Asian Sloppy Joes Recipe

A new take on a classic sandwich from Iron Chef America's first Canadian champion Rob Feenie. "When I think of sloppy Joes, those ground beef sandwiches I remember eating as a kid, it reminds me of my mom preparing Hamburger Helper (yes, that's right, I have had it a few times). The key to her version was a soft bun and a drippy grey meat mix — nothing more. This updated recipe is an Asian version made using both pork and beef. The key is to buy soft buns and warm them — in the oven if it's already on, or in the microwave for 10 seconds — to soften them up. If you don't want to make sloppy Joes, use this recipe with pasta for an Asian-style spaghetti or serve it with mashed potatoes as a main course. Remember to pour off all the fat from the meat before adding the liquids."


Cabbage-Cilantro Slaw
2 cups shredded green cabbage
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil

Sloppy Joes
2 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 red onions, in 1/4″ dice (about 2 cups)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 ribs celery, in 1/4″ dice (about 3/4 cup)
1 tbsp sambal oelek or any hot sauce of your choice
1 lb. extra-lean ground beef
1 lb. ground pork
1 cup hoisin sauce
1 cup chopped fresh or canned Roma tomatoes
Juice of 1 lime (about 1 tbsp)
2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6 Portuguese buns or any other bun of your choice


Cabbage-Cilantro Slaw

Step 1: Combine cabbage and cilantro in a large bowl.

Step 2: In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, lime juice and grapeseed oil. Just before serving, pour the vinaigrette over the cabbage mixture and toss lightly. Will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for 2 days.

Sloppy Joes

Step 1: Heat a large, heavy frying pan on medium-high. Add grapeseed oil and swirl the pan to spread the oil. Add onions, garlic, ginger, celery and sambal oelek and sauté, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add ground beef and ground pork and use a wooden spoon to break meat into small pieces. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat is no longer pink, 6-8 minutes.

Step 2: Pour off and discard any fat from the meat. Add hoisin sauce, tomatoes and lime juice, then season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Step 4: Cut the buns in half, place them on a baking sheet and warm for 2 minutes, or until very lightly toasted.

Step 5: Arrange the bottom halves of the buns on individual plates. Spoon about 2/3 cup of the sloppy joe mixture on top of each bun, then cover with 2-3 tbsp of cabbage-cilantro slaw. Finish with the top halves of the buns. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftover meat and slaw, separately, in airtight containers for up to 2 days.

See more recipes from Rob Feenie.

Reprinted with permission from Rob Feenie’s Casual Classics (2012 Douglas & McIntyre). Available through or