Barbequed hamburger (aka Sloppy Joes) - bbq hamburger - bbq hamburger

Fall in our household is always a busy time, filled with activities and family running off in different directions. We try and eat at least one meal a day together, but sometimes you need a quick option.

Barbequed hamburger is one of my favorite meals from my childhood. It’s as quick to throw together as any casserole or skillet meal and is easily frozen for future meals. We often make this ahead in double-batches and place in a slow-cooker for parties.

I’m giving credit for this recipe to my mother, Carol. Some people may call these sloppy joe sandwiches, but the flavor is a bit different – and one I prefer over regular sloppy joes. - bbq hamburger - cooking the hamburger

The recipe is simple. I chop the onions and place that along with the burger in a large skillet pan.

While that is cooking you can chop the celery – which I have to say, is totally optional and we often leave out of the recipe. Partly because we aren’t big fans of celery and also because we often don’t have it in the house (see the first reason). - bbq hamburger - sauce

Then, I take a large measuring cup or small bowl and combine all the other ingredients: ketchup, brown sugar, water, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, dry mustard and vinegar. The only reason I put in a measuring cup is just for ease of pouring later, but it’s not necessary. I also have tiny whisks that work nicely in the measuring cups to get all the ingredients combined.

Let the sauce rest while the beef is cooking. - bbq hamburger - sauce in pan

Once the burger is completely cooked and the onions are softened, add the celery and the sauce ingredients to the pan. Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. - bbq hamburger - closeup

There will still be quite a bit of liquid left when you are finished cooking. - bbq hamburger on bun

The only other step is to put the barbequed hamburger on a bun … and enjoy! I can’t bear to eat them without a pickle on the side. It must be the lemon and vinegar in the recipe 🙂

Barbequed hamburger (aka Sloppy Joes)

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Servings: 15 – 20 sandwiches


  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1/3 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard


  • Slowly brown the beef and onion in a large skillet or heavy 3-quart sauce pan. Drain off any fat. Add rest of ingredients and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes.

3 Replies to “Barbequed hamburger (aka Sloppy Joes)”

  1. My mouth is watering! Do you only use the crockpot to keep it warm, after cooking on the stove?
    Or can you make it right in the crock?
    I need to start using my crockpot regularly again, so there will always be something good and healthy, ready to eat. I’m getting way too snacky lately, because I am just so tired when I come in.

    1. I’ve never attempted to brown/cook burger in the crockpot, but I’ve heard it’s possible. If you know how, you could easily make it right in the crockpot. I personally would probably cook the burger first and then throw everything else in the crockpot to cook.

      1. Thanks 🙂 I think you’re right – it would taste better if browned in a skillet first.

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