Sloppy Joes

Locale: USA

Source: Tom Hull, improvised


  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 10.5 oz can tomato puree
  • 3 tbs ketchup
  • 2 tbs brown sugar
  • 1 tbs worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbs dijon mustard
  • 1 tbs whiskey sauce
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • salt and pepper
  • hamburger buns
  • grated cheddar cheese (optional)


  1. Melt butter in a large skillet. Add onions and garlic, and cook 5 minutes to soften. Add ground beef, break up, cook until well done. Blot off excess grease.

  2. Add tomato puree and all other ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cook 10-15 minutes, until hot and bubbly and beginning to dry out.

  3. Serve on toasted buns, optionally topped with grated cheese.


  1. I synthesized this recipe after looking at a half dozen variants. Some called for green bell pepper in addition to onion, but where the onion melts into the mix, I worried that the pepper wouldn't. One recipe actually cooked the hamburger first in butter, then drained it and added it back in after the onions were cooked. I thought starting with the onion made more sense, and needing some fat for the onion, I went with butter. I didn't use much, as the onion would finish cooking with the hamburger, and wind up with more fat than it needed (hence the blotting -- I used 80%, but you can go with something leaner). Most recipes used 8 oz. tomato sauce plus up to 1/2 c ketchup, although one went all ketchup, and another mixed ketchup with tomato paste. I had the puree on hand, and adjusted the ketchup and other ingredients by taste. Various recipes called for prepared or powdered mustard. I had Dijon, which made me hesitate before adding vinegar (some recipes called for 1 tbs). Some recipes called for chili powder. One called for barbecue sauce, which is a shortcut for most of these ingedients, yet seems like it should be something else. None called for the whiskey sauce, but I had a bottle of Johnny's, and it seemed like just the ticket -- a thicker, more intense worcestershire.


  1. 2020-06-24: