Sloppy Joes are about as American as you can get. And they were a big part of my childhood. As kids, we would eat them at least one night a week. Classic ingredients of ketchup, yellow mustard, a bit of brown sugar and a tich of apple cider vinegar come together for that signature BBQ sweet and tang that makes these sandwiches irresistible. This recipe, featured in my show "Reel Food," uses all the classic Sloppy Joe flavors, yet reimagines them as burgers. They are great for summertime grilling, but can easily be done inside on a grill pan or a large 12" cast iron skillet any time of year. The sauce is lip-licking good, so I suggest making a double batch.
Makes 4-6 burgers, depending on how hungry you are
For the burgers
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large sweet onion - one half diced, the other half thinly sliced
½ medium green pepper, roughly chopped
1½ lbs. lean ground beef
½ jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
1 teaspoon chile powder
¼ teaspoon chipotle powder
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
4-6 brioche buns (find them at a local bakery or use hamburger buns as a substitute)
For the sauce
1½ cups ketchup
¼ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons yellow mustard
¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
Preheat grill to medium high heat – 425°F-450°F.
Meanwhile, heat a large 12" cast iron skillet on the stove to medium-high heat for 2-3 minutes to get it good and hot. Add the olive oil and heat through for 1 minute. Place the diced onion and green peppers in the skillet. Sauté until soft and translucent 5-7 minutes. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
Place the beef in a large mixing bowl. Add in the jalapeno, chile and chipotle powders, celery salt and pepper. Mix well with clean hands or heavy handle wooden spoon. Add in the cooked onions and peppers. Mix until fully incorporated. Form into 4-6 patties, depending on how large you want them to be. Place on a large plate.
Add the rest of the onions to the skillet and let soften and char, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside on a plate.
While the onions are cooking, place a medium-sized skillet on medium heat. Add in all the ingredients for the sauce. Using a whisk, vigorously stir and bring the sauce to a low bubble – 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer while grilling the burgers. Stir occasionally.
Place the burgers on the grill and cook 4-5 minutes until the burgers are browned on the bottom and have grill marks. Place the brioche buns open face along the side of the burgers to warm and crisp up, usually 2-3 minutes - set aside on a clean plate. Using tongs or a large spatula, flip them over and continue cooking another 5-6 minutes until medium or slightly pink in the center. Remove the burgers from the grill and place immediately into the brioche.
Thickly slather the burgers with the sauce and top with the grilled onions.
Serve. Use the extra sauce for dipping.
**If cooking indoors in cast iron: Place the patties in the large skillet and cook 7-8 minutes until the bottom is fully sealed and dark brown. Flip and then cook 7-8 more minutes, or until slightly pink in the center.
Savannah Lump Crab Fritters with Thai Dipping Sauce Created By Gerry Klaskala
6 oz. – All Purpose Flour
1 Tbl. – Baking Powder
¼ tsp. – Salt
¼ tsp. – Cayenne
8 oz. – Jumbo Lump Crab
4 oz. – Sauteed Scallions
6 oz. – Water
1. Combine dry ingredients 2. Add crab, scallions and water. Mix just enough to incorporate ingredients. 3. Carefully scoop or spoon mix into ½ oz balls and fry in 350 degree oil until cooked through.
Thai Dipping Sauce
¼ cup – Mae Ploy 1 ea. – Thai Peppers, minced ¼ tsp. – Ginger, minced 2 Tbl. – Lime Juice 1 tsp. – Cilantro
1. Combine ingredients and stir well
Heirloom Tomato Coleslaw
Created by Chef Hudson Rouse
1 table spoon celery seed
1/8 cup pickle brine
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped pickles
1 1/2 cup Dukes Mayonnaisel
3 heads of cabbage thinly sliced
4 carrots grated
1 vidalia onionthinly sliced
4 heirloom tomatoes sliced
Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add cabbage, carrots, onions; toss to coat with dressing. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 4 hours. Toss in sliced heirloom tomatoes before serving.
Peach Party Liquor Created by Kevin Gillespie
The name is inspired by the show Squidbillies on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. I recently became a Squidbillies cast member, playing myself. The show is hilarious. It’s not for everyone, but I love how it explores the idea of these ultra-redneck characters that are, absurdly, squids. One of the characters, Early Cuyler, makes something he calls “party liquor.” One weekend when the cooks at Woodfire Grill were getting together on Sunday for some fun, I said, jokingly, that I would bring some “party liquor.” And it would include moonshine. “You can’t bring moonshine,” they said. “We’ll all go blind!” I wanted to show them it wasn’t so bad, so I mixed the moonshine with really strong tea and juiced peaches. It tasted like Snapple peach tea and you could barely detect the moonshine. It was so good that we drank all of it. We got to goofing around and thought it would be fun to have a dart tournament. Someone had brought a blow dart gun. Before long, one of us had a brilliant idea and asked, “What if we shot someone with one of these?” That soon digressed into a series of retaliatory dart wounds. That’s when I knew it was time for me to go. Just as my wife, Valerie, and I were walking out the door, I felt this pain in the back of my leg. I craned around, and there was a blow dart sticking out of my calf.
Water – 2 cups
Black tea bags – 4
Agave nectar – ½ cup
Peaches – 8 ripe baseball-size ones, pitted and peeled
Moonshine – 2 cups
Lemon juice – 1/4 cup
1. Bring the water to a boil in a medium nonreactive saucepan. Add the tea bags, and steep the tea in the hot water for about 30 minutes; you want to end up with very strong tea. Add the agave nectar to the tea and stir until blended. Cool the tea to room temperature. 2. Using a juicer, food processor, or heavy-duty blender, puree the peaches until they are completely smooth. Pour into the pan of tea along with the moonshine and lemon juice, stirring to blend. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer and discard the solids. Cover, chill, and serve ice-cold.
Moonshine / White lightning or moonshine refers to any illegally distilled, unaged white whiskey made in an unregulated still at home. But you can find perfectly legal white whiskey called moonshine in just about every liquor store across the country. Any corn-based liquor will do just fine in this recipe. If you can’t find white whiskey, 80-proof Cathead Vodka from Mississippi is finished with corn and makes a great substitute.
Bandoffee Trifle With Candied Bacon Created by Kevin Gillespie
My restaurant Gunshow has no investors. To raise money I did a series of fundraising dinners all over the country. I customized the menu for each group—except for dessert. I’m not much of a pastry chef, so I stuck with my slam-dunk combo of bananas, toffee, and candied bacon. I made it several different ways. At first, I plated it as a deconstructed modernist dessert. Then in Seattle I served a much bigger group of folks and the modernist plating turned out to be too time-consuming. Out of sheer necessity, I made it into a trifle, and that’s what made the dish even more successful. It’s a layered dessert of vanilla custard, Candied Bacon (page 139), crushed shortbread cookies, fried bananas, toffee caramel, and chocolate ganache. You can totally make this at home. The layering makes it look awesome in a glass dish. Serve it with coffee and your friends will think you’re badass.
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 teaspoon fine sea salt or table salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Canola oil for frying
3 bananas 5 ounces 65% chocolate, chopped
12 ounces shortbread cookies
2 cups vanilla custard or pudding (see Good to Know)
To make the caramel, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the brown sugar and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and stir in ¾ cup of the cream. Return to a boil and decrease the heat to a low simmer. Simmer, swirling occasionally, until the mixture reaches 235°F, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and vanilla.
Heat the oil in a deep fryer to 350°F.
Peel the bananas and fry until deep golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to cool.
Heat the remaining ¼ cup cream in a small saucepan just to a boil, then remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate until melted.
Place the cookies in a large zip-top bag, squeeze out any excess air, and roll with a rolling pin a few times to make very coarse crumbs; you should have about 3 cups.
You can make one large trifle bowl or individual servings in 8-ounce canning jars. To assemble, layer one-third of the cookie crumbs, half the custard, half the bacon, half the fried bananas, half the caramel, and the chocolate; continue layering on the remaining custard, bacon, bananas, and one-third of the crumbs; top with the remaining caramel and crumbs. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Cut the reserved bacon into long strips and garnish each serving with a strip.