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Kid-friendly Sloppy Joes

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Recipes can be a sacred thing.

Garrett Shoop has worked to perfect his chili recipe for the last eight years. In fact, despite being the reigning champion of the College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences Golden Crockpot competition, he is still tweaking it.

“He tweaks it all the time,” laughs Shoop’s wife Caisa, an adviser in the college. 

“The base is constant,” he insists.

Caisa, typically the baker of the pair, gives Garrett full range of the kitchen on chili nights. She doesn’t even touch the cornbread. And because Garrett doesn’t write down his recipe, the final product is somewhat of a mystery.

Garrett has tried adding (then subtracting) bacon, refined his spice selection – go easy on the cumin – and discovered the order he prefers cooking the ingredients for maximum flavor. But for Garrett, the key is continued experimentation.

“Try something different – some different spice, some cumin, some cinnamon. Maybe a little brown sugar,” he advises. “It can be a versatile thing … It all depends. Just do what you like.”

What is clear, is settling on a meal that their kids will eat. And that recipe is no secret: sloppy Joe’s.

Anytime Sloppy Joe’s


  • 1 lb ground beef
  • ½ yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1-2 T of yellow mustard
  • 1 T Worcestershire sauce
  • ½ cup brown sugar


  • Brown the beef and then sauté it with the onion and garlic
  • Mix the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce with the brown sugar over medium heat until smooth. Combine with meat.
  • Serve on a bun with a slice of cheese.
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