A Pueblo Native’s Slopper Recipe Based on the Legendary Pueblo Slopper
This isn’t just any Slopper recipe. I’m talking about my Slopper recipe which is based on the legendary Pueblo Slopper. If you aren’t already salivating from that news, then I need to introduce you to this mouth-watering dish. You see, I grew up just outside Pueblo, Colorado, the home of the legendary Pueblo Slopper, and the origins of any true Slopper recipe. So take it from me, a proper Pueblo native (although I’ve since gone rogue to Spain), if you like comfort food, you’re going to love my Slopper recipe.
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A Slopper Should Be A Work of Art
A chef/food enthusiast I was recently listening to mentioned that cooking is an art. I could not agree more. He explained why it can be the ultimate creative expression. Compared to other art forms, a great food dish can involve all our primary senses: sight, scent, texture (feel), even sound, and of course taste.
Often times when we experience “comfort food” we have an emotion or feeling about what we are eating. Do you get where this is leading? The Slopper recipe deliciously encompasses all these senses in the best of ways. And for me, it is a throwback dish that is truly a masterpiece.
Essentially, a Slopper is an open-faced cheeseburger smothered in green chili. It was first created in Pueblo, Colorado in the 1950s (although some say it was the 1970s). Anybody can make a cheeseburger (that’s another recipe), but the green chili (and, sorry, but that’s another recipe too) is what makes this dish. Keep in mind that Pueblo, Colorado is renowned for its dynamite Pueblo chiles (not to be confused with Hatch chiles), which in turn makes for the best green chili sauce, in my opinion.
A Slopper Recipe With Some History
Above Image – Yep, that’s me in high school.
It was back in my high school days in Pueblo when I first experienced what has since been labeled the Pueblo Slopper. Yeah, the name sounds very lunch-lady-like. And let’s get one thing straight – it is not a Sloppy Joe (nor to be compared to one). But once you try a well made Slopper, you’ll never associate the dish with cafeteria food or a Sloppy Joe.
In Pueblo, Colorado there are some pretty heated rivalries over the Slopper. Like, who was the first to create it? What was the inspiration? I went on a Slopper excursion (aka, Slopper hop) several years ago with some friends and found the Slopper to be alive and thriving in my old haunts in Pueblo. But it was Grey’s Coors Tavern where I first experienced this incredible dish while growing up.
Above Image – My homemade green chile.
It’s no surprise that I tend to believe that Grey’s is the origin of the Pueblo Slopper. It was there that it was imaginatively thought up and requested by their regular patron, Herb Casebeer. Talk about being a great regular.
Here’s the thing, the Slopper recipe is so simple you can make your own with a little creativity (and even if you don’t have Pueblo Chiles). This is the first time I have tried to make it in Spain and it turned out pretty dang good. However, a key thing that was missing was the combination of Pueblo chiles and Big Jim green chiles, which make the Slopper taste the way it does in Pueblo. But hey, it came close.
READ MORE: 26 Great Reasons To Live In Spain
A Slopper Recipe You Can Make Your Own
Let me break the Slopper recipe down for you. You can really have fun with it and do your own variation depending on your preference of ingredients. I heard of people using chicken, turkey, or even pork sausage for their cheeseburgers, but I prefer really good sourced beef. Or, grilled American bison, if you dare. The cheeseburger should be chargrilled on a hot open flame.
For this Slopper recipe, I used American imported Black Angus beef. I do like the Spanish version as well, but I couldn’t get to our favorite butcher (such is the case for many lockdown recipes). Sometimes in Spain, they have a tendency to over-grind the beef and it can get a little “rubbery” and dense, so if you’re in Europe ask a butcher to grind it just once. I added some sea salt, pepper Worcestershire or organic soy sauces, and dried garlic to my beef paddies before grilling them with onion.
For the bread, I used fresh Spelt bread. When you grill the bread it gets really crispy, especially Spelt bread because it has a low moisture point. While that was happening on the grill I heated up my homemade green chili I had made the day before. I also started my potatoes in the air fryer to do a side of patatas bravas (fried hand-cut potato wedges). I had already sliced my tomatoes, lettuce, other garnishes, and shredded some cheese earlier so I was ready to go when it came time to plate.
This Slopper Recipe Has Got The Look
And yes, plating is important, especially with this dish. I used small terracotta dishes. First, I added some chili for the base, then a slice of the toasted bread, a small handful of cheese sprinkled evenly on the bread, and then the meat patty. Finally, the most important step is to then slop on more green chili. Top it all off with another sprinkle of cheese and your garnishes around the edges. I also recommend a dollop of a Mexican salsa and a chipotle sour cream.
When you sit down to eat the Slopper, the beef, cheese, and crunchiness of the bread, all slopped with green chili, is just so freakin’ good. And really, you gotta wash it down with a cold, local beer. It reminds me of so many things that were unique about growing up on a farm just outside the small town of Pueblo, Colorado.
This was not technically a Pueblo Slopper but aye, Dios mío it was the best in Spain, if not this side of the Atlantic, and definitely a crave-worthy throwback! Besides, I made it, and it’s where that saying comes in handy… you can take the boy out of Pueblo, but you can’t take Pueblo out of the boy.
So that you can also disfrutar (enjoy), here is my Slopper recipe based on the legendary Pueblo Slopper.
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Slopper Recipe Based on the Pueblo Slopper
- 1/2 lb ground beef Formed into 2 patties
- 2 lbs pork green chili For the slopping. More can be used.
- 4-5 small vine tomatoes
- 4 slices onion For grilling with the beef.
- 2 garlic cloves For grilling with the beef.
- 1 small loaf of spelt bread
- 3 leaves of romain lettuce Chopped.
- 1 cup grated aged white cheddar
- 1 cup grated regular cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 1/2 cup chipotle sour cream Greek yogurt can be used as a substitute if you make this yourself.
- 1/2 cup Mexican salsa
- Get things prepped by slicing your tomatoes and lettuce, and grate your two kinds of cheese.
- Season and form your beef patties as you prefer. I added some sea salt, pepper, Worcestershire or organic soy sauces, and dried garlic.
- Slice your bread for your hamburger buns and drizzle with olive oil.
- Get your green chili heating up on the stove (this is another recipe for another time).
- Then grill your beef patties (to your preference) along with the onion, garlic cloves, and bread. Make sure they're chargrilled on a hot open flame.
- While the grill is going and the green chili is heating up, you can make some sides. I made some 'patatas bravas' (hand-cut potato wedges) in the air fryer.
- Once you're done grilling, it's time to plate. I recommend a type of shallow bowl. I used small terracota dishes. First, add some of the green chili for the base, then a slice of the toasted bread, then a small handful of the cheese spread evenly, and then the meat centered on top. Now the most important part, pour on more green chili and then sprinkle with more cheese.
- Garnish with the romaine lettuce, grilled onions, sliced black olives, sliced tomatoes, and a dollop of both sauces. Avocado is also great, although I wasn't able to get any for this recipe. If you like really hot and spicy, have your favorite hot sauce ready on the table, or make sure you make your green chili with some kick.
- I highly recommend savoring this dish with a locally-sourced, cold, hoppy beer.