BBQ Burgers in the Slow Cooker

Sunday August 23, 2015

It seems like burgers are in vogue. Teheheheh. Summer BBQ and usually there are a few burgers on the grill. Beef, turkey, bison, lamb, crab, salmon, portobellos, even meatloaf mix. There are even an astounding library of cookbooks just on burgers now. A burger for every day of the year.

There was this recipe on the internet for burgers made in the slow cooker while I was writing Family Favorites. I had never seen anything like it before, anywhere; nor since for that matter. The burgers are shaped nice and thick, just right to fit your buns, and stacked in the cooker. Barbecue sauce is poured over and the burgers cook all afternoon.

I went to make a special from-scratch BBQ sauce, but when my sister Meg was testing, she came home from work at lunch and grabbed the bottle of BBQ sauce to save time to set up the cooker for dinner.

The bottled turned out so good, I left it as an alternative. After all there are some great bottled sauces around just in case you don’t have a jug of your own stashed in the fridge. So we left the recipe with the simplest sauce, but feel free to use your favorite homemade sauce. But you want it nice and thick.

Well the burgers turned out better than perfect. Like little individual meatloaves, savory and juicy. These are what you make when you have to feed a crowd at a picnic or a soccer field and have no grill.  Cook, then carry and serve with toasted buns since these are real saucy. Bet you can’t eat just one.

You can make with ground beef, turkey, or a combination with beef, pork, and veal meatloaf mix. These are also good cold the next day, so worry not if there are any leftovers. Stack ‘em up.


Cooker:  Large round or oval

Machine Setting and Cook Time: Low Heat: 4 to 6 hours

Serves 8


  • 2-pounds lean ground beef
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups dry Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle your favorite BBQ sauce, mild or spicy, or 2 to 3 cups homemade BBQ sauce
  • 12 soft hamburger buns–plain, egg buns, whole grain, or whole wheat–split and toasted


1. Place the ground meat in a medium mixing bowl. Add the pepper, onion, bread crumbs, and eggs. Mix well, using your hands or a large fork. Be careful not to compact the meat. Divide the meat mixture in half. Shape each portion into 6 burgers, 1-inch thick, and about the size of your bun, to make 12 burgers. Gently arrange the burgers in the crock, layering the burgers, and pouring sauce over them.

2. Cover and cook on LOW heat for 4 to 6 hours, until burgers are firm and register an internal temperature of 160º on an instant-read thermometer. Remove each burger with a plastic spatula and place on toasted buns. Serve immediately, dripping with sauce.

Excerpted from Nor Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Cookbook Family Favorites, by Beth Hensperger. (c) 2009, used by permission from the Harvard Common Press.

Text copyright Beth Hensperger 2015

Please enjoy the recipe and make it your own. If you copy the recipe and text for internet use, please include my byline and link to my site.

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