Meals In A Jar; Sloppy Joes

I have a 12 day Mule Deer hunt coming up next week. In preparation, I was trying to come up with self contained meals in mason jars, to save on my finite cooler space.

One of the first things I thought of was Sloppy Joes. But instead of just the sauce, like a can of Manwich, I wanted the meat in the recipe too.

I did some searching around and found a base recipe to work off of. I was originally given the recipe by a member of a canning group I belong to. But I also found the same recipe a couple of places online. So I’m not sure who get’s credit. Either way, I modified it slightly.

Ready To Go Sloppy Joes

2lbs Ground Beef
1 C Chopped Onion
3/4 C Chopped Green Bell Pepper
1 1/2 C Catsup/Ketchup (Use Heinz or Hunt, or make sure your brand has no thickeners added)
2 T Brown Sugar
2 T Apple Cider Vinegar
3 T Heinz Chili Sauce
3 t Worcestershire Sauce
2 t Yellow Mustard
1/4 C Water

Yield 3 Pints

For complete transparency, know that I doubled my recipe, and also used 3lbs of beef and 1lb of chicken.

Start by adding your beef, onion, and green pepper to a hot skillet. If you chose to use chicken, add some olive oil to the pan first. If you double your recipe, this is easier to do in two batches

Brown the ground beef and cook the onions to translucence. Depending on the fat content of your beef you may need to drain the fat off. Mine was lean enough that it didn’t need it.

I prepped by putting my ketchup/catsup (that’s a whole different debate), Worcestershire Sauce, Chili Sauce, and Mustard in one bowl, and my brown sugar, cider and water in another. Stirring to dissolve the sugar.
When the beef and veggies are done, add the remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Bring everything to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes I took the lid off and found that it was a bit runnier than I’d like. I kept the lid off and stirred it until it reduced to a consistency I wanted. Fill your clean mason jars to a 1″ headspace.

Top with your heated lids and finger tightened rings. Process at 11lbs for 75 minutes for pint, and 90 minutes for quarts. Remember, you can’t fit much more than a half a cup of meat onto one hamburger bun. That’s four servings per pint and eight servings per quart.

I haven’t cracked these open yet, as my hunting trip is next week. I’ll definitely come back and update the bottom of this post with a review. But my eight-year-old son and I ate the little bit of leftovers that wouldn’t fill a seventh jar and so far we are both very happy with it. He has requested that I make them from scratch for dinner. Which really isn’t a bad idea since it too less than 30 min to make.

The flavor was very comparable to a can of Manwitch sauce. Maybe a touch sweeter. Next time I will add less sugar and try to spice it up just a little bit more, maybe with some hot sauce. But we’ll see what it tastes like out of the jar.

If you have ideas for self-contained meals that can be opened from a jar, heated, and served please share or link them in the comments.

Happy canning!


24 Responses to “Meals In A Jar; Sloppy Joes”

  1. 1 Roadhouse October 25, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    Ketchup..? Why not diced tomatoes or paste? This looks like chili to be honest

  2. 3 melody October 11, 2014 at 6:07 am

    I know this might seem dumb but is you (T) tbsp. and (t) tsp. Would love to love to try this.

  3. 5 Rose Marie Swensen October 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Thanks…for the wonderful recipe..I can’t wait to try it….

  4. 6 Norma Taylor December 20, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    I tried weiners in beans once, but the weiners absorbed all the liquid.
    Mother-in-law used to do pulled turkey using shredded turkey moistened with turkey gravy -that was good. No recipe and she’s passed.
    I want to try meat loaf for next year.

  5. 7 preoccupare June 2, 2015 at 11:32 pm

    What’s up, I desire to subscribe for this website to obtain most up-to-date updates, so where can i do
    it please help out.

  6. 8 Skye August 29, 2015 at 12:36 am

    Assuming you used a pressure canner?

  7. 10 GoldKaiser August 31, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    How long will they stay fresh on the pantry shelf?

  8. 13 Carol March 4, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I started canning sloppy joe mix last year. Try adding a small can of chipotle sauce to your recipe. We think it is delicious. Also, I can ground beef in pint jars so that I can use it in my sloppy joe mix, tacos, spaghetti, eat. It is so convenient.

    • 14 Pam June 29, 2016 at 7:43 pm

      Carol, how do you can your ground beef? I’d like to use some of our ground beef we had in the freezer from a calf we had processed.

      • 15 Sherry Walters July 30, 2021 at 5:27 am

        fry it up, add liquid and pressure cook 90 min at 12# pressure. make sure you abide by all canning rules when cleaning and heating your jars and lids

  9. 16 Brandy August 5, 2016 at 7:47 am

    So, update?

  10. 17 Bitty Bites Kitchen October 14, 2016 at 5:35 am

    I am always looking for something I can make into meal sized portions for a single person. This looks like something I am going to make and share with friends in their homemade Christmas gift bags! A pretty label, an antique spoon attached with a ribbon and it’s a present! Thank you for sharing.

  11. 18 jackie December 23, 2016 at 3:10 am

    Looks good. Just wondering can I switch out the ground beef for rabbit or alpaca? Thanks

  12. 19 blog July 23, 2019 at 12:03 am

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  13. 20 Mark May 8, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    I made this and it was delicious. But when I canned it according to this recipe in pints, the flavor changed dramatically. It was a bit bitter, and so I have to add sugar to make it edible. What went wrong? The color was also much darker after canning.

  14. 21 Glenda Clemons October 4, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    This was very tasty but I need to let it reduce more since mine was runnier then I like it. I thought maybe it would thicken more in the canning process. I will definitely can this recipe again. Thank you for sharing it.

  15. 22 Ethel May 5, 2022 at 9:58 am

    I know this is an old post but I wanted you to know I have 4 pint jars in the canner right now. I had enough leftover for lunch today because I used 3 lb. of meat. Of course I adjusted all the other ingredients. It tastes great!

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