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 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.
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.
More Burger Recipes
Are burgers your favorite go-to dinner item? If so, check out even more amazing burger recipes below:
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 YouTube, Instagram, or our Facebook Page. Follow along and let’s make awesome food together!
- 1.5 pounds ground chuck (80/20)
- 4 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
- 4 burger buns
- assorted burger toppings
- 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Signature Beef Seasoning
- 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.