What makes sloppy joe’s crave-able, and what are the essential parts you had to keep in your version?
Hands down you have to start with great meat blended with a well-balanced, flavorful sauce. A little bit of sweetness, a little acidity, and umami from the tomatoes and Worcestershire. After that, all you really need is a sturdy, butter toasted bun that can hold the mix without becoming too soggy and falling apart. Some folks like to add other garnishes, such as pickles, but I like to keep it simple with only the meat mixture and the bun…maybe some fried onions for crunch if you’re feeling fancy. Part of sloppy joes’ appeal is its simplicity!
What makes Aussie lamb a good choice to give this dish an upgrade?
Australian ground lamb is already a familiar and widely available protein, so you aren’t going too far outside of the box. Lamb brings a perception of premium value too, so the simple swap in for lamb can bring immediate returns. Also, as we get closer to the holidays, this could be a fun way to introduce lamb in a familiar format without breaking the bank.
What kind of operator should think about menuing these, and how?
Any operation that already serves burgers or sliders is totally ready. That covers a lot of territory! I could see any casual concept with a happy hour program or bar menu offering these as a special. College campuses would make sense, and any catering context where you are looking for that sense of fun and nostalgia. You can further cross-utilize the ground lamb mixture by using it on a loaded nacho appetizer (in place of chili), or loaded fries, or as a shepherd’s pie entrée topped with fresh mashed potatoes.