It’s official: we have a Slow Cooker recipe category. And a Pinterest page dedicated to the craft. Plus, I have a promise to make to you: I will not post gluten free slow cooker recipes that require much prep work before piling the ingredients into the liner and setting the crock to “low” or “high.” In fact, most of them won’t require any stovetop preparation. Even these slow cooker gluten free sloppy joes. Yup. There’s ground beef in them, but you don’t brown it first on the stovetop. That’s right. No browning. Radical? Nah.
P.S. Please serve these at least once on buns. They’re sloppy and messy just like they ought to be and we have so many gluten free bun recipes (Hawaiian buns from Bakes Bread! Hamburger buns from Bakes Bread! Soft Paleo rolls!) here on the blog that there’s something for everyone.
Here’s the secret: you have to use extra-lean ground beef. If you use ground beef (or even ground turkey) that’s at least 93% lean (96% is even better), there’s absolutely no need to brown the beef before tossing everything in there. Browning the ground beef would serve only two possible purposes: first, allowing you to drain off much of the grease (no need when you use extra-lean), and second, adding more flavor to the beef (that subtle flavor would get lost in sloppy joes anyway).
I have made this recipe with all sorts of beef and meat combinations: 2 pounds straight-up extra lean ground beef (personal favorite), a combination of ground pork and extra-lean ground beef, a combination of ground beef and ground turkey, a ground ground turkey and ground chicken, and all ground turkey. It works beautifully any which way, but if you do all ground chicken or all ground turkey, add a tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
Most of the time, I serve it on buns. But everyone always wants more of the sloppy joes mixture, so sometimes I just serve it over brown rice. Either way, it’s super easy and packed with flavor. Dinner success!