Coal Region Barbecue Burgers

In the Coal Region, we refer to a sandwich made with browned ground burger and a sauce (ketchup, mustard, sugar and vinegar) as “barbecues”  (see my Coal Region Barbecue recipe). Some folks refer to this type of sandwich as a “sloppy Joe” or some other name. This recipe is a twist on the flavors and presentation of our beloved Coal Region Barbecue in that it uses hamburger patties simmered in a sauce rather than crumbled browned ground beef.

This recipe came to me through a multi-generation collection from my best friend who lived in Ashland, Pa. in the coal region; it was in her mother’s recipe box when she inherited it. You can make this recipe a day or two before serving and simply reheat. It is budget friendly and kid-friendly.

Coal Region Barbecue Burgers

Recipe by A Coalcracker in the KitchenCourse: EntreeCuisine: Coal RegionDifficulty: Easy




  • 10.5 oz. condensed tomato soup

  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish

  • 1/4 cup chopped onion

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar

  • 1 Tablespoon vinegar

  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 4 (4 ounce) or 6 (3 ounce) fresh burger patties

  • 1 Tablespoon butter + 1 T cooking oil


  • Mix tomato soup, relish, onion, brown sugar, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce together in a bowl.
  • Heat butter/oil in frying pan on medium high heat and add the burger patties. Brown them on both sides. (Don’t crowd the pan, you want them to brown, not just steam on the surface.) Drain excess grease from pan when all burgers are cooked.
  • Add sauce mixture to pan on top of the burgers.
  • Simmer burgers in the sauce 10 – 15 minutes or until patties are cooked through.
  • Serve on burger buns with extra sauce if desired.