Bison Sloppy Joes and where I stand on the Great Canadian Ketchup debate.

In our house, with the world's pickiest 6 year old, ketchup is not a mere condiment. In fact, I would go so far as to say that without it, there would be a halt on any further attempt to have him (at least!) try a new food. This guy eats ketchup with his ketchup. Ketchup is a standard must-have in this kitchen, like eggs, bread and milk. Heinz ketchup. Only Heinz. In fact, at a restaurant that servers any other brand, there is some bottle turning in order to hide the fact that it isn't Heinz (the horror!). Picky pants will immediately point out his distaste for this red sauce that clearly doesn't deserve to be called ketchup. Without its glorious red puddle on his plate, I think he might starve (not really). So when the ketchup controversy came up in February, I have to admit, I was skeptical. I am the type of person who likes to take a stab at making things from scratch just for the sake of it.  But not ketchup. I always thought, Heinz has hit the pinnacle with their recipe so why bother?  I use ketchup as an ingredient in some things such as cocktail sauce or Sloppy Joes (more on that later) but most importantly, I use ketchup so my picky kid will eat the food I put in front of him.

I try to use my consumer dollars to support local and Canadian businesses and farmers as often as I can so this French's vs. Heinz debate had me in a dilema. Do I support my Canadian farmers on one hand and by doing so, give up the familiar taste that has become a staple in this house? I thought I would pass and carry on buying Heinz. I couldn't take the risk that this new French's ketchup would ruin my kid's life (not really) by being anything but Heinz. I decided I was staying out of the ketchup war. The risks were too high for me. 

A few weeks ago, I was shopping at Foodland in Mount Albert and naturally, ketchup was on my list. I stood there and looked at the French's bottle beside the Heinz bottle and thought, what the hell, I'll buy both just to try it. All the articles and posts about French's seemed to indicate that not only was it good, it was better than Heinz. That sounded blasphemous to me but okay, let's do this. 

Less cloying sweetness and more seasoning. French's ketchup is way better than Heinz.  There, I said it. I would choose it all day long over Heinz based on taste alone. I'd pay more for it, if it came down to it. But we aren't talking about me now, are we? No, we have to pass the Mr. Picky Pants test. A plate of fries and a lake of French's ketchup later and we have a pass. He didn't even mention the switch out. Whew! French's wins, hands down.

I am in no way saying that I wouldn't buy Heinz if French's is sold out or unavailable. I have my limits. However, if you haven't tried the taste test yet, you are missing out. Sending out the love to my Canadian farmers feels great too.

Today at Zehrs in Uxbridge.  French's gone and Heinz on sale. Huh. When you see it, buy it.

Today at Zehrs in Uxbridge.  French's gone and Heinz on sale. Huh. When you see it, buy it.

Since I have ketchup on the brain, I thought I'd share my recipe for Bison Sloppy Joes. I love using bison in place of beef. Not only is bison less fatty than beef, it has such a rich flavour. Delicious in any dish calling for ground beef. Here are a few things to consider about bison:

  • Bison more commonly graze on grasses for food while cows are usually grain-fed

  • Bison meat is more likely to be organic than beef; industry regulations don’t permit routine antibiotic or hormone use in bison while cattle are often given such treatment and supplements

  • Bison tends to cost more than beef (#worthit)

  • Bison cooks faster than beef due to its lower fat content

  • Bison is lower in fat and higher in protein than beef

  • Bison contains more magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc, and vitamin E than beef

For more on the differences between bison and beef, click here.

Personally, I think bison tastes richer and more flavourful than beef but, by all means, if you have a pound of ground beef hanging around, feel free to swap it out in this recipe.



Bison Sloppy Joes


1 pound of ground bison

1/2 cup of tomato sauce

1/4 cup of Ketchup (French's? Okay, I'm done now)

1/4 cup beef stock

1/3 cup minced celery

1/3 cup minced red or green bell pepper

1/3 cup minced onion

4 cloves crushed garlic

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 tbsp. Worchestire sauce

1 tsp. each salt and pepper (more or less to taste)


Heat a frying pan to medium high. Add oil, bison, peppers, onion and garlic.  Break apart until bison is mostly brown, add tomato sauce, beef stock, ketchup, worchestire sauce, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to simmer, uncovered until liquid has reduced to desired consistency. 

Pile on top of a bun either open faced or closed.  I use a more substantial bun like sour dough or ciabatta so it doesn't fall completely apart when you are eating it.  Be sure to have a fork handy to clear up the drippings on the plate and a stack of napkins. It isn't called Sloppy for nothing! :)



Laura Reybroek