These incredibly deeply flavored smoked hamburgers are easy to make in your smoker and will take your cookout to the next level! This might be your family's new favorite way to enjoy burgers, so get prepared for some rave reviews.
Traditional grilled burgers are cooked over searing high heat, but this smoked hamburgers recipe takes the opposite approach by going low and slow to soak up as much smoke flavor as possible. Your patience will be rewarded with juicy burger patties loaded with mouthwateringly deep smoky flavor in every bite.
What equipment do I need to make these?
The easiest way to make this smoked hamburger recipe is using a proper smoker. I use an electric smoker, which operates as easily as baking something in your oven. Charcoal and propane smokers work well too, and you can certainly make these on a pellet smoker like a Traeger smoker.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Wood for smoking - A stronger wood such as oak, hickory, or mequite is recommended.
- Fresh ground beef - For best results use fresh, never frozen, ground beef that hasn't been compacted into plastic storage tubes makes the best burgers. I recommend using ground chuck or 80/20 beef specifically because it has a higher fat content which will produce a juicier burger.
- Burger seasoning - I simply use salt and black pepper, but you can jazz it up further with a dry rub if desired.
- Sharp cheddar cheese - The strong flavor of sharp cheddar cuts through the smokiness of the burger, which is why I recommend it for this recipe.
- Hamburger buns - Pretzel buns are perfect for a gourmet burger like this. Brioche burger buns would be my followup choice. Both are great choices.
- Assorted Burger toppings - Any combination of lettuce, onion, mushrooms, tomato, and pickles would work well.
- Burger sauce - I include a simple steak sauce style burger sauce recipe below, but my classic homemade burger sauce would also work perfectly!
How to make burger patties
When aiming to make juicy burgers, the most important thing you can do is form the patty properly. To do this, it is best to work the meat as little as possible. This is why freshly ground beef makes better burgers than frozen and compacted ground beef sold in plastic tubes at the grocery store.
To form your patties divide the beef into ⅓ chunks or balls, then press firmly on them with a flat object, like the bottom of a plate, or burger press, to form into one inch thick patties. It is important to note that the burger will shrink during cooking, so press it a little wider than your buns.
You can form the patties with your hands, but this is my least favorite way to do it because it almost always results in the meat being overworked. The more the meat is worked the denser the burger becomes.
How to smoke burgers
Once your burger patties are formed, liberally dust them with salt and pepper on both sides and place burgers in a preheated smoker set to 225 degrees along with your favorite wood chips. Let the burgers smoke for 45 minutes, or until they reach your desired level of doneness. Obviously, they take longer if you like them well done, so plan for a little extra time. I recommend using a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the burgers during the cooking process.
There is absolutely no reason to press on your burger as it cooks. This expells the juice from the burger patty, resulting in dry burger patties. You also shouldn't need to flip the burger while smoking either.
More Burger Recipes
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- Wood for smoking *
- 1 pound ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- 3 slices sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 hamburger buns toasted
- Burger toppings
- 2 tablespoons Mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoons A.1. Steak sauce
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees and add wood chips for smoking.
- Break the fresh ground beef into three equal size chunks and press firmly with a flat plate to flatten into burgers. Season generously with salt and pepper.**
- Prepare the burger sauce by mixing together the steak sauce and mayo in a small bowl until smooth.
- Place the raw hamburger patties in the smoker and smoke burgers for 45 minutes, or until at least 125 degrees for a medium rare burger and 160 degrees for well done. The amount of time will vary depending on your desired doneness. Place a slice of cheese on top of each patty in the final five minutes of cooking.
- Remove burgers from the smoker and place on a toasted bun with your favorite burger toppings and burger sauce. Serve immediately.