Smoked Hamburgers

May 30, 2018

Smoked hamburgers are a killer way to prepare a burger. By smoking a burger, you end up with a juicy result, and the smoke creates crispy edges and great char. You’ll never go back to regular old burgers again. And drive thru burgers? Forget about it!

smoked hamburger on a bun with pickles, tomato, onion, and lettuce

Smoked Hamburgers on a Pellet Grill

The key to a great hamburger starts with the right mix of ground beef. As often as possible, I try to grind my own whole muscles for burgers. I personally love the flavor of ground chuck roast the most. It is just the right ratio of meat to fat.

If you’re buying from the grocery store, make sure you’re buying meat that was ground in-house, preferably that day. Aim for select ground beef that is at least 85% meat 15% fat. If you want your burger even juicier, I recommend 80% meat 20% fat.

After you’ve chosen your meat, it’s time to form your patties! I don’t recommend mixing in any seasonings, as the salt can draw some moisture out of the meat itself and change the texture of your finished burger.

Press your meat into patties, working the meat as little as possible. Shape your burgers so they are about 1/2 inch thick and wider than the buns you’ll be using. As your burger cooks, you will experience some shrinkage, so form your patties bigger than what you want your final burger size  to be.

Once your patties are nicely formed, season the outside of your burgers on both sides. You can use whatever seasonings you like, but I prefer to use Hey Grill Hey Signature Beef Seasoning from Patio Provisions.

seasoned hamburger patty on pellet grill

How to Smoke Hamburgers

Once you have your meat ready to go, now it’s time to smoke!

I set my smoker to 225 degrees F for this first step. My preferred wood for smoked hamburgers is hickory. It’s strong enough to give you good smoke flavor in the limited time that the burgers will be exposed to smoke. Once your grill is preheated, place your burgers on the grates and close the lid. Depending on the thickness of your burgers, you should be able to smoke them for about 1 hour. For this first step, I want the internal temperature of my burgers to reach 135 degrees F.

Next step is to sear the burgers. This is super easy on my Camp Chef SG Pellet Grill. I simply crank up the temperature dial to High and slide open the deflector tray for direct grilling. Just like that, my burgers are roasting over a wood fire. You want the temperature of your fire at this point to be at least 400 degrees F.

Sear your burgers for about 2 minutes per side, or until it reaches your desired doneness (FDA recommends 165 degrees F). My favorite thermometer to use to use to ensure my burgers are perfectly done is the Thermapen Mk4. If you want cheeseburgers, add your cheese after the first flip. Once your burgers are smoked and seared to perfection, serve them on toasty buns with whatever condiments you like!

Tips to Smoking the Best Burgers

Smoking burgers is easy and straightforward, but these tips will help you get that perfect, juicy burger every time.

  • Make sure you use ground beef with an appropriate fat content. The heat and the smoke can dry out the meat, so aim for at least 15% fat in your beef.
  • Use a stronger wood for smoked burgers, such as hickory, oak, mesquite. These burgers are not on the smoker for very long, so you want the smoke to influence the meat for the entire time it is on the smoker.
  • Cook to temperature, not to color. Smoking causes a chemical reaction with the meat that turns it slightly pink. If you smoke your burgers for an hour, they may be pink throughout the entire burger! If you are using an internal thermometer, you will know that they are perfectly cooked, so don’t stress about them being too pink once they reach 165 degrees F.

smoked hamburger on a bun with pickles, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce on a board.

More Burger Recipes

Are burgers your favorite go-to dinner item? If so, check out even more amazing burger recipes below:

Bourbon BBQ Crunch Burger
Smoked Tri Tip Chili Cheeseburger
Red, White, and Bleu Cheese Stuffed Burgers

Smoked Hamburger Recipe

Follow the recipe and I’ll show you step-by-step how I make these smoked hamburgers at home. I’m all about helping you make memories with your loved ones through amazing backyard BBQ of your life, so check out more of my smoking and grilling recipe videos on YouTubeInstagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!

smoked hamburger with pickle, tomato, onion, and lettuce on hamburger bun
Print Recipe
4.75 from 12 votes

Smoked Hamburgers

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 5 mins
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Smoked Hamburgers
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 664kcal
Author: Susie Bulloch (heygrillhey.com)

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F.
  • Shape your ground beef into 4 patties, about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your burger buns.
  • Season burger patties on both sides with Beef Seasoning.
  • Place the seasoned patties on the grill and smoke for up to 1 hour, or until the internal temperature of your burgers reads 135 degrees F. Whichever comes first.
  • Increase the heat in your grill to at least 400 degrees F. Sear the burger patties for about 2-3 minutes on both sides. Add cheese after the first flip, if desired.
  • Check the temperature of your burger patties for desired doneness. The FDA recommends 165 degrees F for a well done burger.
  • Remove the burger patties and toast the buns over the high heat. Assemble your smoked burgers on your toasted buns with any desired toppings and serve immediately. 

Nutrition

Calories: 664kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 503mg | Potassium: 541mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 307mg | Iron: 5mg
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42 thoughts on “Smoked Hamburgers

  1. You lost all credibility when I saw your brisket video and you cut off all the fat before you smoked it. No grill master would ever advocate removing the fat before it is smoked. That should be done after.

    1. I didn’t cut off all the fat. I trimmed the top fat to an even thickness. And I honestly have only met a handful of pitmasters who don’t trim at all. All of them are cooking in restaurants where they need to produce brisket in massive quantity and they simply don’t have time. I’ve been in this game for years now, and everybody has their opinions. You’re welcome to yours. Not sure it warrants a recipe rating when you obviously didn’t actually cook it, but that’s fine too.

      1. I’ve used your recipe and while I am a huge fan of fat (on a keto diet), I fully agree with you. Cutting the fat to an even thickness makes the meat SO much better (and I just keep the extra fat and fry it up for myself later!).

        Don’t listen to this person, you NAILED that recipe.

  2. I really enjoyed these burgers. First time ever smoking them, and hands down the best I’ve made.

    As for the unrelated and inaccurate comment on trimming brisket, I do it just like you mentioned in your aticle – “Using your super duper sharp knife, trim the fat cap down to approximately 1/4-1/2 inch thick.” And if 1/4″ is good enough for Aaron Franklin, it’s good enough for me 🙂

  3. I’ve spent a good portion of my life in my commercial kitchens, (many years ago), as well as my residential one. I just “burned in” my brand new Woodwind, and I’m about to try out your burger recipe. Just reviewing it, I know it’s a winner, so I can hardly wait. I will surely follow up here! Thanks for sharing, Susie!

  4. Just got my new SG and fired it in. Can’t wait to get started.
    Sometime soon, I will need to cook 20-25 burgers. Can I smoke them all at the same time using the warming racks? I also bought the jerky rack, maybe that would be best.
    What are your recommendations?

  5. I used this recipe yesterday…excellent!
    It was the second “hamburger” recipe I’ve used on my new Pit Boss Pellet Grill. The first turned out hard and dry. Your recipe turned out much better and was immediately put into my “Grill Journal” collection of recipes. LOW AND SLOW IS THE WAY TO GO! Plus, I was able to do some baked potatoes at the same temperature (I did them for 4 hours).

  6. So I am a new electric smoker owner….and Ive been slowly getting the hang of it… I made these burgers this past weekend and my kids were ohhing and awwing over these! My husband naturally thinks the smoker and grill are his domain abut he loved them as well.

    I kept the recipe exactly as close as I could..I used ground sirloin that I had our local butcher grind for me…

    By far the BEST burgers I have ever eaten!

  7. I’m actually going to try these on my SG this week. Do you take them off after the smoke session while the grill heats up or just leave them on? Thanks for the great content and recipes!

  8. Any suggestions on how to do this if you don’t have the slide tech of the SG? Is it necessary? Can I just turn up the heat on the CampChef I have to 400?

  9. This was amazing. Put garlic on the buns too and yummmmmy. Only had one question. I’m new to smoking and just bought a new camp chef xt. I put it on the “hi-smoke” setting and let it smoke the burgers for an hour like instructed. I noticed that it only actually smoked every few minutes, not heavy smoke for the whole time. Is this how it should function or should it look like a house fire for the hour lol. Thanks in advance!! 🙂

    1. That heavy smoke you see every once in a while is when the auger is adding pellets. It shouldn’t smoke like a house fire the whole time or something is wrong. Perfect smoke is thin and a little blue in appearance.

  10. Enjoying all the great recipes Susie! I noticed the nutritional info on the burgers was pretty high for someone eating a low carb diet. The ingredients all appear to be low carb other than the buns. Were the buns included in the nutritional data? Thanks!!!

    1. Most gourmet burger places cook to about medium, so I’d say its safe. The FDA just recommends 165F.

    2. The best way is to grind your meat yourself (the food processor does this well). The FDA recommends 165 for ground beef because it assumes commercially ground, which can come from very many cows in the same package. If you grind your own (or have your butcher do it ) you know what you are getting-sirloin, chuck, etc.- the fat content, which can be controlled, and you know it’s fresh and from one piece of meat. Thereby reducing the need to cook to 165 to avoid the possibility of bad things happening.
      There is a *lot* of information if you search for it, lots to sort through, but start with America’s Test Kitchen and the like, you get good information.

  11. OMG OMG Made these burgers last night and they were out of this world. From now on nothing but smoked burgers. Recipe was and cooking time was dead nuts on

  12. I smoked Snake River Farms Wagyu ground beef on my Traeger at 250 until 125 IT then cranked it up to 450 and cooked until 138, since I did not want to ruin the Wagyu. Came out Amazing!

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