Slow-Cooker Tuesday: Sloppy Joe’s

A while back we started buying cows. Well, chunks of a cow nicely butchered and vaccu-sealed. We’re not big meat eaters, but I wanted to start eating a better quality meat when we did indulge. So we locally sourced some wonderful grass-fed beef and have loved every bite.

The one problem we have is the 30-40# of ground chuck in the order. Again, we’re not big meat eaters so it’s hard to plow through, even over the course of the 12-18 months it takes us to eat a 1/4 of a cow.

Enter the Sloppy Joe.

Hamburger was kind of a way of life for us growing up, and I ate my fair share of tomato-y sweet Sloppy Joes. As a young adult I became vegetarian, and later, I sought more exciting foods than good old American comfort foods. So what some would consider staple of the American home fell to the wayside for me.  Yet, as soon as I got pregnant, it was nothing but meatloaf and mashed potatoes. And I once again met with the Sloppy Joe.

I like this version because not only is it super easy, it doesn’t rely on a pre-packaged spice mix. I also add in shredded carrot and chopped spinach when I want a more rounded tasting sandwich. Don’t skip the browning in the first step–I did once and ended up with a gloopy mess, not a nice crumbled meat texture. Serve on toasted buns and enjoy a tastier version of a childhood favorite.

Slow Sloppy Joes

Ingredients: (makes 6 generous sandwiches)

  • 1# ground beef
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes (fire roasted if you can find them)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrot (optional)
  • 1 cup spinach leaves, chopped (optional)
  • Sandwich buns for serving


  1. Heat 1-2 teaspoons of canola oil in a large skillet on medium-high. Add beef and cook, breaking it apart with a wooden spoon until browned, about 5 minutes.
  2. Transfer the beef to a 5-6 quart slow cooker. Stir in remaining ingredients, except the rolls. Cover and cook 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Sauce will thicken as it cooks.
  3. Spoon over buns and enjoy. Don’t forget the napkins.
*I am dead-set against High Fructose Corn Syrup showing up in everything. I use an organic steak sauce as a substitute for the Worcestershire sauce.
(Sorry I’m a day late–this week has been madness. I need to work on scheduling posts out…)
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3 Responses to Slow-Cooker Tuesday: Sloppy Joe’s

  1. That looks fantastic. I love a good sloppy joe but have not had one in ages. I am going to try this recipe soon.

  2. laura says:

    I like your dedication to real foods, knowing where it comes from, and avoiding HFCS. This looks like a great recipe, I’m always looking for crock pot meals, you know with kids and everything :)

  3. Patricia says:

    This recipe sounds so tasty and easy. Score!

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