Hula Joes


For years I have tried to like sloppy joes and have never managed to succeed. I would make them for dinner, take two bites and then not want to eat anymore. I tried toasting the bun and adding cheese, thinking it would help, but it maybe got me to 4 bites before I decided I couldn't eat any more of it. No matter what recipe I used, I always found them to be too saucy, too tomato-y and just not pleasant enough to really enjoy.

As I've mentioned before, ground pork has been on sale at the grocery store for extremely low prices and I have a habit of buying things in bulk. With 4+ packages of the ground pork in the freezer, I knew I needed to find recipes to use it up.

When I came across this one, I hesitated, knowing it was a variety of the sloppy joe and how that typically ended for me, but after reading the ingredients I decided it was just different enough that I could give it  a try. Honestly, it was the pineapple that convinced me. In case you hadn't figured it out, the Hula Joe is the Sloppy Joe's cousin from Hawaii.

Hula Joes
Source: Taste and Tell
Servings: 4-6
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    • 1/4 lb. bacon, diced
    • 1 lb. lean ground pork
    • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 8 oz. tomato sauce 
    • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
    • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 cup canned pineapple, diced
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • hamburger buns
    • shredded cheddar cheese
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel and pat off excess grease.
2. Add the onion to the skillet and cook in the bacon grease for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Then add the pork and cook until browned, breaking into crumbles with a spatula or wooden spoon, around 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce.
4. Drain the grease from the skillet, then pour in the sauce. Stir in the pineapple and bacon and stir until coated. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer, the meat absorbing the sauce.
5. Toast the hamburger buns in a toaster oven or under the broiler.
6. Divide the meat mixture between the hamburger buns and top with some shredded cheese. Serve immediately.

I liked it! I even ate two sandwiches! I'm guessing the combination of the pineapple and bacon and using pork instead of beef is what made the difference for it. Granted, it's not going to replace my favorite meal or anything, but I love that I have another quickly made dish to use up that ground pork. 

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