Cincinnati Chili-Inspired Sloppy Joes

1 1/4 lb ground beef
28 oz canned crushed tomato
14 oz canned dark red kidney beans, drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 tablespoon chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt

To serve:
seeded, sturdy rolls
shredded cheddar
chopped raw onion


In a large skillet saute onion, garlic, ground beef, and chili powder until ground beef is slightly browned. Drain off any excess fat. Add all of the remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally or until most of the liquid is absorbed or evaporated but the mixture is still a little runny. Ladle on to rolls, top with onion and cheese.

My thoughts:

I always enjoy Cincinnati Chili. I know it is one of the more controversial chilis out there since it basically an unusually flavored meat sauce and served on spaghetti but it is oddly satisfying. I’ve made a few versions over the years- traditional Cincinnati Chili, a slow cooker version that is great for weeknights (just ladle it over some hot spaghetti and top with the traditional kidney beans, onion, cheese and serve) then I got creative and made Cincinnati Chili Mac and Cincinnati Chili Dogs. This is another homage– a mix of retro fave sloppy joes and the Mediterranean-spiced chili. I tossed the beans into the meat mixture vs using them as a topping for ease of serving (and eating!) and reduced the cooking time a bit so it works better as a sloppy joe. The result is an oddly satisfying sandwich! Quicker and easier than traditional Cincinnati Chili but just as flavorful.

Protip: Use sturdy rolls! The first rolls I tried had a thinner bottom half and things got messy, quick!

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