Gochujang Sloppy Joes

When I was growing up, Manwich, a canned lazy joe sauce, was a family favorite for quick skillet meals and to enjoy. However, my quick take uses gochujang to create a smoky, spicy undertone. Think of this recipe as a way to perfect your ideal heat and sweetness by playing with gochujang, ketchup and vinegar. The potato rolls provide the perfect soft landing and the cold pickle spears are a bright, crunchy contrast. The messier the better, so be sure to load up on buns and stock up on plenty of tissues!

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  • 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1
  • lb. ground beef (ideally 20% fat)
  • tsp. Diamond Crystal or ¾ tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided, plus more
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1
  • medium green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped
  • 1
  • medium onion, chopped
  • 6–8
  • garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 3
  • Tbsp. gochujang
  • 2
  • Tbsp. ketchup
  • 1
  • Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1
  • Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1
  • Tbsp. dark brown sugar
  • 1
  • tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1
  • 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 1
  • Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4
  • potato rolls

Kosher dill spears and potato chips (for serving; optional)


Phase 1 : Heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 lb. minced meat (preferably 20 t), spread in one layer; sprinkle over 1 tsp. Diamond crystal or ½ tsp. Morton’s kosher salt and season with freshly ground pepper. Cook gently until a light brown crust forms underneath, about 3 minutes. Continue to fry with a wooden spoon until almost completely browned, about 3 more minutes.

Step 2 : Push the meat to the other side of the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add 1 medium green pepper, ribs and seeds removed, chopped, 1 medium onion, chopped, 6-8 finely grated garlic cloves and ½ tsp. Diamond crystal or ¼ tsp. Morton’s Kosher Salt; season with pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Put in 3 tbsp. gochujang, 2 tbsp. ketchup, 1 tbsp. soy sauce, 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce, 1 tbsp. dark brown sugar and 1 tsp. of yellow mustard, then add one 15 oz. can of tomato sauce and ¼ cup of water and mix again. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Cook, tossing and scraping up the browned bits, until thick and sticky, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove the beef mixture from the heat and stir in 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar; Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3 : Place beef mixture on potato rolls. Serve with kosher dill sprigs and potato chips, if desired.

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