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Peach BBQ-Style Sloppy Joes

Updated on March 18, 2017
Margaret Schindel profile image

Margaret has a passion for cooking, baking, and creating recipes that satisfy her cravings for delicious and indulgent food.

My husband loves traditional comfort food. Give him a plate of American Chop Suey, macaroni and cheese, meatloaf and/or mashed potatoes and he's a happy camper. Sloppy Joes are one of his favorites, but many recipes for it are pretty bland and uninspired. So when I make Sloppy Joe sandwiches I always do something special to amp up the flavors. Sometimes I'll add extra tomato paste and some Italian seasonings for what I call Sloppy Giuseppe sandwiches. Other times I'll add oregano, a touch of cinnamon and some crumbled feta cheese and top the ground beef mixture with a simple Tzatziki sauce made from yogurt cucumber and garlic sauce for what I call Greek Joes.

I'm a big fan of barbecue and my favorite BBQ sauce is thick, sweet and smoky, so I decided to create Southern style sweet and smoky Sloppy Joes that combine my favorite barbecue sauce flavors with sweet Georgia peaches. I'm pleased to say that my recipe is not only delicious but also husband-approved!


Achieving the Perfect Balance of Sweet and Smoky BBQ Flavors

I wanted these Sloppy Joe sandwiches to taste like my favorite style of barbecue sauce, only better. I decided to add sweet peaches, peach nectar and sugar-free peach preserves. Because I live in Boston and not in Georgia and wanted to be able to make this recipe any time of year, I went with flash frozen peaches and bottled peach nectar. I used ketchup (AKA catsup), molasses and diced fire-roasted tomatoes to create the rich, sweet and smoky taste of my barbecue-style sauce. Then I added smoked paprika and liquid smoke flavoring for that smoky barbecue flavor. Finally, I kicked up the flavor profile a notch with a little apple cider vinegar, Dijon mustard and chili powder.

A 50/50 Mix of Lean Ground Beef and Extra-Lean Turkey Keeps the Same Hearty Taste and Makes Them More Heart-Healthy

Originally when I developed this recipe I used lean ground beef plus some olive oil to replace some of the saturated fat with a flavorful, heart healthy oil that also allowed the onions and garlic to cook nicely. But since my husband and I are trying to cut down on our consumption of red meat, after making the first batch with two pounds of lean ground beef, I decided to make another batch using one it with one pound each of 85% lean ground beef and 93% lean ground turkey, plus an extra tablespoon of healthy olive oil to replace some of the missing fat from the extremely lean turkey.

It was just as delicious as the all-beef version. In fact, my husband didn't even notice the substitution! I also made the half beef, half turkey version for my meat-loving brother when we flew cross-country to visit him recently. He loved these so much that he immediately asked for the recipe, even though he didn't cook much at the time! Best of all, made this way, each generous serving of Sloppy Joes is only 482 calories and contains only 16 grams of fat!

Of course, it wouldn't be a Sloppy Joe sandwich without a nice soft sandwich roll or hamburger bun to sop up the sauce. I prefer sesame seed-topped potato rolls but you can use any type of burger bun you prefer.

Sweet and Smoky Sloppy Joes with Peaches


Cook Time

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 55 min
Ready in: 1 hour 15 min
Yields: Makes 10 servings of Sloppy Joe sandwiches


  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. 85% lean ground beef
  • 1 lb. 93% lean ground turkey, (I used JENNIE-O brand)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 14.5 oz. can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1 lb. frozen (unsweetened) or fresh peeled and pitted peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups peach nectar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3/4 cup Smucker's sugar-free peach preserves with Splenda
  • 3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp. liquid smoke flavoring
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 10 soft sandwich rolls or hamburger buns, with or without seeds, e.g., Arnold Select Sandwich Rolls with Sesame Seeds


  1. Heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil in a very large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Crumble in the ground beef and ground turkey and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat loses its pink color.
  2. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and the onion and garlic. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent.
  3. While the meat, onion and garlic are cooking, chop the peaches.
  4. Stir in the fire-roasted tomatoes, chopped peaches, peach nectar, molasses, ketchup, peach preserves, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, chili powder, smoked paprika, liquid smoke and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring for another 20-30 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if necessary. There is salt in the ketchup and diced fire-roasted tomatoes, but you may want to add a bit more, depending on your saltiness preference.
  6. Spoon the mixture over the bottom halves of the sandwich rolls or hamburger buns and add the top halves. Alternatively, serve as open face sandwiches and skip the tops of the buns.
  7. Note: This recipe may be made in advance and refrigerated or frozen and then reheated. It tastes even better after a day or two!

What Do YOU Think of This Recipe? Please Rate It!

5 stars from 3 ratings of Sweet & Smoky Sloppy Joes with Peaches

Nutrition Facts for Sweet and Smoky Sloppy Joes with Peaches (Without the Optional Peach Jam)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/10 recipe
Calories 482
Calories from Fat144
% Daily Value *
Fat 16 g25%
Saturated fat 4 g20%
Carbohydrates 63 g21%
Sugar 26 g
Fiber 7 g28%
Protein 23 g46%
Cholesterol 64 mg21%
Sodium 708 mg30%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

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Wait—You Call Those Southern Barbecue Flavors?

Actually, Southern barbecue covers a wide variety of flavors, depending on the state. True, this recipe isn't based on traditional, thin, vinegar-based North Carolina barbecue dipping sauce, and while it contains mustard it's certainly nothing like the mustard and vinegar sauce served in South Carolina. But it's definitely related to the tomato and vinegar-based sweet-and-sour barbecue sauces served in Memphis, Tennessee, just thicker and smokier like the Kansas City or K.C. style sauces (and also sweeter than those).

So while I would never presume to call the sauce in this recipe traditional Southern barbecue, it does have key ingredients from several different Southern (and Midwestern) style BBQ sauces.

And of course there are those luscious Georgia peaches!

Given that Alabama's mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice and black pepper "white sauce" is considered a legitimate element of regional Southern BBQ, I am quite comfortable calling this my own signature "Southern style" Sloppy Joes recipe.

Vegetarian or Vegan Variations

There are several meat substitutes that would work nicely in this recipe. Obvious choices include tempeh or meatless crumbles, but you could also use cooked and shredded canned young jackfruit (do not use mature jackfruit).

Canned young jackfruit is an unusual ingredient in many areas. Depending on where you live, you many not be able to find it locally. Organic brands are even harder to find. Amazon sells cans of organic young jackfruit by Native Forest, one of my favorite brands for high-quality, organic ingredients, at good prices. (Their organic coconut milk is the best I've tried!)

The following recipe video demonstrates one of several ways to cook and shred jackfruit for sloppy joes.

© 2015 Margaret Schindel

Are You a Fan of Sloppy Joes?

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    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 23 months ago from Massachusetts

      Hi Charito, if you like your barbecue sauce thick, sweet and smoky, you're going to love these Sloppy Joes, I promise! Of all the Sloppy Joe variations I've come up with, this one still is my husband's and my favorite. :)

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 23 months ago from Manila, Philippines

      I've never tasted a Sloppy Joe, Margaret, but I'm intrigued by your Sloppy Giuseppe sandwiches and Greek Joes.

      I also like BBQ sauce that is thick, sweet and smokey, so I can just imagine that your recipe is to die for! (Just looking at the photo makes my mouth water!)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Rhonda, thank you so much for your visit and your nice words about my recipe. I'm sorry that some of the ingredients aren't available in NZ, but it's a pretty forgiving recipe and I'm sure you could make a very tasty version substituting local ingredients, such as ground lamb for ground beef or turkey, and regular apricot jam for Splenda-sweetened jam. I hope you come up with a delicious variation!

    • RhondaAlbom profile image

      Rhonda Albom 2 years ago from New Zealand

      Looks good, but many of those ingredients are not available in New Zealand. Too bad, I miss sloppy joe. Forgot all about it.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks so much, Glimmer! I really hope you give this recipe a try. Everyone I've made it for has loved it. :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 years ago

      Oh this sounds tasty. I love the twist on the traditional sloppy joe!

    • profile image

      Moslima 2 years ago from South Africa

      If I can get all the ingredients here, I will mos definitely try it, Margaret. My husband do appreciate a good burger.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thank you, moslimadelange! I'm glad you like the recipe. I hope you have the opportunity to make it some day.

    • profile image

      Moslima 2 years ago from South Africa

      Being from this part of the world, I have never had a Sloppy Joe. It looks delectable! !

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Daddy Paul! I hope you get a chance to make this recipe and satisfy that hunger. :)

    • Daddy Paul profile image

      Daddy Paul 2 years ago from Michigan

      You made me hungry!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi, Kathryn (ecogranny)! We also have reduced our red meat consumption. When we do eat meat now, it's grass-fed, organic and very lean in this recipe I've added a little olive oil to compensate for the leanness of the beef, and the added peaches mean that there's somewhat less meat per serving (or a larger serving, for those who prefer it) than in traditional Sloppy Joes. You also could try substituting a vegetable-based protein such as tempeh for the ground beef so that you can satisfy your hankering. Thanks so much for your visit and your lovely feedback!

    • ecogranny profile image

      Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

      Now that we eat very little meat, I sometimes get a hankering for Sloppy Joes. These look so much better than the recipe I used for years and years. I can almost taste the flavors, and the texture the peaches would give. Thanks for sharing your recipe.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Michael (Minoru10)! I promise these will be the best you've ever tasted. :)

    • Minoru10 profile image

      Michael Yoshinaka 2 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

      I haven't had one in a very long time... you have made me crave for some.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks very much for the lovely comment, Angela (SheGetsCreative), and for sharing my recipe on Pinterest! I wanted to take traditional Sloppy Joes up a couple of notches, and the idea of making the sauce with barbecue flavors and the sudden inspiration to add peaches and peach nectar just came together for me. :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Dawn (DawnRae64)! It really is yummy. :)

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 2 years ago from Maryland, USA


    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 2 years ago from Seattle, WA

      What an interesting combo of flavors! Yum... pinned

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment, Susan! I'm looking forward to hearing how you like the recipe. By the way, it tastes even better warmed up on the second or third day. I love make-ahead meals, don't you? :)

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 2 years ago from Arkansas USA

      Years ago, Margaret, I found a recipe for baked beans with peaches and, while the combination sounded odd, it was delicious. I'm sure your sloppy joe recipe will be even better. It sounds awesome and looks delicious! Looking forward to trying it. Wish I had a batch of it in the refrigerator to heat up right now!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks, Lorelei! I'm so glad my recipe appeals to you on both levels. I hope you get a chance to try it! :)

    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 2 years ago from Canada

      Your dinner looks perfect for summer and as I am a muncher at heart this is definitely the kind of plate I enjoy. Snacks to satisfy my munchy nature and the burger to supply the filling : ) Perfect.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for your great comment, Lori (gottaloveit2)! Not to worry... there's always tomorrow's dinner. :)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image

      gottaloveit2 2 years ago

      I've got stuffed peppers in the oven right now but wish I didn't! I'd make this sloppy joe recipe in a heartbeat! Looks delicious.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Debra (Lady Guinevere), thanks for the lovely comment! I hope you do get a chance to make them. If so, please let me know how you like them. Thanks!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Barbara (Brite-Ideas), yes, I think your boys would love this recipe! Thanks so much for the pin, too. :)

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for stopping by, poetryman6969! I think the peaches will surprise you - in a good way. :)

    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      This sounds delicious and I might make them when we get paid next.

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 2 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Margaret, this recipe would be a homerun with my gang! You know this is getting pinned to my 'ole recipe board ! thank you

    • poetryman6969 profile image

      poetryman6969 2 years ago

      Not sure about the peaches. But I would give it a try.

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, Nancy! I'm not a big fan or traditional sloppy joes, either, which is why I keep making variations with more interesting flavors. That way both my husband and I can enjoy them. :) I really appreciate your visit and your comment and I hope you get a chance to try these. I think you'll really enjoy them!

    • Margaret Schindel profile image

      Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi peachpurple, I've never heard of a "sloppy burger", so I'm not sure whether these Sloppy Joes are the same thing. Thanks and I'm glad you like my recipe!

    • Nancy Hardin profile image

      Nancy Carol Brown Hardin 2 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      Margaret, I've never cared for Sloppy Joes, but I believe I could fall in love with these really fast. Thanks for an innovative recipe that sounds delicious, will try it.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      Is this homemade sloppy burger? Looks good