Easy Cowboy Joes for a Fast Dinner

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Cowboy Joes


Cowboy Joes vs Sloppy Joes

There are a few recipes that my family asks for over and over again.  Cowboy Joes is one of them.  Tangy and delectable, everyone in the family loves their favorite barbecue sauce mixed in this great dish that is similar to Sloppy Joes, but with a twang of country!  What also sets Cowboy Joes apart from its well-known cousin is that instead of serving it over a hamburger roll, I spoon it over crispy crunch tater tots!  The kids love that they can pick it up with their fingers and I love skipping the squishy white rolls.  Cowboy Joes are a great way to change up dinner.

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Cowboy Joes in a Flash…Or a Slow Cooker

There are two ways I make up Cowboy Joes.  On the spot, for a fast dinner, or I’ll make them up ahead of time and keep them warm in a slow cooker on low.  I love using the slow cooker as it infuses the flavor of the barbecue sauce even deeper into the meat, making the savory dish perfect.  Either way, it’s an easy dinner that is ready in a few minutes and keeps the kids happy.  I start with lean ground beef and our favorite barbecue sauce.  I found one that’s made with real sugar instead of corn syrup, and it has an amazing flavor.  You can add some onions if you like, and even garlic if it goes well with your barbecue sauce to add a bit of a zing.


Easy Cowboy Joes for a Fast Dinner

Easy Cowboy Joes for a Fast Dinner


  • 2 lbs lean ground beef
  • 1 jar barbecue sauce
  • 1 bag tater tots


  1. Bake the tater tots according to the package directions, cooking them a little extra to make them crispy.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the ground beef. Drain.
  3. Add the barbecue sauce and stir well, simmering an additional 10 minutes. (You can put the meat mixture in the slow cooker at this point and keep it hot up to 4 hours)
  4. To serve, place the tater tots in a shallow bowl. Spoon the barbecue beef over the top. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.
  5. Serve hot.

Cowboy Joes as Leftovers

I love Cowboy Joes as leftovers.  They are great over reheated tater tots, or occasionally over toast or even those dreaded white squishy hamburger rolls.  The meat works great in the microwave and warms well, filling the house or office with the wonderful sweet smell of barbecue.  Change up dinner with something fresh and make Cowboy Joes for your family.

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