This Cast Iron Sloppy Joe Recipe is easy to make, keto-friendly, and perfect for camping. Just 15 minutes of prep for a thick and hearty meat sauce smothered over fluffy baked potatoes.
This recipe was originally created for the Idaho Potato Council. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Also, this recipe rocks.
I bet we all have a memory associated with a can of Manwich and a soft bun. I definitely do, which is exactly what sparked this recipe idea. Someone recently mentioned to me the idea of recreating “cafeteria” favorites. I decided to run with that and make a batch of homemade sloppy joes. But instead of creating a standard stovetop recipe, I decided to make this one a campfire recipe!
Turns out that “cafeteria food” is still pretty damn good…especially when made from scratch.
What you need to make this recipe
This campfire sloppy joe recipe is made up of an easy ingredient list that’s perfect for a camping trip.
- Potatoes – make sure to grab four even-sized Idaho potatoes. I prefer russets for baking.
- Olive Oil
- Bacon – cut into 1” pieces.
- Green Pepper and Red Pepper
- Over Easy Spice Blend
- Ancho Chili Powder
- Ground Beef
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Crispy Onions – for topping, if desired.
How to make cast iron sloppy joes
You can prepare the sloppy joe filling at home on the stovetop ahead of time or you can cook it over the campfire or on a propane camp stove.
All you need is a cutting board, aluminum foil, and one cast iron skillet from start to finish for this one!
Cook the potatoes
Wash and dry the potatoes, then poke with a fork and wrap each potato separately in foil.
Place the potatoes over well-maintained embers and cook, rotating every 10-15 minutes.
After 25 minutes, carefully remove the potatoes from the fire and place them onto a baking tray.
Allow them to sit for 5 minutes before carefully peeling back the foil. Brush with oil and season with salt.
Wrap the potatoes again and return to the fire to cook for another 25-30 minutes.
Make the sloppy joes
Place a large cast-iron skillet over the fire and allow it to preheat.
Add the bacon and cook, stirring often until crispy.
Mix in the onions, red peppers, and green peppers. Season with a pinch of salt and sauté until soft. Add in the minced jalapeño and cook for 30 seconds longer.
Add the spices: cumin, Over Easy, paprika, and Ancho chili powder and stir to coat the onion mixture.
Mix in the ground beef and cook for 10-15 minutes, until evenly browned.
Add the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce and stir to combine, then allow the mixture to simmer over the fire for 10-15 minutes to thicken.
Carefully open each foil-wrapped potato, then cut a line in ⅔ of the way through the center of the potato.
Fluff with a fork to break it up, then spoon heaping portions of the sloppy joe mixture and top. Garnish with crispy onions, if desired.
Tips, tricks, and notes for this recipe:
- Make the filling ahead of time then reheat it in a cast-iron skillet over indirect heat on a campfire, in a pan on the range over low heat, or in the microwave in short bursts. Filling will last up to 3 days in the fridge.
- Measure your spices ahead of time and pack the spice blend in pre-mixed baggies or reusable jars.
- Prep your veggies and garlic (slice and mince) beforehand and store them in resealable containers.
- Chop the bacon at home, then pack it up so it’s ready to go. This makes for easier prep and much easier cleanup.
- Use leftovers over skillet eggs in the morning for breakfast with a side of cast iron chorizo o’brien hash.
Ok, don’t have a campfire but still want epic sloppy joes? This recipe works at home too right on a regular cooktop or over any grill (It just happens to be fun to cook while camping, but I’m biased).
How to serve this cast iron sloppy joe
I love to serve the sloppy joe filling over fluffy baked potatoes and topped with crispy onions!
If you’re not a fan of baked potatoes, feel free to serve it on a traditional bun with a side of french fries or potato salad, over the top of french fries for a fun twist on chili fries, or even in taco shells with a sprinkle of taco seasoning mixed into the filling.
How to store
Leftover sloppy joe filling will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. If you have access to a freezer it will freeze for up to 6 months.
Want more camp recipe inspiration? Try some of my favorite recipes
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Cast Iron Sloppy Joe Baked Potatoes
- 10-12″ Cast Iron Skillet or other oven safe skillet
- Reynolds Wrap® Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- 4 Idaho® potatoes russets
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- ¼ lbs Bacon cut ito 1” pieces
- ½ Onion chopped
- ½ Green pepper chopped
- ½ Red pepper chopped
- 1 jalapeno seeded, stemmed and minced
- 3 cloves Garlic minced
- 1 tbsp Cumin
- 1 tbsp Girl Carnivore Over Easy Spice Blend
- ½ tsp paprika
- ½ tsp Ancho chili powder
- 1 lbs ground beef
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1 tbsp Mustard
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- Crispy onions for topping
Cook the Potatoes
- Wash and dry the potatoes. Poke with the tines of a fork and wrap each potato in foil.
- Place the potatoes over well-maintained embers and cook, rotating every 10-15 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, carefully remove the potatoes from the fire and place them onto a baking tray.
- Allow the potatoes to sit for 5 minutes before carefully peeling back the foil.
- Brush with oil and season with salt.
- Wrap the potatoes again and return to the fire to cook until tender, about 25-30 more minutes, depending on the heat of your campfire.
Make the Sloppy Joes
- Place a large cast-iron skillet over the fire and allow it to preheat.
- Add the bacon and cook, stirring often until crispy.
- Add the onions and red and green peppers, season with a pinch of salt, and saute until soft, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the minced jalapeno and cook 3 minutes longer.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds longer.
- Add the cumin, Over Easy, paprika, and Ancho chili powder and stir to coat the onion mixture.
- Add the ground beef and cook, 10 to 15 minutes, until evenly browned.
- Add the ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire and stir to combine.
- Allow the mixture to come to a simmer over the fire and cook down for 10 to 15 minutes.
Assemble the potatoes
- Carefully open each foil-wrapped baked potato.
- Cut a line in ⅔ of the way through the center of the potato and fluff the potato with a fork to break up.
- Spoon heaping portions of the Sloppy Joe mixture on top and garnish with crispy onions if desired.