SLOPPY JOES – a blast from the past

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Hi there,

I haven’t thought about Sloppy Joe’s in years, but recipes for this sandwich seem to be having a moment right now. This used to be a regular weeknight meal in our home. It was another one of those dinners that my three sons could agree upon. It was usually served with Kraft macaroni and cheese. I know 😱, but I was super busy with those boys, and It was an easy, kid-friendly meal. I often made it on Halloween.

All these posts made me curious about the name. The sloppy part I understand, but who is Joe? Apparently, there is a Joe, and he was a cook in Sioux City, Iowa. He based his treat on the loose meat sandwiches that were popular in the 1930s.

Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe’s-a smidge healthier


  • 3/4 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 pound ground turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup low sugar barbecue sauce; Ray’s makes a delicious one
  • hamburger buns
  • cheddar cheese slices optional


  • Spray your slow cooker
  • Add ketchup, BBQ sauce, mustard, Worcestershire, garlic powder, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well to combine.
  • Brown beef and turkey until it is still moist but crumbled. 
  • When beef and turkey are done, add minced garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Drain beef and turkey and add to sauce in the slow cooker
  • Cover and cook on low for 4 hours
  • Toast your buns and serve with a slice of cheese if desired.

32 responses to “SLOPPY JOES – a blast from the past”

  1. That’s one of my husband’s favourite meals!

  2. Darlene – British Columbia, Canada – Writer of children's stories, short stories and travel articles.!/supermegawoman!/pages/Darlene-Foster-Writer/362236842733
    Darlene says:

    A great standby! My kids, and hubby always liked these as well. My kids were raised on Macaroni and Cheese, (often from the package) and they are healthy adults now so it didn’t hurt them.

  3. the Painted Apron – Life is all about creativity for me, as long as I'm creating something I am happy! I hope I will inspire your daily life and give you ideas for your own wonderful creations!
    Jenna says:

    It’s hard to beat a classic like Sloppy Joe’s!!

  4. Dorothy's New Vintage Kitchen – I'm a writer, cook, gardener, photographer, poet, quilter, and accomplished daydreamer. I'm also a wife, mother, grandmother, sister. cousin, aunt, and friend, no particular order on any given day. I've been a writer all my life, newspaper reporter and columnist, radio news writer, and magazine contributor, and poet and short-story writer as the spirit moves. Now, I turn my attention to my cookbook, the blog, and a cooking column "Memorable Meals," which runs in our county newspaper. Besides my family, I love dogs, cats, good coffee, chocolate, and my never-dwindling pile of books I intend to read. Our family ran a small Vermont Inn for 18 years, with our focus on local, organic ingredients. I cook from scratch, and try not to use anything that has ingredients I cannot pronounce! After many years of daily serving up local delicacies, cooking classes, and catering, we are now only open for special events, and the odd cooking class. We also host musicians and artists, having helped produce a musical festival and other musical events for nearly 20 years. Many incredible artists have found a place at our table. Wonderful experiences, we will treasure always. My family and friends are my practice subjects. With a family that includes nut, peanut, tree fruit, and vegetable allergies, gluten intolerance, dairy intolerance, vegetarians, vegans, heart conscious, and a couple of picky eaters, there has to be a few quick tricks in the book to keep everyone fed and happy! Personally, I do not eat red meat or most full-fat dairy (usually) for health reasons, making the occasional exception at Thanksgiving and Christmas or our anniversary if the duck is locally raised. I do eat fish and seafood, so I try to come up with alternatives and substitutions when available. I serve local organic eggs and cheeses to my family who can tolerate dairy (My husband recently had a heart attack, and I need to watch my own cholesterol so I am careful, but have been known to let a little piece of really good cheese accidentally fall on my plate!). I believe strongly that eating in a way that is good for our planet is also good for our bodies, and I try to educated myself about our food sources! I cook by the seasons and draw on inspiration from the strong and talented women in my family who came before me, as well as the youth in the family who look at the world with fresh eyes. Food links us all, whether sharing a meal, cooking it together, or writing about it for others to enjoy. I love taking an old recipe and giving it a modern spin, especially if I can make it a littler healthier and use foods that are kinder to the Earth and to our bodies. I believe strongly in sustainable, delicious eating of whole foods, and the wonderful flavors we have at our fingertips! And finally, I love conversing with all the talented cooks and chefs out there who dot the globe! It's a wonderful, world full of culinary pen pals, and I cherish them all! XXXOOO Dorothy
    Dorothy’s New Vintage Kitchen says:

    My kids loved them too! We would make them frequently, but I haven’t made them in years. Thanks for the memories!

  5. It’s funny that you posted this, Bernadette, because I have been craving sloppy Joe’s lately! Hahaha
    I love the Erma quote. Did you attend the workshop event?

  6. I wasn’t to snatch up that entire plate! I love that you used half turkey and I’m sure nobody would even know!

  7. D. Wallace Peach – 30 Miles beyond the edge of civilization, Oregon – I'm an adventurer in writing, peering under rocks in my garden for secret magic. I can't stop writing. My stories want to explode from my head. They demand my attention and surge from my fingertips faster than I can put them to paper. I love what I do.
    D. Wallace Peach says:

    I just made these last week for the first time in decades. It must be sloppy joe season, Bernadette. What a great idea to mix some ground turkey in there. Thanks for the idea. 🙂

      • D. Wallace Peach – 30 Miles beyond the edge of civilization, Oregon – I'm an adventurer in writing, peering under rocks in my garden for secret magic. I can't stop writing. My stories want to explode from my head. They demand my attention and surge from my fingertips faster than I can put them to paper. I love what I do.
        D. Wallace Peach says:

        Ha. They are. And I made your most recent cabbage recipe. That was awesome!

  8. Retirement Reflections – Vancouver Island, BC – Prior to retirement, I lived and worked in Beijing China for fourteen years (Middle School Principal/Deputy Director at The Western Academy of Beijing). Leaving international life behind, my husband and I retired to Vancouver Island in June 2015. To document both this transition and our new adventures, ‘Retirement Reflections’ was born. I hope that you enjoy reading these reflections, and will be willing to share your own.
    Retirement Reflections says:

    Hi, Bernadette – I haven’t had Sloppy Joes since I was a child. We had them regularly and I loved them. I have just bookmarked this page to make them this week. Thank you for the trip down Memory Lane!

  9. Awakening Wonders – Everyday life is filled with wondrous things and embraceable moments, but only if we allow ourselves to be fully awakened. I invite you to join me as I share passionate life adventures and ramblings that awaken my spirit. I look forward to awakening your senses to the simple, joyous wonders that are all around us. I feel that we are destined to become soulful adventurers!
    Awakening Wonders says:

    Sloppy Joe’s are the best! Thanks for sharing a very good recipe with us!

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