Chopped pork the secret to meaty sloppy joes

The idea behind this pork version of the sloppy joe sandwich wasn't just to come up with an alternative to ground beef.

I wanted something with a totally different — dare I say, meaty — texture. Because face it, sloppy joes may be tasty, but the flavor and texture of whatever meat goes into them usually gets lost beneath a heavy sauce.

So rather than use ground meat, I opted for chopped. About 10 seconds in the food processor was all it took to get meaty chunks perfect for piling onto a bun.

I opted for pork because, well, that's what I had handy. As if you never cook that way. But I did test the approach later with beef. It was good, but it was a little too steak-like, as though it should have cheese on it instead of sauce. Pork loin cutlets and boneless country-style pork ribs produced the best results.

To keep things easy, I used bottled barbecue sauce, which produced incredibly savory, sweet, tangy joes. You also could substitute your own by blending tomato paste, garlic powder, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cumin and a bit of cider vinegar.


Barbecue porky joes

Start to finish: 30 minutes

Servings: 4

1 pound pork loin cutlets (or other lean cut of pork)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1 medium yellow onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, cored and diced

1 cup prepared barbecue sauce


4 hamburger buns

Place the pork in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse the pork in short bursts until well chopped, but not finely ground.

In a large skillet over medium-high, heat the oil. Add the onion and pepper and saute for 6 minutes. Add the pork and saute until lightly browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the barbecue sauce, then serve on the buns.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 440 calories; 124 calories from fat; 14 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 56 mg cholesterol; 52 g carbohydrate; 26 g protein; 2 g fiber; 1,398 mg sodium.

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