Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

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Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes are made with sweet and spicy flavors that are topped off with a burst of tangy pickled vegetables.

A plate with two Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes topped with pickled cabbage and carrots and a side of sweet potato fries.

Let’s get one thing straight before I start even talking about this recipe.   I’m sure that there is nothing authentic about these Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes.   I mean, Sloppy Joes are decided American.  Korean BBQ is of course Asian.

Put the two together and you have what is called Fusion Cuisine.   This simply means taking flavors from two different cultures and putting them together to make something new.   It’s similar to the dessert mash ups that were popular several years ago.

So why the Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe?  Honestly, I saw the photo on Pinterest and just had to make it!  It looked amazing and it sounded really easy to make.

The original version was just the actual sloppy joe mixture but my husband made a comment about having Asian slaw on top of these Sloppy Joes.   I thought about it and decided a combination of pickled vegetables would go perfectly on top.


  • ground beef
  • garlic
  • ketchup
  • hoisin
  • soy sauce
  • rice vinegar
  • sriracha
  • green onions
  • burger buns
  • red wine vinegar
  • carrots
  • red onion
  • cabbage
  • sugar
  • salt
  • pepper

You can make the Sloppy Joes and the pickled vegetables simultaneously or you can make the pickled vegetables ahead of time.   I prefer to make them ahead of time because the longer they sit the better they are.

Pin Image: Two Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe Sandwiches topped with pickled vegetables and a side of sweet potato fries, text, a skillet with sloppy Joe mix in it.

To make the pickled vegetables I simply put vinegar, water, sugar, salt, and pepper in a pot and let it bowl.  Then I added in the carrots, red onion, and cabbage and boiled for a few minutes.   Remove from heat and let cool.

Once the vegetables were cooled I put them into a container and placed them in the refrigerator until I was ready to use them.   This recipe makes a lot so if you have extras these are great on top of tacos or on a salad.

To make the Sloppy Joes put the beef in a skillet and saute until browned.  Then add in all the sauce ingredients and cook until the mixture starts absorbing the sauce.

Put the mixture onto the buns and top with the pickled vegetables.  You can also top it with green onions or some spicy Sriracha mayo if you want to heat it up.

Do I have to make the pickled vegetables?

No they are totally optional.  I think the flavor of the vinegar with the vegetables is a great addition to these Sloppy Joes and it’s also a great way to add vegetables to the meal in an easy way.

Can I make these ahead of time?

You can make these up to one day ahead of time and refrigerate.  When you go to heat them up put them in a skillet with a little bit of water so that the sauce is the right consistency.

What other toppings can I add?

Raw red onions, spicy Sriracha Mayo, green onions, or crispy noodles are fun additions to these Sloppy Joes.

What if I’m low carb and don’t want to use a bun?

These are awesome inside lettuce wraps or on top of a salad with ginger dressing or a soy based dressing.

A plate with 2 Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes with a side of sweet potato fries.

So the one thing I had trouble deciding on when I made these was what to make as a side dish.  I wasn’t sure if I should go with an Asian type side or a more American type side.

We ended up having ours with spicy sweet potato fries just to make something a little different.  I thought that was a good choice and it paired well with the Sloppy Joes.

Some Asian side dishes that would work with these sandwiches would be Asian slaw, rice, or Sesame green beans.  American side dishes that would be good choices would be roasted veggies, french fries, or even onion rings.

More Sloppy Joe Recipes:

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Two Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe Sandwiches topped with pickled vegetables and a side of sweet potato fries.

Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes

Korean BBQ Sloppy Joes have a sweet and spicy flavor topped off with pickled vegetables.
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 Sloppy Joes
Calories: 540kcal
Author: Hezzi-D


For the pickled vegetables:

  • 3/4 c. red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 c. matchstick carrots
  • 2 c. cabbage thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced

For the Sloppy Joes:

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground beef
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 c.ketchup
  • 1/2 c. hoisin
  • 1/2 c. water
  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons sriracha
  • 6 burger buns


  • To make the pickled vegetables put the vinegar, water, sugar, garlic, and salt in a medium saucepan.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat. Add in the carrots, cabbage, and red onions and boil, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In a large skillet heat the beef over medium heat. Cook for 5 minutes, breaking up the pieces, until it's cooked through.
  • Add in the garlic, ketchup, hoisin, water, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sriracha and stir together.
  • Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to evaporate and the mixture because thicker and saucy.
  • Put the mixture on the buns and top with the pickled vegetables.


Recipe adapted from Dinner Then Dessert


Serving: 1g | Calories: 540kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1512mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 16g

Two Korean BBQ Sloppy Joe Sandwiches topped with pickled vegetables and a side of sweet potato fries.

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