Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Monday, February 24, 2014

Sloppy Joes...or the best comfort food for a crowd.

B's favorite sandwich is a Sloppy Joe that I have been making our whole married life.  It's one of the two few good recipes I brought into our marriage.  I am not kidding; I was a terrible cook.

This recipe has a family connection. When I was very young, our church had a "round-the-block" parade every July, the anniversary month of the date our pioneer ancestors migrated to our state.  The children dressed like pioneers and decorated their little red wagons like covered wagons.  Some of us festooned our bicycles with crepe paper streamers and put playing cards on our spokes and we walked and rode "around the block".  We were little after all and couldn't walk very far.  Neighbors came out to their yards to cheer and clap (they were nice to little kids).  Afterwards, we gathered on the church lawn and had lunch, which was always Sloppy Joes, homemade root beer, and popcorn balls.  There must have been other food items served but those were the my favorites. This recipe has been an extended family favorite ever since.  I posted a photo on the blog here, but didn't give you the recipe.  And you need the recipe...trust me.
Once a month I'm in charge of feeding several hundred young single adults after our Sunday services. B requested this meal.   It can be a challenge to make something good to eat for that large of a crowd.  We feed between 150 to 190 people each month.  I also try to make something that can be "stretched" into extra portions if necessary and this recipe is perfect for a crowd and can be portioned easily.
These Sloppy Joes were a hit at the Mingle.  We served second helpings and even quite a few thirds.

You'll see that this recipe has a version that feeds 80 people.  I told you it's original to the Parade.
For my family I make the small version but for the mingle I doubled the 80 serving version to feed 160 people.  You choose the size that's right for your gathering.  You can see what 160 servings looks like below.  The black soup pot is a 10 quart size.
As with many recipes, this one is best made ahead to give the flavors a chance to "meld".  It freezes well too.

Round-the-block Parade Sloppy Joes

For 16 buns:                                                                 
2 pounds ofground beef                                                             
2 medium onions                                         
1½ cups of ketchup                                                      
1 teaspoon of granulated sugar                                                          
½ teaspoon of curry powder                                                       
½ teaspoon of chili powder                                                         
2 bay leaves                                                          
1 cup of tomato juice

For 80 buns:
10 pounds of ground beef
10 medium onions
7 ½ cups of ketchup
teaspoons of granulated sugar
2 ½ teaspoons of curry powder
2 ½ teaspoons of chili powder
4 bay leaves
cups of tomato juice

Brown hamburger and drain grease.
Combine all of the ingredients in a large heavy pan.
Simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring and checking mixture occasionally to make sure that the pot doesn’t boil dry.

Serve on buns.
This freezes well.  It is actually better if made one day ahead and refrigerated and reheated.


  1. Wow, you must need an amazingly enormous cooking pot to make all of that!! xx

  2. Amy, I have to make it in several pans. I think it would take a long time to heat up volume that large in one pan.

  3. Thank you for sharing your wonderful crowd pleaser, Bonnie! When I was in high school my friends made me a little cookbook/recipe book for my birthday. My friend Molly Jo wrote her Sloppy Joe recipe inside. I've never made it (shame on me!) but now I'm going to look to see if the ingredients are the same as in your tasty recipe.

  4. OOOOH THANK YOU!!!! It would be wonderful to make this up and then freeze portions -- I'm always looking for meals to take over to my parents -- this will be perfect!

  5. Yum! This sounds delicious. I'll be trying this out on hubby sometime in the near future! Thanks for sharing the recipe :-)

  6. I totally made this recipe to take over to Nate's sister's family and to freeze a whole bunch of quart size bags for Nate to eat when I'm working late. What a coincidence that we made it the same weekend!

  7. Loved your story about the parade. I also like the recipe. The one I have been using is too sweet. Will give it a try.