Classic Sloppy Joes for Two

Classic Sloppy Joes for Two

Brian CampbellCamfam Cookery
We found that treating the ground beef with baking soda (so that it retained more moisture when cooked) and then breaking it down to a fine, uniform texture in the skillet delivered a tender, flavorful, and cohesive mixture that stayed put when placed on a bun. Limiting the aromatics to just onion (also treated with baking soda to soften it) made for a beefier-tasting mixture with a rich, luxurious texture. We made ketchup’s sweet-tangy flavor more complex by adding vinegar, red pepper flakes, and sugar and balanced it out with generous amounts of tomato paste, paprika, and Worcestershire sauce. Finally, we served it all up on soft hamburger buns.
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Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course BBQ, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 2
Calories 508 kcal


  • 1 tbsp water divided
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda plus ⅛ teaspoon – divided
  • 8 ounces ground beef 85 percent lean
  • ¼ teaspoon table salt plus ⅛ teaspoon – divided
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup onion finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar packed – plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 ½ tsp red wine vinegar plus extra for seasoning
  • 1 ½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 hamburger buns


  • Combine 1½ teaspoons water and ¼ teaspoon baking soda in small bowl. In large bowl, toss beef with baking soda mixture and ¼ teaspoon salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
  • Heat oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and remaining ⅛ teaspoon baking soda and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar, paprika, pepper flakes, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until paprika is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is rust-colored, 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Mash beef with potato masher until fine-textured, about 1 minute. Add ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Combine cornstarch and remaining 1½ teaspoons water in small bowl, then pour cornstarch mixture over beef and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and coats beef, about 1 minute. Season with salt, extra sugar, and extra vinegar to taste. Spoon beef mixture onto buns and serve.




Calories: 508kcalCarbohydrates: 32gProtein: 24gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 81mgSodium: 15122mgPotassium: 496mgFiber: 1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 1144IUVitamin C: 3mgVitamin D: 0.1µgVitamin E: 1mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 5mgZinc: 5mg

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