Sloppy Frisco Jo Melts

      OK, so this week I spent a lot of time in the lab (what I call my kitchen) to come up with this weeks recipe. One of our many goals on The Common Chef is to come up with new and exciting ways of preparing our normal everyday meals. After my last blog post I felt that I was lacking some what in the creativity department and so I set off looking for inspiration as to my next venture.

     Through out the week while filming our next episode Chris, PC, and I were constantly cracking jokes and bouncing ideas off one another. It was during this process that I came up with my newest creation. This week I decided to take two American Classics and attempt to combine them together. On one hand I have the scrumptious Frisco Melt, a consistent favorite sandwich of mine when I go out for lunch. And on the other hand there is the one and only Sloppy Jo. An icon of lunchrooms and kids sleep overs all throughout America.

     After having some Sloppy Jo’s with my son I took a good look at the ingredients for both sandwiches and began formulating my plan. As many of you Foodies out there know the Frisco Melt is a delicious patty melt with it’s defining characteristic being that the sandwich is adorned with a hardy slather of Thousand Island dressing. Finishing up with a slice of creamy Swiss cheese melted all the way through.

     Sloppy Jo’s are a loose meat sandwich where the hamburger meat is cooking in with a tomato or chile sauce filled with a verity of herbs and spices. Not that complicated to make thus giving this dish its mass appeal for families all over America. I was surprised to find out while talking to other people about this sandwich that Sloppy Jo’s have a culture unto itself that parallels the fanaticism of Bar-B-Q in many ways. With all the people I spoke to, all seemed to have there own secret Sloppy Jo recipe or their little secret ingredient that make their particular sandwich the best there is. Well that is what we love to see at The Common Chef, people that are passionate and have a deep connection to their food.

     Now before I go any further I like to state for the record that this recipe is still a work in progress and I need your help to perfect it. I will in time re-post a new and improved version of the recipe once I get some suggestions and feedback as to what needs to be fixed. This was my first attempt and I was happy with the results. It was a good starting point. So please try the recipe and add you own personality to the dish and send it back to me. I will try it out and who knows you may be featured on the show!

      What you will need. I always like to get all my ingredients ready and portioned before I actually start cooking. This way you don’t run into any time delay problems when it comes to adding an ingredient at the exact time.



  • 1 or ½ pound ground chuck or steak. 80/20 fat content.
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream or ½ & ½
  • 1 can tomato past
  • ½ cup diced onion (red or white)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 4 tablespoons pickle relish
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chives
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon chili powder
  • slices of toasted bread either garlic bread or Texas toast
  • Grated Swiss Cheese

So to get down to business, I didn’t just want to heat up some Thousand Island dressing and cook some hamburger in it (Although I will try this later). Instead what I decided on doing was to try and recreate the Thousand Island flavor in a thinner sauce and cook the meat in it. The biggest hurdle was to try and find a way to replace the creaminess of the Mayonnaise but not lose any of the tartness that the Mayo adds.

I started out by making a Tomato Cream Sauce, and added the in the other varied ingredients that make up Thousand Island dressing. 

  1. Reduce down 2 cups of chicken stock to ½ cup.
  2. While the chicken stock is reducing, dice up an Onion and add about ½ cup to the stock.

Once this is done set the reduced stock aside for later. Next,

  1. Heat up 1 cup of heavy cream or half & half under Med to High heat making sure to stir the cream to prevent it from boiling over or curdling.
  2. Add in 1 tablespoon of butter, salt and pepper for taste.
  1. Once the cream has reduced down to about ½ a cup add the reduced chicken stock along with 1 can of tomato paste altogether in a large sauce pan and stir till thoroughly mixed.
  2. Raise the heat to high and add a ½ pound of ground chuck or steak to the sauce and stir continuously till the meat is completely broken up and cooked.

While the meat is cooking in the sauce add in the remaining ingredients giving them ample time to rehydrate and add their own flavors to the sauce.

  1. Add in about 4 tablespoons of minced pickled relish
  2. 2 tablespoons fresh parsley.
  3. 2 tablespoons fresh chives.
  4. 1 hard boiled egg diced up.
  5. 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  6. ½ tablespoon of chili powder
  7. salt and pepper to taste.

You don’t want the sauce to be to thick so I also added in a few diced tomatoes along with some juice from the can. Again this is an attempt to get that same Thousand Island flavor and I think I have the tomato/chili side nailed down. But it is that creamy yet tart side that the mayonnaise brings that is the tricky part. Once all the ingredients have been added and the meat is cooked all the way, spoon a generous scoop on to a piece of Texas Toast garlic bread and top with some grated Swiss cheese. Give the cheese some time to melt and enjoy. 

So there you have it, my first attempt at a “Sloppy Frisco Jo Melt”. Please give it a try and experiment with your own ingredients and techniques. If you think you have improved on this recipe at all leave me a comment and I will give it a try. I will revisit this recipe again in the future to show any improvement.

Thanks again and feed you next time!


  1. Hello Alex,

    I enjoyed talking with you at Riley’s Pub last Friday night! Thank you for telling me about your show “The Common Chef”. I’m now watching the episodes on the website.

    I enclosed a link to the meetup group that I organize along with several other people, the Ocala Social and Hiking Group. We’re planning another camping trip! Maybe you will like to join us sometime.

    Hope you are having a good night. Please feel free to write to me anytime.

    Best regards,


    • Hello Linda,

      Thank you so much for watching the show, and telling all your friends! I had a great time at Riley’s Pub and it was a pleasure talking with you. I will see you next time. We should have a new episode up soon so make you stay tuned and remember to enter our recipe contest!

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