Breaking the Fussy Eater- Canned Sloppy joe

It may seem a little deep South to consider canning ground meat. I have found recently in this dead heat, home canned meat is extremely handy and tasty to have on hand. I totally understand why they can it now with all this heat – (insert Canadian whine about 40 degree temps)

The evening went like this. It was 40 degrees and as humid as the Tennessee Mountains. My children were extremely helpful trying to decide what they want to eat. By helpful I mean they weren’t. I decided to pop open a home canned jar of sloppy joe mix that i canned the week before into cast iron skillet & I fired up grill (- i do not own a microwave- don’t feel sorry for me its a personal choice.) I shredded some sharpe cheddar and served on warmed grilled rolls.

“EWWWWW- what is that ? it’s gross- I hate this” honestly was response I was greeted with when I placed the plates down. I told this boy child that he has never even eaten it how would he know. He tried some heavy negotiation tactics – all failed. He proudly proclaimed loudly that he would never make his child eat anything like this. Reluctantly he gave in and topped is sauced bun with extra cheese. He brought it to his mouth all the while still complaining – then silence. A few bites later… “this isn’t too bad- I think I was wrong”. Then I heard – “ is there seconds?”

Isn’t that great!

This particular recipe is called sloppy joe mix but with a few tweaks in seasoning this recipe could be used for chilli fries or dogs, nachos, or even in a pinch for spaghetti meat sauce. I got four generous hamburger sized sandwiches out of a pint sized (16 oz) jar. So if you have a larger or smaller family you may want to make more or less jars or change your canning size to make meals easy. Also check with local butchers or meat markets – they often can give you bulk ground beef for a better price then supermarkets. If you hunt or have hunting friends now is the time to butter them up – deer meat is excellent in this.

Stay tuned for Spicy Peach BBQ sauce and my favourite dill pickle recipe

Sloppy Joe Mix

Tested recipe: Dr Barb Ingham University of Wisconsin Extension Office

  • 4 lbs ground beef (or venison.)
  • 3 cups onion diced
  • 1 1/2 cups green bell pepper (chopped Measured after prep.)
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon salt (OR non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (OR 1/2 teaspoon liquid stevia)
  • 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper


  1. Prep the onion and green pepper in advance, set aside.
  2. Sauté the ground meat in a large pot. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Add the prepped veg and all remaining ingredients.
  4. Bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes, uncovered.
  5. Ladle into jars, being sure to get balanced scoops of liquid and solid.
  6. Use either 1/2 US pint / 8 oz OR 1 US pint / 16 oz OR 1 US quart jars,.
  7. Leave 1 inch headspace.
  8. Debubble; adjust headspace.
  9. Wipe jar rims.
  10. Put lids on.
  11. Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet)
  12. Processing time: Process 1/2 US pint / 8 oz OR 1 US pint / 16 oz for 75 minutes. Process 1 US quart for 90 minutes.

Notes: Allow canner to fully cool before removing jars. This limits siphoning of liquids out of jars. Meat mixtures will thicken as cooled.

** add some chilli powder, Cumin and / or smoked paprika (to taste) for taco flavoured chilli sauce – Do not use pre pkg taco seasonings as they contain starch and can cause mold in canning.

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