It’s a Boogaloo — and it originated in Northwest Detroit in the ‘60s

It’s a Boogaloo — and it originated in Northwest Detroit.

By Metro Times Staff

It’s not a sloppy Joe, a hoagie, a barbecue sandwich, nor a loose burger. It’s a Boogaloo — and it originated in Northwest Detroit. In the ‘60s, Brothers Bar-B-Que co-owner Jean Johnson made what is referred to as the Boogaloo, a complex spin on the traditional sloppy Joe. While the zesty Jamaican-inspired sauce is a bit of a secret, only to be revived by Detroit take-out hotspot Chef Greg’s Soul ‘n’ The Wall.


  • Sauce
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon dried mustard
  • ¾ teaspoon granulated garlic
  • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • [b]Sandwiches[/b]
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ¼ pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 medium onion (sliced thin)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 4 sub rolls (6 inches sliced lengthwise with one side intact)
  • 8 slices American cheese


  1. Directions for Sauce
  2. Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook stirring constantly until slightly thickened; set aside.
  3. Directions for sandwiches
  4. Preheat oven to 350F – oven rack in the middle position.
  5. Using the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat cook the onion and burger seasoned with the salt and pepper until liquid has evaporated and burger starts to sizzle (break burger up with a spoon as it’s cooking.) Add one cup of the prepared sauce, bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer until slightly thickened about 1 minute.
  6. Place rolls on a baking sheet and divides the meat mixture evenly over the bottom of the rolls. Top each sandwich with 2 slices of cheese. Bake until cheese has melted and sandwiches are heated through (about 5 minutes). Spread any remaining sauce over the top of each sandwich, fold, and serve hot.

%d bloggers like this: