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The Plainsman's Kitchen: Sloppy Joes

One of my favorite comfort-food dinners made its tailgate debut last weekend. A little spicy, but easy to prepare and ideal for a crowd.

Open Faced Sloppy Joe
Open Faced Sloppy Joe
Jared Robertson

I am not sure why, but lately, I've been thinking a good bowl of chili would be perfect. Perfect, except for the fact it is still insanely hot and humid on the Plains, and eating a bowl of chili in this heat might kill me. The closest I can get to satisfying my chili cravings are these homemade Sloppy Joes. They are perfect for tailgating -- you can cook them on Friday night and toss them into the crock pot on Saturday to reheat and serve to hungry tentlings. Great with a cold beer, but even better with a sweet tea bourbon.

Sloppy Joes

Adapted from Homesick Texan

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Yield: 6-8 servings


1 1/2 pounds ground beef
2 chipotle chiles en adobo
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 bell pepper, seeds and stem removed, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
15 ounces canned tomato sauce
2 teaspoons oregano
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
12 ounces dark beer
Pinch of raw sugar


Brown the ground beef in a large skillet over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Depending on the fat percentage of the beef, you may want to drain the grease after cooking. Add the onions and diced bell pepper and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Make a well and add the garlic and cook for 30 more seconds.


Meanwhile, in a blender mix the tomato sauce, chipotle chiles, oregano, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste. Pour the sauce into the skillet along with the beer. Stir until well combined.


Adjust seasonings, if necessary, and sprinkle the sugar. Stir, taste, and adjust again if needed. Cook on medium-low heat uncovered for 15 minutes.


I make this with whatever beef I have on hand. If I use grass-fed beef, I never drain the grease. If I use anything else, I just eyeball it. Factor in adding the sauce, the beer and your cook time. If I have time, I generally turn the heat down to a simmer and let it cook for 30-45 minutes so the flavors come together and to cook off a little of the beer. If I am running short on time, I use about 8 ounces of beer, add a little masa flour to thicken the sauce and just drink the rest of the beer. Hey, the cook deserves a treat here and there.

I like to cook with Lazy Magnolia Southern Pecan. I have used Good People Brown Ale and even Negra Modelo, but nothing beats the Southern Pecan. Cooking with beer is like cooking with wine -- use something you would enjoy drinking.

This is good on regular buns, but if you can find them, try it on King's Hawaiian Bread hamburger buns.

I will probably break down and give y'all my quick and dirty pimento cheese recipe soon. My favorite (and maybe slightly horrifying way) to eat these Sloppy Joes is stacked with some pimento cheese and fresh pico de gallo. Disgusting, I know. Still, less offensive than Dan Mullen's mug (shout out to Aubielicious). Hey, it's #StateHate week. Gotta get a dig in somewhere. #wardamn

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