The sloppy Joe has long been a key player in family dinners across the country, so it's apropos that chef Trevor Higgins has served them at many a staff meal. The messy meat sandwich became such a favorite that Higgins moved it to his front-of-the-house menu at Roost in Greenville, South Carolina. His recipe includes many of the classic trappings, with one notable addition: apple juice. The juice adds sweetness and prompts the ground beef to caramelize while cooking, adding a surprising depth to this weeknight staple. Grab a stack of napkins--it's about to get sloppy.
Recipe adapted from Trevor Higgins, Roost, Greenville, SC
Yield: 4 sloppy Joes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
1 pound 80/20 ground beef
¾ cup ketchup
¼ cup light brown sugar
1½ tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
¾ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup apple juice
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 brioche buns, halved crosswise
Potato chips, for serving
1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the beef and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Drain off and discard any excess fat and return the pan to the heat.
2. Stir in the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire and mustard, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes. Pour in the apple juice and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Season with the salt and pepper.
3. To serve, add a bun half, cut side up, to each plate. Top each bun with the sloppy Joe mixture and serve, open-faced, with potato chips.