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Smokey Joes

These barbecue Smokey Joes put the smoke in classic sloppy joes. Ground beef is seasoned perfectly with a kicked-up barbecue seasoning blend and simmered until the ingredients have become full-flavored. It makes a tasty budget-friendly 30 minute meal and for a timesaver it freezes well, too.
Smokey Joes

Easy Barbecue Smokey Joes Recipe (Sloppy Joes)

When you’re thinking about gourmet dishes, sloppy joes probably don’t come to mind. However, they’re a fantastic and tasty way to feed a family on a budget, and they’re really a taste of childhood, aren’t they? My Mom made homemade sloppy joes for us often when we were kids. There’s just something about them that kids seem to really love and my brothers and I were no exception. I realize the sauce in a can is inexpensive and easy to find but, I don’t buy it because most of the items you need to make a tasty sauce are already in your pantry. The beauty is, you can also personalize them to your taste. At times I make these Sloppy Joe Pizza Sliders with an Italian flavor twist for our gameday party eats.

Smokey Joes

How to Make the BEST Smokey Joes Recipe

My family loves barbecue, so it was a natural progression to put a smokey spin on my Sloppy Joes recipe hence the name”Smokey Joes.”

  • Ingredients you’ll need to make homemade Smokey Joes: Ground beef, onion, olive oil, barbecue seasoning, salt, red or green bell pepper, minced garlic, canned fire roasted tomatoes, ketchup, worcestershire sauce, light brown sugar, paprika, hickory smoke flavoring, ground mustard, crushed red pepper flakes, chopped parsley and oregano.
  • Kitchen tools you’ll need: Large skillet, measuring cups and spoons, large spoon or silicone spatula for stirring, sharp knife and cutting board.
  • You can use your favorite brand of barbecue seasoning for this recipe. I used Barbecue Magic.
  • I really loved the flavor of fire roasted tomatoes in this recipe. That said, you can use any canned tomatoes that you may have on hand. You could even use Rotel tomatoes with chiles for a little heat.
  • Smokey Sloppy Joes Serving Suggestions: You can serve smokey joes the same way you would swrve classic sloppy joes. They’re super tasty served on toasted Kaiser rolls or slider rolls with a sprinkle of shredded cheddar cheese. You can also enjoy it as a meat sauce over a steamy bowl of cheddar grits or cooked pasta. It’s honest, down home good eats, that keeps my family happy and my budget on track.
  • Store Smokey Joes chilled in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave in single serving portions.
  • You can also make an d freeze the filling for up to 2 months.

Smokey Joes

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Barbecue Smokey Joes (Sloppy Joes)

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: smokey-joes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 314kcal
Author: Melissa Sperka


  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 small red or green bell pepper finely diced
  • 3 medium garlic cloves minced
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 lbs extra lean ground beef
  • 1 14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar [or to taste]
  • 2 tsp liquid hickory smoke flavoring
  • 2 tsp barbecue seasoning i.e. Barbecue Magic or similar
  • 1 tsp ground mustard
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1 Tbsp chopped cilantro or flat leaf parsley


  • In a stove top pan, heat a couple of drizzles of olive oil. Saute the diced onion and pepper for 3-4 minutes over medium-high heat until translucent, softened and beginning to brown. Add garlic cooking for one minute longer. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Add ground beef. Cook until no pink remains. Drain any excess fat from the pan then add all of the remaining ingredients.
  • Simmer uncovered over medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes.
  • Stir in 1 tablespoon of chopped cilantro or parsley at the end, if desired
  • Serve on toasted kaiser rolls


If you prefer the tomatoes to have a a finer texture, pulse the tomatoes a few times in the food processor prior to adding them to the pan.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 314kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 586mg | Potassium: 748mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 469IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 61mg | Iron: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @melissassk or tag #melissassk!




  1. Melissa, I commented earlier but just realized I didn’t sign in. It’s Friday, and I’m a blonde, lol. Fab recipe, I’ll be making this for sure!

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