Jen’s Buffalo Joes – as in the meat, not the sauce ;)

Oh January, how I love you! After 5 fast-paced months, good old sleepy, relaxing January shows up, and I have very little to do. I love to really take advantage of it by getting double workouts in every day (well, 5 days a week), and go freezer diving for the dinner centerpieces. What do I find in that freezer? A lot of healthier cuts of meat that my well-intentioned self buys if I go to Costco hungry, and then they sit in the freezer waiting to become something.

One and a quarter pounds of ground bison. I buy it because it’s a better choice meat, but I’m just not naturally a fan. I put the frozen brick on the counter, thinking about potential destinies for it and it hit me – Sloppy Joes! Sloppy Joes have so much flavor going on that the protein is really just a delivery system. Sloppy Bison had entirely the wrong ring to it, so Buffalo Joes it is!

In my opinion, Ree Drummond makes the finest Sloppy Joes in the land, so I used them as a jumping off point. Here they are if you’ve never tried them: Ree’s Sloppy Joes. These are in her book, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food From My Frontier.

Jen’s Buffalo Joes

1 ¼ pounds ground bison
Brown the bison. There’s so little fat that there’s no need to even try to drain it.

1 green pepper, diced
½ red onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
¾ cup ketchup
1 cup (about ½ can) beer or beef broth
(I save the craft beer for sipping and use cheap yellow cooking beer here, but you do you. I keep a case of it in the outside fridge to add a glug to chili, mac and cheese, brat and potato cheese soup…)
1 ½ Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon dry mustard
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 glugs Worcestershire
3 glugs Tabasco
Salt and pepper, to taste

Add, cover, and let it simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes to soften the vegetables and marry all the flavors. Then uncover and let it bubble away until most of the liquid has evaporated. Taste for seasoning and adjust the salt as needed.

4 kaiser rolls

Butter the rolls and toast. Spoon the yummy meat on top, and enjoy!

IF you’re going low-carb, Google cloud bread and use that for buns. Or use several layers of Boston, butter lettuce, or iceberg on each side. Or grilled or roasted portobellos, but you’ll need a fork then. Or roasted red peppers. Or just eat it with a fork.

For sides, all you need are some vegetables and dip or some apple and orange slices. I love to save the little tasting glasses from festivals because they are always the perfect size for a little crudité accompaniment.