Sweet Chili BBQ Sloppy Joes

Are you singing Adam Sandler’s Lunch Lady Land or is it just me? Every time I make sloppy joe’s I can’t help but sing it then have it stuck in my head for the next 5 hours.
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So the night I came up with these sweet chili bbq sloppy joes, we were supposed to have regular ‘ole sloppy joes. But when I started cooking I realized I used the last can of tomato sauce to make chili last weekend. So it was time for a make it work moment.

I knew I needed something else to make it saucy but it didn’t have to be a tomato product. I looked around the pantry and fridge and saw the oversized bottle of sweet chili sauce that I always have on hand. I knew it was just what I needed.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been so happy to not have an important ingredient for a recipe. Since starting this blog, I’ve really learned a lot of techniques and skills which in the end is so much more important than mastering a recipe. Because now I know what pairs well together and can create something with what we have rather than stress over a missing ingredient. And this little creation was so dang delicious. They are sweet, smoky, saucy perfection.
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The flavor of these is really going to depend on what kind of barbeque sauce you use. Joel is from Kansas City so we always have a sweet barbeque sauce around here. If you are more of a smoky or spicy barbeque fan, yours will lean more toward that flavor. So keep that in mind when making them. If all you have is spicy and you want a sweeter, more mild sloppy joe add more sweet chili sauce.

These sloppy joes come together quickly, then simmer for 20 minutes making them just right for busy nights. And it leaves just enough time to cook some frozen fries. What? You didn’t hear that from me.

Make these for dinner tonight before the craziness of Christmas is in full swing. And serve them in brat buns because you realized at the last minute you forgot hamburger buns at the store and that’s all you have in the freezer. More improvisation, I’m telling you it’s the sign of a true home cook. Am I right? Or maybe it’s the sign of a busy, at times overwhelmed mom who just wanted to get dinner on the table dangit. Either way, it’s all good.
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Sweet Chili BBQ Sloppy Joes
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  1. 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  2. 1 lb. ground beef
  3. 1 small onion, finely minced
  4. 3/4 cup BBQ sauce
  5. 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
  6. 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  7. 1 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  8. 1 Tbsp. ketchup
  9. 1/8 tsp. kosher salt
  10. 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  1. Add olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until browned and almost done through. Add the onions and cook another 2 to 3 minutes, until they are soft and translucent.
  2. Add BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce, Worcestershire, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
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  1. Hey! Wanting to make this tonight but I only have “chili sauce” on hand … Saw a couple recipes for making your own sweet chili sauce but most were Thai. Is that the right flavor? Could I use homemade Thai sweet chili sauce or somehow turn my chili sauce into sweet chili sauce?

    1. Oh man, I just saw this. It’s Thai sweet chili sauce that I use so a homemade version would work. Sorry I didn’t respond sooner!

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