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Smoked Sloppy Joes

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Smoked Sloppy Joes are just what the doctor ordered.. well, maybe not the cardiologist but, we did use lean ground sirloin in this so I don’t think he’d be too unhappy😁

A reader, Ed Richard, recommended that I try smoked sloppy joes. He places the ground meat on a screen type tray and stirs it a lot during the cooking process to get plenty of smoke on it.

While I was pondering the idea, it occurred to me that my barbecue sauce  contains several of the ingredients that are typically used in homemade sloppy joes such as ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, etc. and what a great way to simplify a recipe and make it quick and easy without having to use a pre-made sauce!

It was a huge success and I can’t wait for you to try it!

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 160°F (71°C)
  • Recommended Wood: Pecan, Oak
What You’ll Need
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef (90/10)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Butter
  • Jeff’s Texas style rub
  • 1 cup Jeff’s barbecue sauce
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • ½ cup condensed tomato soup
  • 1-½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Hamburger buns
Step 1: Smoke the Ground Beef

I recommend lean ground beef but you can use what you like including healthier options such as ground turkey. I used 90/10 ground sirloin in mine.

If you use anything fattier than 90/10, you’ll want to drain most of the grease off before adding the other ingredients.

Setup your smoker for cooking at about 225°F (107°C) using pecan, oak, or whatever smoking wood you have available. If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.

Put 2 lbs of ground meat in a 12-inch iron skillet and break it up a little with a spatula to allow maximum smoke exposure.

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Once the smoker is ready, place the entire iron skillet on the smoker grate and let it cook for about 45-60 minutes or until the ground beef is browned and cooked.

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While the meat is cooking is a great time to chop and cook the onion, pepper and garlic.

Step 2: Prepare the Vegetables

Dice a medium onion.

Dice a whole green pepper (other colors are also okay)

Mince about 4 garlic cloves. Feel free to use more if you’re a garlic freak like me.

Heat a large iron skillet over medium heat and add about 2 TBS of butter to the pan.

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Once the butter is sizzling, add the vegetables and 1 TBS of the Texas style rub .

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Let it cook for about 2 minutes before stirring them around. Let them cook for another 2 minutes and stir them around again. Continue this dance until they are soft and wimpy and you see some blackening starting to happen, especially on the onions.

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When they are finished, remove the pan from the heat.

Step 3: Mix and Simmer

When the meat is done smoking and is brown and fully cooked, bring it into the house and set the pan on the stove over low heat.

Reminder: if your ground beef is fattier than 90/10, you’ll probably want to drain most of the grease before continuing with the recipe.

Add the vegetables as well as the barbecue sauce , yellow mustard, chili powder, and condensed tomato soup (no water) to the same pan with the cooked meat and stir everything to combine.

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Let the smoked sloppy joes simmer in the pan uncovered until you are satisfied with the consistency. I don’t like it to be soupy but it should be a really wet mix.

Mine took about 15 minutes of simmering to get the right consistency.

During this time, add a little salt and pepper to taste (optional). I ended up adding ½ teaspoon of coarse salt and 1 teaspoon of coarse ground black pepper to mine.

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Note: if at any time you feel like it needs to have more liquid added to it, just add a little more of the condensed tomato soup or you can add a small amount of water.

Step 4: Toast the Buns

I’ve heard a lot of people say they don’t like sloppy joes because they don’t like soggy bread.. the trick is buttering and grilling the bottom of the buns. It becomes crisp and doesn’t sog up like non-toasted bread does.

When the smoked sloppy joes are almost finished, butter up the buns.

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Place the buns buttered side down on a hot griddle or iron skillet over medium heat.

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This only takes about a minute so keep a close eye on them until it gets the amount of “toastiness” that you like.

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Step 5: Build the Sandwich

Pile about 1/3 cup of the smoked sloppy joes on the bottom bun and cap it off with the top bun.

I don’t care for cheese on my sloppy Joes but if that’s your thing, have at it!

Step 6: Serve it Up

When the sandwiches are ready, serve it up with plenty of paper towels and, of course, some good crunchy kettle chips on the side.

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Notes/Comments

The smoke on the meat adds a nice layer of flavor but I could have used more smokiness. I am thinking you could possibly simmer this in the smoker instead of on the stove and get more smoke flavor that way.

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Smoked Sloppy Joes

Smoked sloppy joes are everything you'd expect and more from a delicious sandwich that's known far and wide. The smokiness in the beef adds yet another wonderful layer of flavor.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Category: Entree

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 2 lbs lean ground beef ((90/10))
  • 1 each medium yellow onion (, diced)
  • 1 each green bell pepper
  • 4 each garlic cloves (, minced)
  • Butter
  • 1 TBS Jeff’s Texas style rub (https://thinbluefoods.com)
  • 1 cup Jeff’s barbecue sauce (https://thinbluefoods.com)
  • 1 TBS yellow mustard
  • 1/2 cup condensed tomato soup
  • 11/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • Hamburger buns

Instructions

  1. Cook Place the meat in a large iron skillet and smoke it at 225 degrees until browned and cooked.
  2. Dice While the meat is cooking in the smoker, dice the onion and the pepper and mince the garlic.
  3. Saute Place the onion, peppers and garlic with 1 TBS of Jeff's Texas style rub and 2 TBS of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute until they are soft and blackened.
  4. Combine Once the meat is done cooking, add the vegetables, 1 cup of barbecue sauce, 1/2 cup of condensed tomato soup, 1 TBS of yellow mustard and spices to the skillet with the meat and simmer over low heat.
  5. Simmer Simmer until the mixture is no longer soupy and has the right consistency. If you need to make it more saucy, you can add more of the tomato soup or a small amount of water.
  6. Toast Butter the buns and toast them on a griddle or in an iron skillet until they are browned and crispy on the bread side.
  7. Build Put about 1/3 cup of the smoked sloppy joes on the bottom bun and cap it off with the top bun.
  8. Serve Serve immediately.

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Recipe rating

14 Comments

  1. I followed your recipe to (almost) a tee – I used a different bbq sauce. But then I simmered on the BGE with the smoke.

    Yum! The Smoky Joes had the right amount of smoke and were delightful.

    A++

  2. Bought 4.25 LB 93/7 burger to do something for a church dinner. Did this “Smoked Sloopy Joe Recipe.” For our conservative church group, and small children, we modified the recipe some, so it was a little milder. It was a huge hit. Didn’t get to bring any home as leftovers. They put it on buns, chips, topped Texas potatoes and ate it on tomatoes and by itself. Great recipe and will definitely make again.

  3. Jeff,
    I am going to make these, I was wondering if I can throw them in crockpot after they are smoked having big group of family members, so I want them made ahead of time.

  4. I just made this tonight along with the apple dump cake. WOW!! It was fantastic. The smoke flavor was on point thanks to my Pit Boss pellet smoker and fruit blend pellets. Will be making both of them again. Thanks Jeff for continually coming up with great recipes.

  5. Big hit Jeff, some minor changes for me – I added cooked bacon to the HB, substituted the bell pepper for Serrano, and added gnd cumin to the sauce! Outstanding!!

  6. Jeff,
    Look up mixing baking soda on hamburger. It is amazing because it prevents the hamburger from losing moisture when cooking it, and it browns up much better. I have done it, and will never cook hamburger any other way. Baking soda works with solid meat also.
    I’m going to try your recipe, but I’ll put a smoke tube in with it to pump up the smoke.

  7. Another home run, Jeff! Smoke flavor comes through fantastic on this one.

  8. What a great meal!! Simple and so very tasty. I will be adding this to our family favorites.

  9. This recipe was delicious. I did serve it with coleslaw. I scooped the coleslaw directly onto the bun with the sloppy Joe. It was perfect. It added just the right amount of tang and crunch to the sloppy Joe.

    1. Oh man.. I bet that’s good! I’ve never tried that and I’m not sure why. I’m from NC and we put slaw on literally everything! Thanks for the great suggestion.. I’ll try that soon ;-)