Sloppy Joes For 60

October 5, 2009 at 12:43 am | Posted in Beef, Sandwiches | 23 Comments

This is a great recipe to keep on hand in case you’ve invited 58 friends over for dinner, or if you’re the Osmonds and have 58 of your great grandchildren over for lunch  (hey, I–am–not–making–that–up,  it was on Oprah on Friday).  Or if you’re empty nesters like us it will yield you 30 Sloppy Joes each. 

When I decided to prepare this recipe, I wondered about the origin of the name “Sloppy Joe”, so I Googled “Where did the name Sloppy Joe come from”  sure enough I was rewarded with answers:

One web site claims:   The Original Sloppy Joe Sandwich was invented at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West. The original is still available and consists of ground beef in a sweet rich tomato sauce, with onions, peppers and spices. Hence the sandwich was named for the establishment, not the consistency, as suggested by the Manwich people.

(Ok now this really bothers me, what’s up with those Manwich “people” starting ugly rumors?)

Another web site suggests that it was named after a Green Bay Packer team member Joe Krzrwinski … aka “Sloppy”, a nickname given to him for his inconsistent play on the field. The first creation was made with ground sausage during 1930.

According to another story, the sandwich was named after the Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Havana, Cuba which was the first to serve a sandwich of this variety.

So depending on if you’re a Cheese Head, or a Parrot Head you’ve got your answer.

Even James Beard, the 20th Century Godfather of American cooking wrote about Sloppy Joes: “This is a product of the modern age, and though it is not a palate-tingling delight it has a large public.”

Perhaps Beard’s generous use of a 1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce in his version of Sloppy Joes had something to do with his unenthusiastic view.  Plus I think it’s a slap in the face to white-trash food.  Just who does he think he is???  (Oh, that’s right, he’s the 20th century godfather of American Cooking.)

This recipe is from my church cookbook.  The church that I attended when I was growing up in the middle of Kansas.  The cookbook is probably 30 (cough) 15 years old.  You’ll find Sloppy Joes for 60 along with Baptist Punch for 100, which is an odd combination of ginger ale, Kool-Aid, Hawaiian Punch and 7-Up.  I was surprised to see they didn’t add five cups of sugar, I wonder if it’s sweet enough.  Do they even make Hawaiian Punch anymore?   Church ladies often published these types of recipes serving large groups because of Church socials or Church suppers.

For tonight’s dinner we weren’t all that hungry, so I decided to scale the recipe down from 60 servings to 2. 😉  But below you’ll find the original recipe.  I like the flavor of this, sweet/tangy.  I served this along side Spaghetti Squash.  I know, I know, high-brow meets low-brow, but I’ve had this squash on the kitchen counter for a month, so it was time to make it or toss. 


 Gather  ingredients.


 Brown celery and onion until tender.  Remove to plate and keep warm.


(Photo in case there any questions on how to brown hamburger)  In the same pan brown the ground beef.  Add all ingredients including the reserved celery/onion.  Simmer on low, adjusting ingredients to taste. 


I’m a fan of Kaiser Rolls for any hamburger type sandwich.  I baked the squash until tender, gently removed the “spaghetti” to a bowl, tossed with butter/salt/pepper.   So here’s the recipe.  We have Sloppy Joes about once a year and I really like the flavor combination in this recipe.  I really don’t measure any ingredients when I make this, just adjust flavors until I like it.   Tweak it to suit yourself.

 Sloppy Joes for 60

6 lbs ground beef, extra lean
1/4 cup flour
2 cups celery — diced
2 cups onion — diced
1/2 cup mustard
1/2 cup vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 bottles catsup
2 cups water

1. Brown meat, celery and onion.  Stir in flour slowly.  Add remainder of the ingredients and simmer.  If the mixture seems dry, or needs a little punch of flavor, I add a little bit of bottled bbq sauce.

Servings: 60



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  1. Too funny…but there when i need it…Thanks

  2. Wow, this would be great for a giant super bowl party!! I need to start getting my invite list together!!

    • Hopefully you’ll be watching the Broncos

  3. Looks cool…I gotta try it soon.
    Angie’s Recipes

  4. You missed my post- don’t think I knew you yet, on Untidy Josephs! I came at it from how a gourmet would word it… Pretty much close to your recipe, actually!

  5. Love the Sloppy Joe trivia! They look delicious! I’m a big fan of the old church cookbooks, too.

    • After posting this recipe, I’ve decided to do a monthly “Church Lady Recipe” I’ve got a ton of those cookbooks.

      Thanks for stopping by

  6. My mom sends me those kinds of cookbooks whenever her church comes out with them. Good times.

    The sloppy joes look great!

  7. Those people are all liars. I discovered the sloppy joe! 😉

    Yours looks great and it beats the heck out of the Canwich I mean Manwhich ones!

    • LOL – thanks for the post.

      I’ll credit you next time. 😉

  8. I LOVE church/community cookbooks, such great recipe finds in them! This looks terrific, I just adore sloppy joes!

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog. Yes, those church cookbooks have some really good “finds” and some crazy ones.

      Lea Ann

  9. I first had Sloppy Joes at Girl Guide camp – easy peasy camping food. I brought the idea home to my family but it never caught on for some reason (traditional Brits – ahem!).

  10. LOL I loved your background to this! I thought they were named that because of the look/texture. Sadly I’ve never tried one in real life so I’m grateful for your recipe! 🙂

    • Thanks for stopping by my blog. You haven’t lived until you’ve had a sloppy joe. Just adjust the flavors to suit yourself.

  11. I collect cook-books, and I have many church and club cook books… I’m actually in a couple of them!

    • Cool! I don’t really collect, but have ended up the unwitting owner of many of these church cookbooks because my mom buys them and always get me one too.

  12. Well, I suppose if you HAD to cook for 60 people, sloppy joes would be a good dish as it seems easy to make in big batches. Looks great! I love the smell of ground beef when it’s cooking. Bet your house smelled wonderful!

    • Oh yes it did, with help from the onion and celery. 🙂

  13. My youngest has been asking me to make sloppy joes. I like the look of this recipe, thanks so much!
    Hmmm, now if he eats 58 – that leaves one left each for hubby and myself..

    • Just remember to tweak the ingredients to your taste.

      Thanks for stopping by.

      Lea Ann

  14. LeaAnn,
    I made the Sloppy Joes for dinner tonight and they were a hit. (3 servings instead of 60) Thanks so much for the recipe!

    • I’m so glad you liked them. You just have to tweak it a little to get the flavor you like.

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