Wimpys aka Sloppy Joes


When I was growing up, my family always called sandwiches like this Wimpys.   I’m not sure how old I was when I figured out that everyone else calls the Sloppy Joes.

When I made these, my intention was to just use a can of Manwich.  But I couldn’t find it anywhere in the grocery.  I looked in all the logical places, but no Manwich.

So, I decided to make some homemade.  This recipe is adapted from Simply Recipes.  Her recipe has ketchup and carrots.  I used chili sauce and red peppers.  Mine also has more meat, but I liked her base of seasonings although I skipped a few of the herbs and spices.  Change this up for your tastes and pantry.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Wimpys aka Sloppy Joes

Serving size: Makes 10-12 sandwiches

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 12 oz chili sauce
  • 1 Tbs. red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbs. brown sugar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • buns
  1. Brown ground beef, onion and garlic together in a large pan.
  2. Add celery and red pepper when the beef is about half way cooked. Continue cooking till beef is done.
  3. Drain and rinse beef in colander under hot water to remove grease. Return to pan.
  4. Add remaining ingredients (except buns).
  5. Heat over medium heat till hot through.
  6. Serve meat on buns.

Do you call these sandwiches Sloppy Joes, Wimpys or something else?

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  1. Sloppy Joes…An American Classic. Thanks for the recipe. I think I might try this out before the end of the New Year


  2. Wimpy’s I believe is referring to Popeye’s friend who was always eating sloppy burgers. Love the recipe.

  3. They have always been called wimpys in our family too — we only referred to them as sloppy joes if we got perplexed looks from others. Not sure if it was a reference to the Popeye character, or just the tendency of the “wimpy” buns to fall apart. I’d be curious to know if there’s a geographic or generational aspect to what the sandwich is called. Our family was from the Southern Tier of New York State, and I was born in 1968. But, my grandmother, born in Pennsylvania in 1912, also called them wimpys. I never got a chance to ask when she and others of her generation started serving them to their families, but by the time I was a kid in the 70s, they were on the dinner table about once a month in the summer, and were always a favorite among the grandkids. -Al

  4. In Richmond, IN all the local Dairy Queens (old school walk ups, no Braziers here) serve Wimpy sandwiches. Until I saw this I was sure Richmond was the only place on earth that ever called Sloppy Joes Wimpys.

    • Brian, you may be right about Richmond, IN. That’s where I grew up 🙂 We used to walk down to the Dairy Queen on 9th St. Good memories!

    • I have lived in Richmond, IN for all of my 57 1/2 years. I have eaten wimpys all my life. I won’t eat a sloppy joe. It must be a Richmond thing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I grew up in Richmond and ever time I go back to visit I have to go to DQ on S. 9th to grab a couple of wimpys.

  5. I grew up in Sturgis, SD & we always called them wimpys too. I don’t know either if referenced back to Popeye/Wimpy–in own mind that is what I think of. Wasn’t til I moved to MN did I hear them called sloppy joes. We got weird looks/ heard static from Minnesotans about never hearing them being called wimpys!

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