In Season/On Special: Homemade Sloppy Joes

One of the big kicks I’ve gotten out of being a mom is resurrecting favorite kid foods by making them from scratch.  My latest experiment was homemade sloppy joes; they were a huge hit with the family and were head and shoulders above the school cafeteria sloppy joes I remember from elementary school.

Sloppy Joes - even better when served by the Lunch Lady

For a variety of reasons, I don’t buy beef from a supermarket anymore.  Supermarket bison (buffalo) is a much more acceptable choice for me.  It’s also one of the healthiest meats you can eat.  All our local grocery stores are carrying ground bison meat; at Safeway it’s currently $9.89/pound and you can find it next to the ground beef.

It’s more expensive than run of the mill supermarket ground beef; bison is comparably priced to other premium-quality red meats like grass-fed or organic beef.  But, compared to lesser-quality beef that is corn-fed, grain-fed or raised on feedlots, bison meat is more expensive for several reasons. Buffalo require much more acreage to roam than cattle and therefore are more difficult and expensive to raise. Buffalo are allowed to grow at their natural pace before harvesting (which takes close to 30 months compared to the typical 9-18 months it takes for cattle) , and eat grass instead of grain.  Also, the bison industry regulations prohibit the use of artificial growth hormones in bison.

These Sloppy Joes are delicious and pack a real nutritional punch.  In addition to using healthier bison meat, it also sneaks in quite a few vegetables.  Trust me, they will never even notice.

As for the vino, pair these with any of your favorite BBQ wines.  This is the time for something red and a little heavier, maybe even something on the fruitier or spicier side.  A Zinfandel would work very well, as would a spicy fruity Cabernet and Merlot blend.

Nina’s Favorite Sloppy Joes (serves 4 with leftovers)


1 lb ground bison

2 -3 stalks celery, chopped

1 small onion, chopped

2 medium sized beets, peeled and grated

1 – 8 ounce can tomato sauce

¼ cup ketchup

¼ cup barbecue sauce

1 TBSP brown sugar

1 TBSP spicy mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce

1 TBSP vinegar

1 TBSP olive oil


In a large skillet, brown ground beef, celery and onion in olive oil.  Drain the fat (if any)

Stir in remaining ingredients, simmer covered, 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook until it’s the consistency you like; serve on toasted buns or English muffins

This entry was posted in Dare Wenzler, Kid Food, Zinfandel and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to In Season/On Special: Homemade Sloppy Joes

  1. Sue says:

    I LOVE (homemade) Sloppy Joe’s. I have to admit,though, that I’ve never made them with bison meat, but that’s a great idea. The beets would be so good too! When my kids were little, I actually used a MICROWAVE recipe, which was completely delicious, but I’m not sure what the advantage was – except that you didn’t have to stand there and stir.

    • firstvine says:

      Hi Sue, to me, the bison tastes identical to beef in every recipe I use it in (only ground so far).. I just prefer bison bc it’s superior in all the ways I describe in the post. Now I have to try the microwave version cuz I love to make things easy on myself !

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