‘Sweet’ Sloppy Joe and BBQ baked beans

This was one of the very first meals I remember making for Justin and myself. It was also around the time when I was just starting to learn how to cook, so I admittedly didn’t really know how to make my own barbecue sauce. Even if it was something simple for a Sloppy Joe sandwich.

After making it a few times, I quickly learned it all comes down to balancing the sweetness and sourness to your liking. What tastes sour to some may taste sweet enough to others.

Or, if you’re like me, what may taste sweet to others really tastes just right to you. Don’t judge. I love (mostly) all things sweet.

Except for tea. That’s all kinds of awful with sweetness added to it. But that’s for another day.

Even though I listed ingredient amounts below, just keep in mind this type of meal is really about that phrase you hear all the time: taste and adjust seasonings. I usually don’t measure at all simply because I know how I want it taste.

Oh, and if you do plan on making this, whip up some barbecue baked beans as a side. I’ve provided a recipe for that, too, below the Sloppy Joe one.


Adapted from AllRecipes Sloppy Joe II


  • 1.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1 green or red bell pepper (use red if you’d like to add sweetness this way; green are more bitter)
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 1/2 cups ketchup, plus more if needed
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoons mustard
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar, plus more if desired
  • Salt and pepper to taste, if desired (*I’ve never once added this as I felt it wasn’t needed)


  • In a medium skillet over medium high heat, brown the beef with onion powder and bell pepper; drain off liquids.
  • Stir in the ketchup, mustard, garlic powder, and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for about 20-30 minutes.
  • Add ketchup throughout the cooking process if it starts to dry out.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste, if desired.

Barbecue baked beans


A few notes about the below simple recipe:

1. If you’re an onion fan, go ahead and throw some chopped onions in here. I’m sure it wouldn’t hurt. We happen to not be onion fans, though! Sometimes I use onion powder, but normally I do not.

2. While bacon is not necessary to get these delicious beans in minutes, it does help enhance the flavor. If you’ve got bacon on hand, I’d recommend using it.

3. If you want to use more than one can of beans, just remember this rule: use equal amounts of ketchup and brown sugar. And, of course, a LOT less mustard. We usually make two cans at a time and double the amounts below.


  • 1 can (15 oz.) Van Camp’s pork and beans in tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • Chopped onion or onion powder, to taste
  • 1 bacon slice


  • Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan. Place bacon slice on top of beans.
  • Cook on ‘low’ and simmer until warm, stirring occasionally.
  • Discard bacon. Serve and enjoy.

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