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Barbecue Sloppy Joes Recipe

Barbecue sloppy joes are a mouthwatering mashup of the classic messy sandwich and tangy BBQ flavors.

You’ll love how quick and easy this recipe is. And yes, they are lip-smackin’ delicious! 

They’re also perfect for a quick weeknight dinner, game day party, or summer cookout.

So, get ready to sink your teeth into the ultimate comfort food with a twist! 

Homemade barbecue sloppy joes with green bell pepper and onions, topped with shredded cheese, bursting with smoky flavor and tangy sauce
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Why You’ll Love These Barbecue Joes

Picture this: savory ground beef simmered in a bold, smoky-sweet barbecue sauce.

Pile it high on a soft, toasty bun, and you’ve got a kid-approved dinner in a flash. 

Here are more reasons to love them:

Quick & Easy: With just a handful of ingredients and minimal prep time, you can have a delicious meal on the table in 30 minutes or less. 

Budget-Friendly: Sloppy joes are an affordable meal that easily feeds a table full of hungry kids. 

Mess Appeal: Let’s face it – the best foods are often the messiest! Barbecue joes embrace the ooey-gooey, slightly sloppy nature that kids find irresistible.

Cooked ground beef with BBQ sauce in a frying pan


Sloppy joes are the perfect way to satisfy your comfort food cravings. But when you add BBQ sauce, they become downright addictive.

Here’s what you’ll need to make them:

  • Lean Ground Beef: The protein-packed base that brings the hearty, meaty flavor.
  • Onion, Green Bell Pepper, and Garlic: The fresh veggie trio that adds crunch, color, and aromatic depth.
  • Barbecue Sauce: The bold, smoky-sweet star that defines the dish’s BBQ personality.
  • Ketchup: The tangy sidekick that enhances the sauce’s richness.
  • Worcestershire Sauce: The savory secret weapon for an umami flavor boost.
  • Yellow Mustard: Provides a subtle tang and classic flair.
  • Garlic Powder, Salt, and Black Pepper: The simple but mighty seasoning trio that balances and elevates all the flavors.
  • Hamburger Buns: Get something soft but sturdy enough to hold all that saucy goodness. 
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese: For a melty (completely optional) final flourish. 
Juicy barbecue sloppy joes on toasted buns

How to Make Barbecue Sloppy Joes

These saucy, savory sloppy joes take me right back to childhood. They’re pure comfort food that’ll have everyone lining up for seconds. 

Better yet, they make the kitchen smell incredible!

Here’s how to make them:

1. BROWN. Cook the beef in a large skillet until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. 

2. COOK. Add the veggies and cook until they’re soft. 

3. SAUCE. Add the sauces and spices, then let it all simmer for 5-10 minutes. 

4. SERVE. Serve the hot filling on toasted hamburger buns with plenty of cheddar cheese, and enjoy!

Tips For the Best Barbecue Sloppy Joes

My biggest tip is to serve these with plenty of napkins. Trust me, they’re worth every delicious drip!

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Other than that, here are a few other things to keep in mind:

  • Quality beef. Use high-quality, lean ground beef for the best texture and flavor.
  • Finely chop veggies. Chop the onion, bell pepper, and garlic as small as possible so they blend seamlessly into the sauce.
  • Bold BBQ sauce. For maximum flavor impact, choose a sauce you really love. Hickory or honey sauces work great.
  • Toast the buns. This not only adds texture to the dish but helps to keep them from turning soggy.
  • Taste and adjust. Don’t be afraid to taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings to your liking. And feel free to add something else, like cayenne or cumin. 
  • Make it your own. Swap the BBQ sauce for hoisin sauce, the beef for turkey, or the buns for sweet potatoes. 
Classic barbecue joes on a plate with the top of the bun on the side

What to Serve with Barbecue Sloppy Joes

Sloppy joes are a meal on their own! But if you want something on the side, here are my top choices:

How to Store

Whether you call ’em sloppy joes or barbecue joes, this timeless recipe is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

So much so, I bet you won’t have any leftovers!

But in case you do, here’s how to store them:

To Store: Transfer cold leftovers to an airtight container and store in the fridge for 3-4 days (just the filling, not the buns).

To Freeze: Transfer cold leftovers to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag, removing as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.

To Reheat: Thaw frozen sloppy joes in the fridge overnight. Then, reheat portions in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Or, reheat larger portions over medium-low heat on the stovetop, stirring occasionally until heated through.

Note: I don’t recommend freezing the buns because they won’t thaw very well. Instead, save the meat and serve leftovers with fresh bread.

More Sloppy Joe Recipes You’ll Love

Philly Cheesesteak Sloppy Joes
Big Mac Sloppy Joes
Texas Toast Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joe Pizza

Barbecue Sloppy Joes

Course: Main CourseCuisine: American


Prep time


Cooking time





Barbecue sloppy joes are a mouthwatering mashup of the classic messy sandwich and tangy BBQ flavors. They’re the ultimate comfort food with a bold twist!


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion

  • 1/2 cup finely chopped green bell pepper

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon yellow mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

  • 6 hamburger buns

  • Shredded cheddar cheese, for topping (optional)


  • In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef until no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Drain excess grease, if needed.
  • Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic to the pan. Sauté for 4-5 minutes until the vegetables are soft.
  • Stir in the barbecue sauce, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, and salt & pepper to taste. Mix well to combine.
  • Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together. Stir occasionally.
  • Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The mixture should be thick but still saucy.
  • Serve the hot sloppy joe mixture on toasted hamburger buns. Top with shredded cheddar cheese, if desired, and enjoy!


  • Finely chop the veggies so they blend seamlessly into the sauce.
  • Toasting the buns prevents them from getting too soggy.
Barbecue Sloppy Joes

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author avatar
Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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