Sloppy Joes, Slop, Sloppy Joes*


Have you ever had a Sloppy Joe at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West? I did many moons ago on one of our (several) visits to this Duvall Street institution and remember that it was quite good, although I can’t recall any of the particular details of one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. In my defense, we are talking about Duvall Street in Key West and what that entails. But I ramble (that’s what Duvall Street can make you do.)


To this day, I’ve been a big fan of Sloppy Joes since Hunt’s® introduced its Manwich sauce in 1969. As a kid, I was always thrilled when my Mom or grandparents made Sloppy Joes for dinner. I preferred to eat them open-faced even back then because I knew I would get more of the filling that way, rather than having it served sandwich style.

After finally making myself look at Manwich’s ingredients, I decided it was time to make my own sauce to eliminate the high fructose corn syrup, cut back on some of the sugar, and add fresh onions, peppers, garlic and celery to the mix. What resulted was a sauce just as good, if not better, than what comes out of a can. And even though it takes a tad bit longer to prepare, it’s completely worth the effort.



  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup sweet onion, chopped small
  • ½ cup celery, chopped small
  • ½ cup green bell pepper, cut small
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 5 garlic cloves, pressed
  • Worcestershire sauce, several shakes
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Sandwich buns (not pictured)


Heat oil in large skillet to medium-high. Sauté onion, celery and green pepper for 4-5 minutes.

Add ground beef, garlic, Worcestershire sauce and salt to the skillet and cook until beef is no longer pink. You’ll want to break apart the beef into small crumbles as it browns.


Drain the beef and return to the skillet.

Place the tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, chili powder, hot sauce and salt in a bowl and mix well.


Add sauce to the beef mixture, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.


Serve on toasted buns (I like onion rolls for this) with fries or chips on the side.


Or serve on toasted buns open-faced with your choice of veggies.


*Thanks to Adam Sandler for my title inspiration.

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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