Sloppy Joes are an American staple, and this electric skillet version has the same ease and tangy, savory flavor. The bell pepper and onion give a subtle crunch. The tomato sauce has a good balance of tangy, savory and sweet with the ketchup, Worcestershire (wu-stuh-shr) sauce and brown sugar, and the toasted bun holds it all together in a messy but satisfying meal. Read on and learn more about this classic American sandwich.
Sloppy Joes Origin
Sloppy Joes were popular in the 1930’s, since they could feed a lot of people with the inexpensive meat, tomato sauce, onion and bread that made for a cheap, filling meal.
A surprising fact about sloppy Joes is that there are different origin stories to this sandwich. One story involves Ernest Hemingway bringing the sandwich idea over to Florida from Havana, Cuba. The sandwich name came from the bar owner, José García, and his messy establishment that earned him the nickname ‘Sloppy Joe’. The bar owner would serve the sandwich to tipsy customers.
The Florida bar owner who acquired the idea from Hemingway, just happened to be a man named Joe Russell, so it worked. He took Hemingway’s suggestion of naming the bar after the sandwich, and they continue to serve them to this day.
Another idea involves a diner cook from Iowa named Joe, who introduced the ground meat and tomato sauce mixture. No matter which story is true, it is a meal that is still enjoyed today by all ages and we are happy it made its way here.
Tips & Tweaks
Bell peppers give a little crunch to the electric skillet sloppy Joes, but some may not enjoy the bitter taste. The reason why they are slightly bitter is because they are not fully ripe.
Bell peppers start off as green. As they ripen, they turn into different colors and become sweeter, with red peppers being the sweetest. If you like the bitter contrast with the sweet tang of the tomato sauce, use the green pepper. If you prefer a sweeter pepper, I recommend the red pepper (it will also match the red tomato sauce, blending it in for those picky eaters).
Did you get sloppy with your Sloppy Joes? If you liked this recipe, please comment and share!
Electric Skillet Sloppy Joes
- 1 cup ketchup
- 1 tbsp. tomato paste
- ⅓ cup water
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 2 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ large yellow onion - diced
- ½ green bell pepper - diced
- 4 hamburger buns
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the ketchup, tomato paste, water, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Heat a 12” electric skillet to 300 °F.
- Brown the ground beef in the skillet, breaking it apart into crumbles as it cooks (about 5 minutes)
- Add the garlic, onions and bell peppers to the electric skillet and cook for 2 more minutes.
- Add the ketchup mixture. Mix well.
- Reduce heat to 250 °F and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened slightly.
- Toast the buns.
- Serve the sloppy Joe mixture over the toasted buns.
Nutrition information on In the Kitch is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. It may not include toppings and/or sauces.