BBQ Beef and Cabbage

$5.19 recipe / $1.73 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.64 from 30 votes
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Hi, my name is Beth and sometimes I eat weird things. But if ten years of blogging has taught me anything it’s that a surprising number of you also like to eat weird things. After all, getting experimental in the kitchen leads to some of the most amazing flavor discoveries! So this slightly unusual BBQ Beef and Cabbage concoction is for all of you recipe risk takers out there. I hope you find it as uniquely satisfying as I did! 

This simple skillet meal starts with one of my favorite combos, beef and cabbage, adds a sweet and tangy homemade BBQ-like sauce, and ends with creamy cheddar and fresh green onion. It’s kind of like a cross between Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry, Sloppy Joes, and my Monterey Chicken Skillet. It’s not a “pretty” dish, but it’s flavorful, very filling, and gets you a good dose of vegetables. And, if you want to stretch this meal even further, you can always serve it over cooked rice.

A skillet full of BBQ Beef and Cabbage ready to eat.

P.S. While I was editing these photos the green onion started to look like jalapeño and I had to kick myself for not thinking of adding jalapeño while I was making it. Super thinly sliced jalapeño would be absolutely KILLER on this dish! Also, this recipe is very flexible. If you want to use a whole pound of beef there should be plenty of sauce to accommodate.

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BBQ Beef and Cabbage

4.64 from 30 votes
This quick BBQ Beef and Cabbage comes together in one skillet and uses inexpensive cabbage to bulk out the meal instead of relying on pasta or rice. 
A forkful of BBQ Beef and Cabbage about to be eaten.
Servings 3 About 1.5 cups each
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 30 minutes



  • Add the olive oil and ground beef to a large skillet and cook over medium heat. Begin to break up the beef as it browns.
  • While the beef is browning, finely dice the onion. Add the onion, paprika, garlic powder, and salt to the skillet with the ground beef and continue to cook over medium heat until the onions are soft.
  • While the onions and beef are cooking, finely shred the cabbage. Once the onions are soft, add 1/4 cup water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the shredded cabbage and stir to combine. Place a lid on the skillet and let simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage has wilted.
  • Add the tomato sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, and Dijon to the skillet. Stir to combine and let simmer a few more minutes without the lid, or until the liquid in the skillet has reduced slightly. Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed (I added 1/4 tsp). 
  • Finally, top the beef and cabbage with the shredded cheddar, place the lid back on the skillet for 1-2 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Top with sliced green onions then serve.

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Serving: 1servingCalories: 314kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 24gFat: 15gSodium: 1241mgFiber: 4g
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A forkful of BBQ Beef and Cabbage about to be eaten.

How to Make BBQ Beef and Cabbage – Step by Step Photos

Browned Beef Onion and Spices

Start by browning 1/2 lb. lean ground beef in a large skillet with 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. While the beef is browning, finely dice an onion. Add the onion to the skillet along with 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp salt. Continue to cook over medium until the onions are soft.

Shredded cabbage added to cooked beef in the skillet

While the onions are cooking with the beef, shred the cabbage. You’ll need about 4-6 cups shredded, or about 1 lb. (this was 1/2 head of cabbage for me). Before adding the cabbage, add 1/4 cup water to the skillet and stir to dissolve any browned bits from the bottom, then add the cabbage and stir to combine.

Wilted Cabbage

Place a lid on the skillet and let it simmer for about five minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the cabbage is wilted. The lid is important because it holds in the steam and helps wilt the cabbage faster. 

Add BBQ Sauce Ingredients

Finally, add 8oz. tomato sauce, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp Dijon mustard. Stir to combine and let the sauce simmer for a few minutes without the lid, or until it’s not so liquidy in the bottom of the skillet.

Top Skillet with Cheddar

Taste the sauce and add more salt if needed (I added an additional 1/4 tsp). Top the skillet with 2 oz. shredded cheddar cheese, place the lid back on top, and let it heat until the cheese is melted.

Finished BBQ Beef and Cabbage Skillet

Then, top with sliced green onions just before serving. :)

A Bowl of BBQ Beef and Cabbage ready to be eaten.

What do you think? BBQ Beef and Cabbage yay or nay?

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  1. Great GF weekday meal that’s saucy and satisfying! Not sure how it fares for reheating or freezing, but there were no leftovers to test. Definitely adding into rotation for days when I’m sick of the asian beef and cabbage. I try to have a cabbage meal at least once a week during the winter, so having new options rocks 😎

  2. Definitely YAY. I loved the sweetness. I did not use the cheese and did not miss it. I served it along rice as a GF option, my kids and husband ate it with spaghetti noodles.

  3. Delicious! I’m a cabbage fan and always looking for a new recipe to use it. This was the perfect after work dinner because it came together quickly and tasted great. And it’s healthy. I will be adding this into my regular rotation. Thanks for another great recipe.

  4. I took a big chance on this and I wasn’t disappointed. I loved this! My kids loved it! My cabbage hating boyfriend liked it! Green cabbage prices are astronomical right now (eight-ish bucks for a head!) so I got a 1 lb bag of coleslaw, so mine had a few shredded carrots in it, and even saved myself having to shred a head. Absolutely will make this again!

  5. I used Napa cabbage and banana vinegar because that’s what I had on hand. I’m happy with the vinegar, but I think next time I make this I’ll go back to green cabbage – the napa cabbage gets a little too soft. (still, I enjoyed this enough that I will definitely be making it again, maybe with corn muffins to go with and soak up a little of the leftover sauce)

  6. I made this for lunch today and it was a hit! My kids said it tasted like a sweet cheeseburger in a bowl.

  7. Hi Beth! I like weird food too. Can’t wait to try this for dinner tonight. Do you think it would freeze well? Do you have a list of recipes that would? Looking to start freezer prepping for when my next baby is due. Thanks!!

    1. I’m not sure this one would be the best for freezing. I feel like the cabbage would get too soft and watery. I don’t have a list of recipes that are best for freezing since it can often times be very subjective. Some people are more sensitive to the flavor and texture changes than others. :)

  8. I really enjoyed this. I tried it twice, using full pound of extra lean both times. The second time was easy better because i skipped the water. Cabbage has enough water and skipping the extra makes the sauce way more flavorful.
    Also, i used sharp cheddar. Very yummy great recipe!