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Challenge: Slow Cooker to the Rescue

Big Game Burger Bar - Caprese Burger

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Have you ever wanted to have burgers or sliders at your party, but you didn't want them to dry out? Well, I have a genius solution for you. Take out your slow cooker and your burgers will be the hit of the party! All you need to do is cook or grill your burgers before the big game and then throw them into your slow cooker and keep them on warm. They will stay moist and juicy for hours, I promise! You will put a steam basket in the bottom of your slow cooker and then some water, the burgers will then stay moist from the steam inside the slow cooker. You can even use some cookie cutters to keep the burgers from sitting in the juice at the bottom of the slow cooker. Feel free to cook the burgers ahead in a cast iron skillet on your stovetop or grill them ahead. I even add some cooked hot dogs and/or chicken patties to the slow cooker along with your burgers and let your guests decide which protein they would like. Set out a variety of condiments and let your guests make their own sliders. I do half of my burgers with cheese on the inside and half without cheese. If someone wants extra cheese on top of the burger, have cheese slices sitting out and a kitchen torch (that you use for creme brûlée). Your guests will love to melt their own cheeses on top of their burgers. Nothing says a "Big Game Party" like burgers, blow torches and beer. Enjoy!

Big Game Burger Bar - Caprese Burger

  • Servings: 6 Burgers or 12 Sliders
  • Yield: 1 Serving
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cooking Time: 10 min


  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup mashed strawberries
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 pounds ground chuck (80/20)
  • ½ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated onion
  • 6 hamburger buns, split
  • 6 - ¼ inch slices tomato
  • 6 - ¼ inch slices fresh mozzarella
  • 1 ½ cups lettuce (I use frisee, you can use whatever you like)


  1. In a medium saucepan, add the balsamic, berries and sugar and cook over medium high heat for 10-12 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat and refrigerate until ready to assemble.
  2. In a food processor, add the basil, nuts, garlic, oil and parmesan and process until well blended.
  3. In a large bowl, gently combine the chuck, soy sauce and onion. Gently shape into 6 equal size patties, make an indentation in the center of each patty. (If you want sliders, just make them smaller patties)
  4. Over medium high heat in a skillet or grill, cook the patties for 8-10 minutes turning only once.
  5. To assemble, add pesto to all cut sides of buns. On each bun bottom, add equal amounts of lettuce and a patty followed by a tomato slice then a mozzarella slice. Drizzle on some balsamic glaze and then add the bun top.

Recipe Tags

After cooking the burgers, add some cookie cutters or a steam basket to the bottom of your slow cooker on the warm setting. Then put some water about half way up (1 inch or so) the cookie cutters, feel free to add some soy sauce or worcestershire sauce with the water to impart some savory, umami flavor. Then add the burgers on top so they are not submerged in the liquid, they just get the steam from the liquid.2b5b5c2bc6f69b69f004a0e1e410c5e29f90bc83

Also, feel free to add some cheese in the middle of the meat if you want as well. Just put the cheese in the middle and form the meat around the cheese to enclose. Don't forget to make the indentation in the center for even cooking and so it doesn't puff up like a ball.


Place the cooked patties on the cookie cutters and the juice at the bottom with keep the burgers moist and juicy.


Add some hot dogs or chicken patties to the slow cooker for some variation if you have a lot of guests. Or ask people to bring different cooked meats and have the slow cooker ready to go.

37b478ee558d3dd2684c0d9ade8b2a841bc9b803Set out your favorite condiments and let your guests make their own burgers, sliders, hot dogs or chicken sandwiches.


I like to give some ideas for my guests on what to put on their burger. Visuals are always great....


Or you can get some chalkboard or paper and use chalk/markers to write your condiments or burger toppings on. Have fun with it!


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