Classic Sloppy Joes
Tossing the beef with baking soda in step 1 helps keep it tender and juicy; adding baking soda to the skillet with the onion in step 2 helps the onion break down. You may substitute 90 percent lean ground beef in this recipe, but the cooked mixture will be a bit less tender. Serve the Sloppy Joes with pickle chips, if desired.
- 2 tablespoons water, divided
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon baking soda, divided
- 1 pound 85 percent lean ground beef
- ½ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon table salt, divided
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- ½ onion, chopped fine
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons packed brown sugar, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- ⅓ cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- 4 hamburger buns
1. Combine 1 tablespoon water and ½ teaspoon baking soda in small bowl. In large bowl, toss beef with baking soda mixture and ½ teaspoon salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
2. Heat oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and remaining ⅛ teaspoon baking soda and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in sugar, paprika, pepper flakes, and remaining ⅛ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring constantly, until paprika is fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring constantly, until paste is rust-colored, 3 to 4 minutes.
3. Add beef and cook, breaking up meat with wooden spoon, until beef is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Mash beef with potato masher until fine-textured, about 1 minute. Add ketchup, vinegar, and Worcestershire and stir to combine, scraping up any browned bits.
4. Combine cornstarch and remaining 1 tablespoon water in small bowl, then pour cornstarch mixture over beef and stir to incorporate. Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens and coats beef, about 1 minute. Season with salt, extra sugar, and extra vinegar to taste. Spoon beef mixture onto buns and serve.
PHOTO CREDIT: CARL TREMBLAY