posted January 31, 2023
Smoked hamburgers are a killer way to prepare a burger. By smoking the hamburger, you end up with a juicy result, and the smoke creates crispy edges and great char. You’ll never go back to regular old hamburgers again. And drive-thru burgers? Forget about it!
Cooking hamburgers on the grill is a BBQ staple, and it always results in a delicious burger. But smoking those hamburgers adds a whole new level of flavor and dimension that will blow your mind.
The key to a great hamburger starts with the right mix of ground beef. As often as possible, I try to grind my own meat for hamburgers. 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.
How to Smoke Hamburgers
Let’s get into the process of how to smoke hamburgers. It’s a fairly simple technique of seasoning, smoking, searing, and serving. For a detailed, printable recipe card, scroll to the bottom of this post.
- Preheat. Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F. 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.
- Prep. Press the 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.
- Season. Next, season the outside of your burgers on both sides with Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub. If you don’t have any Beef Rub on hand, you can use equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
- Smoke. Once your grill is preheated, place the burgers on the grates and close the lid. Smoke until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 135 degrees F. Depending on the thickness of your burgers, aim for this first step to take around 1 hour.
- Sear. Increase the temperature of your smoker to around 400 degrees F. Sear the patties for 2-3 minutes. Flip the hamburgers, top them with cheese (if desired), and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Dig in! Once your burgers are smoked and seared to perfection, serve them on toasty buns with whatever condiments you like!
How Long to Smoke Hamburgers
I’ve found that it takes a little over 1 hour to smoke hamburgers with the smoker running steady at 225 degrees F.
Make sure to use this 1-hour timeline as a gauge only and pay attention to the temperature of the burgers. Smoke until they reach 135 degrees, then sear until they reach a final temperature of 165 degrees F.
Tips for 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 a decent 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, or 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 or time. 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 instant-read 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!
This post was originally published in May 2018. We recently updated it with more information and helpful tips. The recipe remains the same.
- 1 ½ pounds ground chuck (80/20 preferred)
- 2 Tablespoons Hey Grill Hey Beef Rub (or equal parts salt, pepper, and garlic powder)
- 4 slices cheddar cheese (optional)
- 4 burger buns
- assorted burger toppings
- Preheat. Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F using your favorite hardwoood.
- Form the patties. Shape your ground beef into 4 equal-sized patties, about 1/2 inch larger in diameter than your burger buns.
- Smoke. Place the seasoned patties on the grill and smoke until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 135 degrees F. This will take around 1 hour.
- Sear. Increase the heat in your smoker 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. Sear until the meat reaches a final temperature of 165 degrees F.
- Enjoy. Remove the hamburger patties from the grill and place the buns on the grill grates to toast. Assemble your smoked burgers on the toasted buns with any desired toppings and serve immediately.
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