A big batch of sloppy joes is perfect for a party, family reunion or large gathering of any kind. This recipe is even better made in advance and is perfect reheated in a slow cooker or roaster.
Big gatherings call for big batches of food! These sloppy joe sandwiches are a perfect way to feed a crowd without a ton of effort. You could also make a big batch now and freeze it in smaller containers for quick and easy dinners later. Now that’s meal planning!
As you all know, we hosted a science birthday party for Little Dude a couple of weeks ago. It was a blast but there was a lot to keep straight between the food and the experiments.
I’ll admit that I get a bit extra when it comes to hosting a themed party. Especially when it’s for Little Dude!
This year he requested we have hot dogs on our hot dog roller. That thing really does come in handy for a party!
But I know not everyone is overly keen on hot dogs, myself included. I don’t mind one or two over a campfire a couple of times a year, but I don’t want to make meals of them regularly.
So I started thinking about what else to make. I figured it should be kid friendly and all the better if I could prep it ahead or make it in a slow cooker.
I knew we’d have our hands full with activities, so keeping the amount of time that would be spent on food during the party to a minimum was essential. That’s when it struck me.
Our friend Julie made a huge batch of sloppy joes a few years back for our friend Dana’s birthday. I remembered there being a ton and they were delicious.
Luckily she was generous enough to share the recipe. Even better, she said she thinks they taste even better if they are made ahead and reheated or even frozen ahead and reheated.
Now that is exactly what I was looking for! So I couldn’t wait to make a batch.
She sent over the recipe. It turned out she was making a batch for an event as well!
I was surprised to see a can of corned beef in the mix. I didn’t know there was such a thing.
She said I wasn’t the only one that was caught off guard for that. In fact she had once sent someone to the store for ingredients and they came back with corned beef hash.
The story is they still tasted really good but a few folks were surprised by the potatoes in the mix! 😂🤣
Luckily I was able to find canned corned beef minus the hash. It was with the other canned meats and sausages and in a rectangle can like spam.
I knew I was making a big batch, but I wasn’t quite prepared for how big. I ended up browning the ground beef in batches despite using my 5 quart Dutch oven.
So make sure to use a big soup pot or your largest dutch oven if you want to try to do it all at once! Once the meat is browned and drained, you are just a few simple ingredients away from deliciousness.
I made mine the weekend in advance and froze it. I did a few large containers for the party and several smaller ones for dinners later.
It did thaw and reheat beautifully and people kept commenting about how good they were. The meat was also delicious on top of hot dogs for those that wanted the best of both worlds.
So keep this recipe in your back pocket for your next get together. It will certainly come in handy!
Tips and variations for making big batch sloppy joes
A bit of chili powder can add a roundness to the flavor. You can add it in when you are browning the beef.
If your pot isn’t big enough for 10 pounds of beef at once, brown it in batches. The smaller amounts are easier to stir and drain anyway. Once it is cooked down, it can be combined.
I like to add a quarter cup or so of water to the beef before I brown it. It helps the final texture to be fine and less chunky.
Defrost the frozen mixture over night and then reheat it on the stove, in a slow cooker or in an electric roaster.
Serve on buns with toppings like pickles, mustard, diced onions, or slices of cheese.
Ideas for leftover sloppy joe meat:
- Stuff a baked potato with sloppy joe meat and top with cheese!
- Sprinkle meat over fries or tater tots and top with cheese. Heat until melted and eat like nachos/chili cheese fries.
- Turn it into chili.
If you like hot sandwiches as much as we do, you’ll want to check out my recipe for maid rites. You could easily scale that and serve it at a party as well.
We also like doing slow cooker chicken parmesan sandwiches. In fact I need to whip up a batch of those again soon!