After I discovered Sriracha in college, I was determined to increase the heat of my meals as often as possible. For those of you who don’t know what produces the heat one feels after eating a chili pepper, here’s a little science lesson. Capsaicin is the chemical compound that produces a burning sensation in the tissue of mucous membranes, or in more dilute quantities, the sensation of spice characteristic of a number of foods. The consumption of capsaicin containing foods (e.g. chili peppers or cayenne pepper) has been found to have beneficial health effects, such as regulating blood sugar levels and even prevention or treatment of some cancers. One of the first recipes that I fashioned with a capsaicin kick was a recipe for sloppy joes, a favorite childhood sandwich of mine.
The King’s Zesty Sloppy Joes
These are perfect for sloppy little sandwiches of all sizes. Put it on slider buns for an appetizer or a classic sesame seed bun for the main course.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 15 ounces tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha (or more to taste)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
Brown the ground beef on medium-high heat. When the meat has cooked, drain off excess oil, add the onions, and cook until translucent (7-8 minutes). Add the garlic and cook until fragrant. Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomato sauce, ketchup, Sriracha, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and red pepper flakes. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 20 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. If you feel that it could use a little more zest, simply add some more Sriracha. Serve on hamburger buns.