Sloppy Joes

Where I’m from, just about everybody knows how to make these pre-“hamburger helper”, ground meat creations. My mother’s were the best. The recipe is sort of beside the point. It’s some ground beef and a bunch of stuff that you would normally put on top, except mixed in. Not exactly fine cuisine.

My main reason for including these is the subject of beef. If you have been paying attention, I am not a huge meat eater. We have a crisis in this country regarding industrialized animal products. No longer are cows, chickens and pigs raised in a wholesome farm environment. I will not go into the gory details, but there is plenty of documentation on this subject if you are interested.

We live in a country driven by supply and demand. The reason that there are so many cows being raised the way they now is not because some big corporation said so; it’s because we as consumers are demanding more and more meat, chicken and pork. This is not sustainable, healthy or necessary. You do not need to eat meat products, period! Protein is not meat. It is a nutrient that is in almost all foods. Vegans who eat no meat products at all do not lack this essential nutrient in their diet. In fact, the average American eats far more than the needed amount of protein to maintain a healthy, growing body. If you want to read more, check out the best food writer on the internet, Marion Nestle.

But sometimes you (or in my case my kids) demand some beef. I never, ever buy ground beef in a package. There is no way to know if this was one piece of meat, or a medley of 1000 cows. No thanks. So what I do (and what I did last night) is find a nice hunk of meat – whatever is on sale – usually boneless sirloin, and have the meat department double grind it. My local Ralphs will nearly always do this for me. I think they know exactly what I know about packaged ground beef and are happy that someone is smart enough to ask them to help.


  • 3 lbs. Ground Beef
  • 1 Large Onion, chopped
  • 6 Cloves Garlic, minced
  • 3/4 Cup Catsup (Brooks if you can get it)
  • 1/2 Cup Mustard
  • 1/2 Cup Sweet Pickle Relish
  • 1/4 Brown Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1/4 Cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • Tabasco Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper


  • Large Sauté Pan
  • Chef’s Knife
  1. Sauté the onion and garlic in just enough olive oil to keep from sticking. Cook until translucent.
  2. Add the beef, brown and break up as you stir.
  3. Salt and Pepper the meat as it browns.
  4. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Adjust seasoning. My rule is to go a little light on the sweet pickle relish. You can always add more.

Serve these on a plain hamburger bun. I like a little slice of cheddar cheese on mine. It’s how my father liked it.


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