Sloppy Joes: ‘Cues for a Crowd

Do you like cooking for a crowd?

I do. And that’s exactly what I’m about to get to work on in just a few minutes.

Each spring for about the past 15 years or so, we’ve been making a batch of homemade barbecues for a 100 or so people who belong to a group that Therese and I support. The recipe I use is tried and true. I call it Auntie Helen’s Barbecues, because it was given to me by my late aunt, Helen Tiedeman, who was the head cook at our Catholic school when I was growing up.

The barbecues were a hot lunch favorite of all the kids. Over the years, I’ve shared the recipe with friends, relatives and Herald readers. No one has been disappointed.

While Auntie Helen’s Barbecues are great, I realize there are a lot of other barbecue or “Sloppy Joe” recipes out there that are pretty good. I can think of a couple right off the top of my head. The Sloppy Joes that are served at The Kegs drive-in in Grand Forks have a lot of fans, and I’m one of them. Also, one of my friends has his mom’s recipe that contains chicken gumbo soup, which ranks right up there, too.

While I don’t have those two aforementioned recipes, here is my aunt’s along with another that was shared with me recently that looks pretty tasty.

Sloppy Joes
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 small onion, chopped
½ red or green bell pepper, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
½ cup each: ketchup, water
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
4 kaiser rolls, toasted
Heat oil in medium skillet.
Add onion and pepper; cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook 1 minute.
Add beef; cook, breaking up pieces, until browned and crumbled, 4 minutes.
Mix in ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper to taste; simmer until flavors are blended, 15 minutes. Serve on rolls.
Yield: Serves 4.
Approximate nutritional analysis per serving: 415 calories, 31 percent of calories from fat, 14 grams fat (4 grams saturated), 69 milligrams cholesterol, 42 grams carbohydrates, 28 grams protein, 1,087 milligrams sodium, 2 grams fiber.

Auntie Helen’s Barbecues
6 pounds of ground beef
1 package flaked onions
1 25 ounce-can cream of mushroom soup
½ gallon of ketchup
½ stalk of celery, diced, precooked
2 tablespoons mustard
¼ cup of vinegar
Barbecue spice, to taste
½ cup of brown sugar
Mix all of ingredients and cook for about 2 hours
Yield: Serves 50.

The Best Sloppy Joes

One of the best things about having relatives come for a visit is being able to cook for them. This past week, our granddaughter, Naomi, has been visiting from Cincinnati. She’s considering a move here to attend college. Naomi has had a few request to meals, and the latest is for homemade barbecues and potato salad.

When she graduated from high school this past spring, Naomi’s mom asked me for my Auntie Helen’s barbecue recipe so they could have it for Naomi’s reception. On one of their visits back home, I had fixed the barbecues for them, and they thoroughly enjoyed them.

And they’re certainly not the only ones who’ve fallen for the barbecues I’ve been eating since grade school. That’s because they’re the ones that were served at our school hot lunch. My aunt, Helen Tiedeman, was head cook at the Cathedral School in Crookston.

Years after the school closed and Auntie Helen retired, she shared the recipe with me. And since then, I’ve passed it on to numerous old school mates and friends. And none of them have been disappointed.

It’s a simple recipe to make, and I’d like to share one more time with you. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, either.

Auntie Helen’s Barbecues
6 pounds of ground beef
1 package flaked onions
1 25 ounce-can cream of mushroom soup
½ gallon of ketchup
½ stalk of celery, diced, precooked
2 tablespoons mustard
¼ cup of vinegar
Barbecue spice, to taste
½ cup of brown sugar
Mix all of ingredients and cook for about 2 hours
Yield: Serves 50.

Sloppy Joes For A Crowd

On Saturday, a group I belong to is having one of its annual get-togethers. For the past 15 years or so, I’ve helped out with the food, supplying homemade barbecues — or sloppy Joes, as some people like to call them.

The recipe I use is one given to me by my late aunt, Helen Tiedeman. Auntie Helen was the head cook at our school’s hot lunch program when I was growing up, and the recipe for the barbecues was the one they used probably at least once every week or two.

The barbecues were one of the favorites of most kids. Some of my old schoolmates still talk about them. I’ve written about them several times. It’s that good a recipe. Luckily, she passed it on to me, and I’ve been using it ever since.

With nice weather now upon us and summer not far behind, it will be the season for family gatherings, picnics and such. If you’re looking for a recipe that can be made in a hurry and serve anywhere from a dozen to more than 100 people, give the following a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Auntie Helen’s Barbecues
6 pounds of ground beef
1 package flaked onions
25 ounce-can cream of mushroom soup
½ gallon of ketchup
½ stalk of celery, diced, precooked
2 tablespoons mustard
¼ cup of vinegar
Barbecue spice, to taste
½ cup of brown sugar
Mix all of ingredients and cook for about 2 hours
Yield: Serves 50.
Note: Recipe easily can be doubled or cut in half.