I grew up eating sloppy joes, a sandwich made by browning ground beef in a skillet and dumping a can of tomato-based ‘Manwich’ sauce over top, then plopping it onto soft hamburger buns. Nowadays those very same cans are laden with high fructose corn syrup, just like the buns, something I work hard to avoid.
So what to do when a nostalgic craving for an old-fashioned sandwich takes hold of you? Enter the homemade sloppy joe.
Sloppy joes are one of the messiest sandwiches on earth to eat, which in my mind makes them all the more satisfying. They have a slightly sweet and tangy sauce, akin to barbecue sauce. Here I season them with chile powder and smoky paprika for a modern version of this old school favorite. I served them on toasted homemade sandwich rolls for a hearty and delicious meal that everyone loved, circa 1988.