Canned Corned Beef Makes For A Simple Twist On Sloppy Joes

We understand that this headline alone may have some people feeling skeptical. If that's the case, you've probably had the experience of opening a can of canned corned beef, and there's no getting around it: It's not the most appetizing unboxing around. The gelatinous mass of minced beef that emerges doesn't inspire culinary confidence, but those with the fortitude to see past appearance know the corned beef inside is flavorful and toothsome. It makes for decent corned beef sandwiches and even better hash, but its uses don't end there. Canned corned beef can be a fantastic — if not even, dare say, better — alternative to ground beef in a sweet and smoky sloppy Joe recipe.

The beauty of using canned corned beef lies in its unique characteristics that complement the traditional sloppy Joe ingredients. Firstly, corned beef adds a rich, savory flavor that intensifies the overall taste of the dish. Additionally, canned corned beef comes packed with a plethora of seasonings that can include salt, garlic, pepper, mustard seeds, and more, which infuse sloppy Joes with an irresistible depth of flavor. This seasoning blend pairs wonderfully with the sweetness of the tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar typically found in sloppy Joe recipes. Moreover, the texture of corned beef, with its tender yet slightly chunky consistency, provides a delightful contrast to the softness of the bun and the crunch of any toppings.

An easy swap

If you're willing to take this journey, the good news is incorporating canned corned beef into your sloppy joe recipe is incredibly simple. Instead of browning ground beef and seasoning it from scratch, you can simply open a can of corned beef and crumble it directly into the skillet with the other ingredients. This not only saves you precious prep time but also reduces the need for additional seasoning, as the corned beef is already packed with salt-flavorful spices. And, since corned beef is pre-cooked, it only needs to be heated, making the entire cooking process quicker and more convenient.

If desired, amp up the sweetness and caramelization by sauteing diced onions in a large, high-walled skillet over medium heat. You can also add minced garlic, but the canned corned beef may contain garlic, so taste it first. Next, add in the canned corned beef and cook until it begins to crisp a bit in its own oils. Season as you would for any other sloppy Joe recipe or to your taste, then add in the tomato sauce or ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and mustard — if called for — and let the sauce reduce.

The result is a sloppy Joe that has a chunkier texture with loads of savory notes and ample seasoning. Serve it as you would a sloppy Joe or bridge an obvious gap and make a sloppy Joe Reuben by melting on Swiss cheese and topping it with funky sauerkraut and Russian dressing.