This is a cross between my mom's stand by recipe for Maid-rites (this is an Iowa thing, more commonly known as sloppy joes) and Pioneer Woman's version of Sloppy Joes.
Basically, I like the extra kick of flavor that Pioneer Woman adds.
1 lb. ground beef (I use very lean ground beef)
1/2 of a large onion, chopped
1 garlic clove (crushed)
1/4 of a bell pepper, chopped
1/3 of a small hot pepper (serrano or jalapeno)
1 c. ketchup (minus 1 tbsp.)
1.5 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. mustard
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 drop hot sauce or 1/8 tsp. ground habanero pepper
A few grinds of black pepper
.5 tsp. crushed red pepper
.5 tsp. chili powder
A grind of sea salt (optional)
1. Brown the ground beef.
When I did this, I used SIX POUNDS of beef. Below you can see, that is ALOT of beef.
Here, the meat is all browned up, but look at that fatty juice it is sitting in! Go to step 2 to remedy this.
2. Drain off some of the fat. I usually do this by putting an old jar or can on a plate in the sink. I then attempt to pour off the fat into the can, using a spatula or lid to keep the beef from falling out. I keep the clean plate under the can in case any big chunks of beef don't make it in the can. I can add these big pieces back into the pan, and then pour the splattered fat juice off of the plate into the can. Discard the fat (not down your drain).
3. Add the onion, garlic and peppers, and cook for a few minutes until they start to get soft.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is reduced a bit and the onion is fully cooked.
5. Serve on toasted buns (even better with cheese!).
It was still a lot of meat once it was cooked: