I don’t make sloppy joes very often, but I was inspired to make them after coming across a recipe for them in a cookbook my mom just gave me. The cookbook is called Secrets of a Skinny Chef. I LOVE this book! My mom found it in the bargain book section at Barnes and Noble. I do wish there were more pictures (I’m a visual person), but the recipes sound great. I’ve already tried the 7 Minute Salmon recipe in the book, and I loved it! I can’t wait to try more.
I followed the sloppy joe recipe in the book for the most part, but made a few substitutions to make it my own. I had recently purchased a bottle of liquid smoke to try in a few recipes. I thought it would be the perfect addition to my sloppy joes. Boy, was I right! I used the Colgin brand of Mesquite Liquid Smoke. It’s all-natural without any additives or preservatives. Oh, and it’s also cheap! I paid around $1.35 for it at my Kroger store.
I used chipotle peppers instead of the hot sauce and chili powder that the original recipe called for. I added about a tablespoon of chopped chipotles, but the final dish didn’t seem spicy to me at all. In fact, I couldn’t detect any heat at all. You may want to start with less, and then check it before adding the rest. I don’t know if it’s just me, but it seems like the chipotle peppers can vary heat level wise with each can or brand. I use the San Marcos brand of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which seem milder (to me) than the La Costena brand.
The recipe called for lean ground sirloin, but I used some lean ground beef that I already had on hand. The beef I used came from Laura’s Lean Beef company. Their beef is raised without hormones or antibiotics and fed a vegetarian diet.
The mesquite liquid smoke gave these sloppy joes an amazing smokey flavor that we both loved. This recipe makes enough for four people, and since it’s just the two of us, I froze the other half. I can’t wait to have it again!
Smokey Sloppy Joes
- 1 large carrot (or 2 small), peeled and minced
- 2 celery stalks , very finely chopped
- 1 small red onion , finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tbsp . olive oil
- 1/2 lb . lean ground sirloin
- 1 tsp . ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 (15 oz.) can fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
- 1 tbsp . tomato paste
- 1 tbsp . finely chopped chipotle peppers (from a can of chipotles in adobo sauce)
- 2 tbsp . mesquite natural liquid smoke , such as the Colgin brand
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp . brown sugar
- 4 whole-wheat or whole-grain hamburger buns
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the ground sirloin, breaking up with a spoon while it begins to brown. Add the vegetables and salt, cook stirring frequently for 7-9 minutes. Add the ground cumin and cook for about 3 more minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, chipotle peppers, liquid smoke, and water to the pan. Bring the mixture to a slow simmer and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring often, until the mixture has thickened and meat is fully cooked through.
Stir in the agave nectar, check seasonings, and adjust if necessary.
Toast the hamburger buns.
Top each bottom bun with one-fourth of the sloppy joe mixture and finish with the top bun.