Buffalo Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes aren’t just for kids, uh-uh.  We have no kids.  No kids were visiting us.  We love sloppy joes (even the occasional Manwich, I admit it), and I guess you could say I “grown-up’d” these up, although I bet you wouldn’t find too many kids complaining.

One theory as to the origin of this sandwich’s name is not its deliciously messy texture, but rather refers to the name of a famous bar in Key West, Florida, named Sloppy Joe’s.  Though it’s not verified, most could agree that the general formula for a sloppy joe is ground beef and onions cooked in a slightly sweet ketchup-tomato sauce.  I added quite a few more vegetables and, as we have no ketchup, approximated the flavor with a splash of vinegar.

Sloppy Joe’s (makes 4 sandwiches)

The steak sauce and Worcestershire sauce are used to make the tomato sauce a bit more beefy in flavor, since buffalo is very low in fat, and thus disperses fewer flavor particulates throughout the tomato sauce.  Yes, that is technical language.  Feel free to use this to taste; another similar option would be soy sauce.  These sauces are especially helpful if you plan to reduce or eliminate the buffalo entirely.


  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. ground buffalo
  • 1 onion
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 14 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 tbsp. steak sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 – 1/2 c. red wine vinegar
  • 4 sandwich buns, toasted


  1. Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat.  Crumble ground buffalo into the olive oil, season with salt, and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally.  While buffalo cooks, chop all vegetables into small dice (about quarter inch or slightly larger).
  2. Add all vegetables to the pot, salt liberally, and cook 5-7 minutes, or until vegetables begin to soften.  Add tomato paste and chili powder, and cook 2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add remaining ingredients, and simmer about 15 to 20 minutes to let flavors mingle – more is certainly better, but if you’re looking for a quick meal, this will do fine.  Taste for seasoning, adjust as necessary, and pile on toasted sandwich buns.

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