Meaty And Messy: Sloppy Joes

Savory, meaty, tender, juicy -- all piled onto a toasted bun. There's garlic, onion, spices... and beer. What more could you want in a comfort food? Try this hearty sloppy joe recipe adapted from I tweaked a few things by adding more garlic, more tomato paste and more spices. Not only are these sloppy joes easy to make, but they're also great as leftovers. They keep for several days and are a cinch to store.

Makes: About 8 burgers Prep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients: 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, minced 1.5 pounds ground sirloin 1 onion, chopped 2 tablespoons chili powder 1 teaspoon paprika 2 teaspoons ground cumin 1 12 ounce can tomato paste 1 cup beer (medium-bodied) 1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar 2 tablespoons brown sugar 2 teaspoon dried oregano salt and pepper, to taste 8 hamburger buns, split

1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, heat oil. Add the garlic and saute the ground sirloin for 5 minutes. Add the onion and saute for 5 more minutes, or until onion is tender. Add some salt and pepper while cooking. Drain the fat.

2. Mix in tomato paste and beer, stirring until well-combined. Stir in chili powder, paprika, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, oregano and more salt and pepper. Continue to heat for about 5 minutes, then let simmer about 10 minutes more.

3. While the mixture is simmering, pop the hamburger buns on a toaster oven at 250 degrees, for about 3 minutes. Spoon meat onto buns and serve.

My Notes What I did differently from I changed one of the ingredients and some of the proportions. The biggest change I made was using beer instead of water, and ground sirloin instead of ground beef. As for the proportions, I used more garlic, chili powder and cumin and less brown sugar. I also nixed the red bell pepper. Why? I wanted a stewier, bolder comfort food. And because I like meat and onions so much, I disregarded the red bell pepper -- after all, you can barely taste it in this mix of meat and spices.

Why use beer? A medium-bodied beer gives the sloppy joe a richer, earthier, thicker taste.

More or less saucy? Since I like the meat filling to be saucy, I used twice as much tomato paste than AllRecipes did. I wanted the satisfying, tangy taste dripping out of the bun.

Sugar warning: I found the original recipe to be too sweet, what with 3 tablespoons brown sugar. I cut it down to 2 tablespoons and was much happier with the result. You shouldn't nix it entirely because you need that sticky sweetness to counteract the vinegar's sourness and tomato's tanginess.