Gochujang Sloppy Joes

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

In the early 70s, my high school cafeteria lunch was almost always a sloppy joe sandwich with a bag of Cheetos and a cold bottle of Coke. Diet Coke hadn’t been invented yet. And there was only one type of Cheetos, Crunchy. Baked Cheetos and Flamin’ Hot Cheetos would come later.

I also remember my mother making tasty sloppy joes for dinner with three ingredients: ground beef, ketchup, and mustard. No measuring, she just added ketchup and mustard to the browned beef. Served it on hamburger buns or white bread (it was Wonder, which helped build strong bodies 12 ways). 💪

It has been decades since I’ve had (or even wanted) a sloppy joe sandwich. But after coming across several intriguing sloppy joe recipes on the internet that included gochujang, I had to try my own version.

Now these Gochujang Sloppy Joes are much spicier and more complex than old-school style. Gochujang is a Korean red chili paste with sweet heat and a fermented umami richness. It has a balanced fruitiness, slight smokiness and depth of flavor from the sun-dried Korean red peppers. Gochugaru, also made from sun-dried red peppers, is a coarse-ground chili powder. Together, they give this messy sandwich its distinctive Korean spiciness.

Gochujang Sloppy Joes Recipe

Gochujang Sloppy Joes

  • 1 T. avocado oil
  • 2/3 c. onion, diced
  • 1 large jalapeño, fine dice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. ground beef (85% worked great)
  • 3 T. gochujang
  • 2 t. gochugaru
  • 2 T. ketchup
  • 1 T. mustard
  • 1 T. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 T. worcestershire sauce
  • 1 T. brown sugar

Sauté onion in oil in a large non-stick pan. When onions are translucent, add jalapeño and garlic. Sauté for another minute then add beef to the pan and cook until browned. Drain off some of the fat if desired.

Add remaining ingredients plus 1/4 cup of water and stir to combine. Simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for seasoning.

To Serve
  • brioche hamburger buns
  • dill pickle spears
  • potato chips

Scoop a generous sloppy portion of the beef mixture onto the buns. Serve with pickles and potato chips (or Cheetos). And a Coke.

More Gochujang Recipes 🌶️🌶️

If you bought a tub of gochujang for this recipe, here are other great ways to use it:

Creamy Gochujang Noodles

Sundubu Jjigae ~ Korean Soft Tofu Stew

Gochujang Brisket

BBQ Oysters – Gochujang Butter, Kimchi, Scallion

Gochujang Chicken Adobo and Chef Hooni Kim

Griddled Gochujang Chicken Sandwich, Kimchi Slaw, Seaweed Mayo

Korean Grilled Salmon, Gochujang-Soju Marinade

Korean Soy-Braised Black Cod (Eun Daegu Jorim)

Swordfish Maeuntang

Creamy Gochujang Braised Salmon

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