Avoid Sloppy Joe Spills At Your Backyard BBQ By Using Hot Dog Buns

Usually, backyard barbecues, by their very nature, feature foods that can be cooked outdoors over a grill such as hot dogs, hamburgers, or even steaks if you're feeling fancy. (Or cabbage steaks, if you're feeling vegan.) One might argue that cooking the food outdoors is part of what separates a barbecue from a picnic. That being said, barbecues often offer sides, desserts, and other dishes that are prepped in the kitchen, so it's possible that you might want to offer an alternate main course – and why shouldn't it be sloppy Joes? Sure, most people stop eating them once they're no longer dining in at the elementary school cafeteria, but backyard get-togethers do tend to bring out the nostalgia in people. If you'd like to make your Joe a bit less sloppy, though, here's a tip: Use hot dog buns instead of hamburger ones.

The main reason hot dog buns make for a neater eating experience (less chance of staining the grass!) is that they are only semi-detached and there's a bread "hinge" at the back of the bun holding them together. Hamburger buns, on the other hand, are separated, which lends credence to the fact that a hamburger is indeed a sandwich even if hot dogs fall into a grey (poupon) area. What this means for sloppy Joes (which are definitely sandwiches) is that if you serve them in hot dog buns and keep the hinged part down, the filling stays contained rather than falling out on all sides.

Try it as a hot dog topper

If you think about what goes into sloppy Joe mix, though — as a refresher, here's our 30-minute sloppy Joe recipe — it's basically ground beef cooked in a mildly seasoned tomato sauce with maybe some onions and bell peppers. Well, isn't that basically a non-spicy version of hot dog chili? We have a recipe for this too, and if you compare the two, you'll see that apart from the cayenne, chiles, and hot sauce in the latter, they're really not too different. This means that if you're not particularly partial to peppers, you could always use the former in place of the latter.

If you're using sloppy Joe "chili" on your hot dogs, there's all the more reason to use hot dog buns, since only an elongated bun will fit a similarly-shaped sausage. Still, if you want an even neater eating solution that'll take the sloppy right out of those Joe dogs, you can ditch the buns altogether and wrap them in flour tortillas large enough to encase both wiener and topping.