Jason’s Ultimate Manwich

The Ultimate Manwich

A sandwich is a sandwich, but a Manwich is a meal!

As I have already mentioned, today I share a birthday with my cousin Jason. A week ago he e-mailed me and requested that I create ‘The Ultimate Manwich’ for his birthday and post it on Pinch My Salt. No other instructions or descriptions were given. He just asked for The Ultimate Manwich.

Believe it or not, I love it when I get requests to create something! Remember Ruby’s request for Pumpkin Scones? Jason makes these requests fairly often but they are usually off-the-wall combinations of ingredients that I don’t bother to take seriously. However, I knew I could come up with a good Sloppy Joe recipe so I was excited about this one!

Those of you who aren’t in the United States probably have no idea what a Manwich is. Manwich is the brand name of a seasoned tomato sauce that is mixed with cooked ground beef and put on a hamburger bun or bread to create a sandwich. The sandwich is typically called a Sloppy Joe although I am sure there are other names for it. I’m pretty sure I liked to eat manwiches as a kid, but I am really not a fan of the canned Manwich sauce nowadays. I tried it a couple years ago and swore I would never buy that stuff again. Yuck! But, Sloppy Joes are fun every once in a while so now I just make them from scratch. I’ve even previously written about one of the recipes I tried but I’ve always known that I could come up with a better one.

In order to make a traditional Sloppy Joe into an Ultimate Manwich, I knew I needed to add something extra. Sloppy Joes are often a little sweet (sometimes a lot sweet) and I love the combination of sweet and spicy so I knew I would first have to add some extra heat. I could have just added extra crushed red pepper or thrown in some fresh chilies. But it occurred to me that one more flavor would go perfectly with the spicy and sweet. Smoky! I decided the perfect solution would be to add some canned chipotle peppers in adobo. Chipotles are smoke-dried jalapeño peppers and in grocery stores you will often find them canned in adobo sauce. The chipotle in adobo would add both the spice I was after and a hint of smoke. And the yummy adobo sauce adds even more flavor!

Now I knew I was on to something but I thought I might need one more thing to make this sandwich ‘The Ultimate.’ And what’s one ingredient that makes just about everything better? No, not bacon (although the thought did cross my mind). Cheese! I decided to stir in some extra sharp Wisconsin cheddar at the very end. Just enough to add that extra dimension of flavor and some extra ‘sloppiness.’

Yesterday, I started looking through previous sloppy joe recipes I had tried and even some I hadn’t. Before heading to the store, I created a list of ingredients I knew I wanted to use:

red bell pepper
fresh garlic
chipotle chili in adobo
apple cider vinegar
brown sugar
chili powder
fresh ground pepper
crushed red pepper
ground beef
extra sharp cheddar

Looking at my list, I knew I had a great recipe before I even started making it! I picked up all the ingredients yesterday afternoon and had planned on making these then. But as you might have read yesterday, I lost my momentum and decided to make them first thing this morning instead.

So I got up this morning and gathered my ingredients:

Sauce Ingredients

First, I chopped the red bell pepper, onion and two cloves of garlic.

Onion, Pepper, and Garlic

I also chopped up one chipotle chili and set it aside.

Chipotle Chili

I poured a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a large skillet and turned the heat to medium.

Skillet with Olive Oil

Next, I added the onions and red bell peppers (not the garlic yet).

Onions and Red Bell Peppers

I cooked the onions and peppers over medium heat, stirring regularly. This is what they looked like after five minutes.

Sauteed onions and red bell peppers

But I kept cooking them until the onions were just slightly brown and the peppers were getting soft. After seven minutes, I added the garlic and one chopped chipotle chili and cooked, stirring, for one more minute.

Browned onions and red bell peppers

Then I added one 15 oz. can of tomato sauce, one 6 oz. can of tomato paste, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, one tablespoon of adobo sauce from the canned chilies, 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and a dash of cinnamon and I stirred it all together. And I didn’t forget the chili powder, I just ended up not needing it after all.

Sloppy Joe Sauce

I was tempted to add more salt at this point but decided that I wanted to season the ground beef as it was cooking so I held off on adjusting the sauce seasonings. Since I wanted the sauce to be somewhat similar in appearance to what comes out of the can, I decided to puree the mixture in a blender. So I let it cool slightly then spooned it into the blender.

Sloppy Joe sauce in a blender

I then pureed it until it was fairly smooth.

Pureed Sloppy Joe Sauce

After it was the consistency I wanted, I just let the sauce hang out in the blender while I prepared the ground beef. I just rinsed and re-used the same skillet I had used for the sauce. I re-heated the skillet over medium heat and crumbled about one pound of ground beef into the pan.

Ground Beef in a Skillet

While it was cooking, I seasoned the meat with half a teaspoon salt, some fresh ground black pepper, and a generous pinch of crushed red pepper. I cooked the meat until it was almost fully cooked but still a little pink in some spots.

Almost Cooked Ground Beef

As you can see, my beef wasn’t very lean! But that’s ok, because I just poured off all the fat.

Cooked and drained ground beef

After draining the fat off the ground beef, I poured in all of the sauce from the blender.

Ground Beef with Sloppy Joe Sauce

I stirred it all together and set the heat to medium low.

Sloppy Joe Mixture

I cooked the mixture, stirring constantly until it was bubbling and had thickened enough to where it was ‘moundable’ enough for a sandwich. Then I turned off the heat.

Finished Sloppy Joe Filling

Now it was time for the cheese! I chose yellow cheddar over white because it matched the color of the sauce 🙂
Extra Sharp Cheddar

I shredded about one cup of cheese (3 oz. or so) and added it to the sauce mixture.

Sloppy Joe Sauce with Cheddar

I gently stirred it in and my Ultimate Manwich filling was finished!

Ultimate Manwich Filling

It was now ready for a bun!

Sloppy Joe Sandwich

The Ultimate Manwich

And guess what I ate for my birthday breakfast?

Ultimate Manwich Breakfast

I’m not kidding, I really did eat this at 10:30 a.m. for a late breakfast. I hadn’t eaten yet and believe me, this sandwich was pretty irresistible! I couldn’t finish it all but that’s because I had overloaded it with meat for photographic purposes. But I’m pretty sure that Jason would have eaten the entire thing if he were here!

So, that was Jason’s Ultimate Birthday Manwich. And guess what I have decided to call it?

The Sloppy Jason!

I had to name the sandwich after him because even though he doesn’t have a food blog, Jason was nice enough to create and name a sandwich after me in honor of my birthday. That’s right, Larry David isn’t the only one. There is now a sandwich called The Nicole.

Hope you have enjoyed my saucy beef sandwich experiment. I will have the recipe written out in standard form and added to the end of this post soon!

Happy birthday, Jason!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to me! 🙂

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  1. Sylvia

    Wow this is a real ultimate manwich, amazing.
    Happy (late) birthday for you both

    1:26 pm  Dec 7th, 2007
  2. Corinne

    Where’s my birthday sammich?

    4:29 pm  Dec 7th, 2007
  3. John J. Goddard

    You might want to try grinding up a little frozen liver or kidney and adding it to the ground beef. The word “manwich” makes me think of something robust and hearty. Organ meats certainly do that on the flavor end of things, and they add nutritional value.


    3:21 am  Dec 8th, 2007
  4. Wanda

    Great looking manwich. I like how you have photographed the process step by step. Excellent job.

    That is one filling meal for anyone.

    9:39 pm  Dec 18th, 2007
  5. Rip Van Coke

    i feel questionable, although it may tickle your timbers, i feel questionable serving a sizeable portion of manwich to anyone with a history of good ole, porking out, therefore this whole thing is unattractive. verily.

    8:29 am  Jun 23rd, 2008
  6. Jason

    I have a history of “good ole, porking out?”

    9:01 am  Jun 23rd, 2008
  7. Nicole

    Yes, Jason, apparently you do!

    9:36 am  Jun 23rd, 2008
  8. Jen

    I tried out this recipe with a few minor changes….and it was fabulous! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful dish…I’ll definetly be making this again.

    8:57 am  Jun 27th, 2008
  9. Nicole

    Jen: So glad you liked it! Feel free to share your changes…I’m constantly changing my own recipes and it’s always good to hear suggestions!

    11:38 am  Jun 27th, 2008
  10. Larese

    hey, same birthday! AND i have a young cousin with the same!
    you’re a girl after my own heart, but obviously with a lot more talent!
    i love the fresh ingredients, not to mention i can make a double batch and freeze some for later in the month for an easy meal on a busy night! my family will love you for this!

    9:23 am  Jul 15th, 2008
  11. Larese

    oh, and i added some leftover (brown rice) risotto last week when i made sloppy joes from the can (first time in years, which is why i ended up googling it)… helped to bulk it up with whole grain, reduced the amount of red meat we all ate per sandwich, and the other ingredients didn’t hurt either (mushrooms, spinach) didn’t seem to affect the flavor very much, so the guys didn’t notice. 😉

    9:32 am  Jul 15th, 2008
  12. Deviled

    Oh my, I love “Manwhich” the season pack not the can. This recipe does temp me though!

    9:56 pm  Jul 29th, 2008
  13. Pumpkin Spice Cream Cheese Spread Recipe — Pinch My Salt

    […] recipes or give me suggestions.  Some of my favorite creations have happened that way (remember Jason’s Ultimate Manwich?).  So keep the ideas coming, […]

    1:25 pm  Sep 29th, 2008
  14. TheFogKing

    The chipotle makes it a Sloppy Jose, eh?? Bueno!!

    2:47 pm  Oct 1st, 2008
  15. The Seversons » Moratorium!

    […] two weeks.  Another reliable indicator is if he has six servings in one sitting, like he did with Homemade Sloppy Joes last week.  He also hasn’t stopped talking about Fish in Parchment, which he seems to think […]

    8:36 am  Oct 14th, 2008
  16. TheRoosterChick

    Now that’s some good eatin’

    7:07 pm  Nov 5th, 2009
  17. allyson

    really good, but waaaaaay too much sugar!!! i just used your recipe for a rough cut, but i used 1 1/2 lbs. of beef and maybe 2 teaspoons would have sufficed for that… still yummy, besides the too sweet…

    5:55 pm  Dec 12th, 2009
  18. joni

    i tried this and the homemade bbq recipe and i would have to say that this is the best out of the two!! i love that it is spicy and sweet at the same time. you have to taste it to understand exactly what that means! 🙂 even my 8 year old son, who HATES bbq sandwiches, LOVES this one, and even wants seconds. he told me to never make the “other stuff” (manwich in a can) and that it is “nasty”. glad that fresh, easy to make, full of vegies bbq satisfies my kids!! i don’t think i will tell them no when they request this for dinner!

    9:31 am  Apr 21st, 2010
  19. sahul hameed


    12:11 pm  Jul 28th, 2010
  20. Catherine

    I never heard of manwich but i think it is also good with pasta instead of buns.

    12:02 pm  Aug 27th, 2010
  21. Pete| From All The Best Food Processor

    Love the post. That sure is a ‘Manwhich’ of note. Not for the faint hearted. I’d like to see my brother try and eat this. He’s always telling me how much he can eat.

    1:25 pm  Jan 6th, 2011
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    […] Ultimate Manwich, just for . […]

    9:58 am  Feb 23rd, 2011
  23. Julie

    Oh boy does that manwich look absolutely delicious! Thanks for blowing my diet!

    6:06 pm  May 12th, 2011
  24. greg

    yes but take most of these ingredients and put them in an omlette and then a bit of hot sauce on top with a sprinkle of feta…. now you have breakfast.

    5:48 pm  Jun 1st, 2011
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    great food, I love spahatti and anything close to it

    3:54 am  Aug 7th, 2011
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  29. Natalie

    Can’t wait to make this for my boyfriend. He loves things like this especially where a napkin is required!

    10:42 pm  Oct 2nd, 2011
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  31. raindog

    this is fantastic, thank you so much for sharing!

    6:46 pm  Mar 9th, 2012
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