nutrition + Show
Calories 330
Total Fat 12.4g
Saturated Fat 4.5g
Carbohydrates 28.5g
Fiber 3.2g
Sugars 9.5g
Protein 25.4g
Print This Recipe

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  • Reply Karly June 13, 2016 at 9:13 am

    A good book and a great sloppy joe… what else can a gal ask for in the summer? Loving everything about this post!

    • Reply sexyveggie June 13, 2016 at 6:21 pm

      Thank-you so much Karly! 🙂

  • Reply kelli June 15, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    5 stars
    Several of the books you listed are wonderful, especially Daring Greatly. I want to read the Elizabeth Gilbert one next…

  • Reply Claudia Blanton January 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    5 stars
    I still have not read The Girl On A Train. Gosh, my TBR list is growing by the second, lol. I do love sloppy joes, even if I am the only one in the family. I will try your recipe. Blessings!

  • Reply Sam January 17, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    I can’t remember the last time I had Sloppy Joes. Might have to give this a go.

  • Reply Ashleigh January 17, 2017 at 10:02 pm

    Oh I haven’t had sloppy joes in years and this looks wonderful! I think my kids would love this, thank you for sharing this great sloppy joe recipe!

  • Reply Rhian January 18, 2017 at 3:42 am

    I’ve never had a sloppy Joe before, but they look super yummy. You can’t beat messy food x

  • Reply Joanna January 18, 2017 at 9:25 am

    Thank you for the book recommendations. I love Elizabeth Gilbert, I love her wisdom words that she shares almost daily on Facebook. And the girl on the train has been on my reading list for quite a while now. I’ve never tried a sloppy Joe before but then again, they are not popular in my country. 🙂

  • Reply Ana De- Jesus January 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I have never tried a sloppy joe but it looks fabulous. I like the reading stories to each other idea I think that is adorable!

  • Reply Rodanthi January 19, 2017 at 3:46 am

    I haven’t tried a sloppy joe, but I want to taste it, it looks delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe. Great suggestions for reading too! I’ve put “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert on my reading list. It looks like I have a plan for the weekend! 🙂

  • Reply Maggie January 19, 2017 at 4:46 am

    Oh fabulous! I’ve tried making one but missing a few of the ingredients you’ve used on yours. Gonna try yours soon as it looks so much better than the ones I’ve made.

  • Reply Kathryn January 20, 2017 at 6:11 am

    Reading part of your favorite stories to each other is a very impressive way to bond with each other and spend time together. Not to mention getting in some great reads.

  • Reply Keith January 20, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    That looks delicious. I have to try that. We don’t do sloppy Joes often but they are a family favorite.

  • Reply Veethee Dixit January 20, 2017 at 11:21 pm

    5 stars
    The above-listed books seem great! I definitely look forward to reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert.

  • Reply Kathy January 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm

    I love reading the books awesome. Also thanks for the recipe I am going to save it for my muse try list.

  • Reply Surekha January 24, 2017 at 10:20 am

    My main goal of 2017 is to read loads of books. I am currently reading Book Theif, your book suggestions are great. Saved them 🙂 The recipe looks healthy but I am vegetarian

  • Reply Roch May 7, 2017 at 12:41 am

    My husband would want this recipe. It looks so delicious! Reading a book with it will be a nice way to spend an afternoon or brunch. Chips on the side will make the dish even more amazing.

  • Reply Tiara Wilson May 7, 2017 at 8:55 am

    5 stars
    Oh yummy. My husband isn’t a big fan of sloppy joes, so we haven’t eaten them in months! I am going to try your recipe next time we make them. Your sloppy joes look mouth watering!

  • Reply Jasmine Eclipse May 7, 2017 at 2:06 pm

    These sloppy joes look so good! I haven’t cooked them in a while, I should add them to our menu!

  • Reply Tami May 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I love the idea of a two-person book club. I want to start one of my own. I have a couple friends who would enjoy doing this with me. As far as the sloppy joes, we always use the canned sauce. I want to try this recipe to see just how much tastier joes can be!

  • Reply Tami May 7, 2017 at 10:21 pm

    I love the idea of a two-person book club. I want to start one of my own. I have a couple friends who would enjoy doing this with me. As far as the sloppy joes, we always use the canned sauce. I want to try this recipe to see just how much tastier joes can be!

  • Reply Censie Sawyer May 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm

    We love making sloppy joes. I think it is a great meal for families. Nice and hearty but a family favorite, plus there are always left overs for lunches! Love that. Thanks for this recipe.

  • Reply Sara-Jayne Jones May 8, 2017 at 3:05 am

    Now all I want is a sloppy joe and copy of that John Grisham book – I haven’t read anything for so long! I also never get to eat sloppy joes unless we’re in the USA, so now I’m willing Summer to hurry and get here!

  • Reply Louise May 8, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Oh wow, those Sloppy Joes look absolutely delicious. You’ve made me extremely hungry! I’ll have to check out some of your book recommendations as well as I’ve not had a good read in ages 🙂

  • Reply Chrishelle Ebner May 8, 2017 at 9:55 am

    5 stars
    I am going to the beach in a couple of weeks and needed some recommendations of books to read while enjoying the beach. I think I might pick up a copy of Girl On the Train. You have also added a meal to my vacation menu. Sloppy Joe’s are so easy to make, but put a smile on everyone’s face.

  • Reply Echo May 8, 2017 at 10:24 am

    5 stars
    Sloppy joes are one of our go-to comfort foods! We love having them on busy nights and pairing them with tater tots! I always make my sloppy joes the same way and any good sloppy joe has to have brown sugar in it!

  • Reply Leigh May 8, 2017 at 9:09 pm

    5 stars
    One of my kids favorite meals is sloppy joes. I have never tried to make it on my own before, but this recipe sounds really great. I also appreciate the book recommendations. Summer break is fast approaching and I need some good reads.

  • Reply Yona Williams May 9, 2017 at 12:32 am

    I think the last time I had a sloppy joe was when I was in elementary school…ahhh…the memories. From the list that you have of books, I would like to read Girl Gone. I have also seen the movie The Girl on the Train, and would like to read the book.

  • Reply Hal June 4, 2017 at 1:35 am

    A good book and a sloppy Joe !!! Noooo that’s the worst combination! A good book and a cup of tea and a slice of batternburg cake is the one! I’m British what do You expect 🙂 but I do find the bar in Havana a more exciting story to the name sloppy Joe it does sound like a good match

  • Reply Yeu Doi June 4, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Thank you for the recipe and book suggestion. Nothing beats great food and interesting book. The books are also handy for our travels. Will consider taking some with us for our next trip.

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