For such an iconic retro dish, the Sloppy Joe is very misunderstood. While most people assume the name comes from the sandwich's loose meat, it's actually the name of the bar in Key West, FL where it was invented.
That's right, after extensive research (I checked Wikipedia), I've determined that this ground beef masterpiece was created at Sloppy Joe's Bar, which was probably named for some guy named Joe, who would get a little too loose after a few cocktails.
So, despite the name, the secret to a great Sloppy Joe is a thick, rich, almost dry consistency, which allows it to be eaten two-fisted, sans fork, as God intended.
I believe over the years the idea that the name was a description of the optimum texture helped this evolve into its usually much runnier form. As you'll see in the video, I like to start with lots of liquid and slowly simmer it down into a fine, thick, tender paste.
Spice it up, toss it onto some soft sesame seed hamburger buns, and make sure there are lots of Tater Tots within reach. Enjoy!
Ingredients for 4-6 servings:
1 1/2 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 diced green bell pepper
3/4 cup ketchup
dash of Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
cayenne to taste