Smoked Hamburger Recipe – with Cheese

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If you want to elevate the classic burger then this Smoked Hamburger recipe is going to change your life (or at least your hamburger game forever!). The smoky flavor of slowly smoked ground beef is turned into an incredible smoked burger.

Smoked Hamburger on a cutting board with all the fixings.
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This smoked burger recipe is all about easy and our favorite method for making them. Smoke the beef patty at a lower temperature, then finish over high heat for a quick flavorful sear. With or without cheese, these are simply irresistible.

Ingredients for Smoked Hamburger

  • Ground Beef – We recommend a beef mixture of 80/20 ground beef for juicy burgers. That would be 80% lean and 20% fat. You can go up to 85/15 if you prefer. If you go lean then you need to add a binder like egg to the ground beef for best results. 
  • Seasoning – We use our beef seasoning to add flavor to the patty. It’s a combination of kosher salt, black pepper, granulated garlic, and dried spices.
  • Bun – We recommend a potato bun or brioche bun. Soft and chewy!
  • Lettuce – Butter lettuce has the right crisp level and tastes great. Alternatively, you can use green leaf lettuce, red leaf lettuce, or even romaine.
  • Onion – A sliced red onion adds acidity and texture to the bite.
  • Cheese (Optional) – A good melty cheese and a juicy burger go hand in hand. We recommend a sharp cheddar cheese or even a new style of American cheese. Alternatively, you can use smoked gouda or even muenster. 
  • Tomatoes – We love sliced tomatoes on our hamburgers.
  • Burger Sauce – We use our fry sauce which is a combination of ketchup, mayo, horseradish, and lemon to add additional flavor. Or just use your favorite condiments. You can also add barbecue sauce for a more Western Burger flavor.

Smoked Hamburger Preparation

The first step for making a great smoked hamburger is making the beef patties and prepping the burger toppings.

Beef Patties: In a large bowl add ground beef and beef seasoning. Reserve some of the seasoning to shake over the top of the patty when it’s formed. Form the ground beef into 1/4 pound beef patties. We recommend a good digital kitchen scale for consistency.

Seasoning the top of a hamburger patty ready for the smoker.

Mis en Place: That’s just a fancy way of saying prep the remaining ingredients so they are ready to go when the burgers come out hot. Slice the onions, prep cheese slices, make your fry sauce, and prepare any sides like a grilled romaine salad and roasted potatoes.

How To Make Smoked Hamburgers

  1. Preheat Smoker: Prepare a smoker targeting 250 degrees Fahrenheit using a fruit wood like apple or cherry. Alternatively, you can use oak for a more pronounced smoke flavor. This should be indirect heat.
  2. Smoke Burgers: Place the seasoned beef patties on the grill grate in the preheated smoker. Smoke for roughly 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 135-145 degrees F. Remove and set aside. 
  3. Grill Burgers: Increase the grill heat and prepare for direct grilling targeting 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the smoked hamburger on the grates over direct heat. Sear the first side for 2 minutes and flip. Add cheese if you want cheese and close the lid. Let the burger continue to grill until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove. 
  4. Assemble Your Masterpiece: Place burgers on the bun and add your toppings in layers. Starting with the onions, tomato, lettuce, and then the burger sauce. Add the top bun and enjoy.

Alternatively: If you don’t want to increase your grill temperature, no problem. Just heat up a cast iron skillet over the stovetop. Get it hot! Then finish the smoked burgers over a skillet to get a nice sear and cook to 160 degrees.

Don’t want to Sear?: That’s cool. Just keep smoking your burgers until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. This should take roughly another 20-30 minutes on the smoker.

Toasted Buns: Make the toasted bun while grilling the burgers. Don’t walk away once they are on the grill or they can burn quickly.

Pellet Smoker

Own a pellet grill? Follow the same directions. If your grill has a direct sear feature then be sure it’s in place after the hamburger is smoked and sear on high. If you do not have a direct grill feature we recommend turning the pellet grill up to high and place a cast iron skillet to preheat. Then when the pellet grill hits high, the skillet will sear the burger.

Gas Grills

Explore our guide on how to smoke on a gas grill for more details. Place dry wood chips in a smoker box. Place the box over the two adjacent burners. Turn two adjacent burners to low-medium heat targeting 275 degrees F which will ignite the chips. Place the burgers over the indirect side. Smoke as directed in instructions. Then when they are properly smoked, remove them from gas grill and turn both burners to high for 10 minutes. This will get the grill grates hot. Sear and finish per the recipe.

Expert Tip

The internal temperature of the burgers is important for a juicy burger. By removing the smoked hamburger patty when it’s 140 degrees F and then grilling to 160 degrees you’ll allow carry-over cooking to happen and still have a juicy burger. If you overshoot 160 degrees it will start to get dry.

Smoked cheeseburger on a wood board

Tools Used for Smoked Burgers

Other Burger Recipes

Explore all of our burger and slider recipes or check out some of our favorites.


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Classic American smoked hamburger with cheese on a cutting board.
5 from 1 vote

Easy Smoked Hamburger Recipe

Smoked Hamburger finished over high heat and topped with your favorite ingredients. Cheese or no cheese, this is truly the easiest and best smoked burger ever!
Prep: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 burgers
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Ingredients 

  • 1 ¼ pound ground beef, preferably 80/20
  • 4 teaspoons beef seasoning
  • 4 hamburger buns, (Recommend potato buns or brioche)
  • 4 slices sharp cheddar cheese
  • 4 slices red onion, thick rounds
  • 4 pieces butter lettuce
  • 4 slices tomatoes
  • cup fry sauce

Instructions 

  • Preheat Smoker: Prepare the smoker targeting 250 degrees Fahrenheit using a fruit wood like apple or cherry.
  • Prepare Burger Patties: In a large bowl add ground beef and beef seasoning. Form the beef into 4 equal-sized 1/3 pound beef patties. We recommend a good digital kitchen scale for consistency.
  • Smoked Burgers: Place the formed beef patties on the grill grate in the preheated smoker. Smoke for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches between 130-140 degrees F. Remove and set aside. 
  • Grill Burgers: Increase the grill heat and prepare for direct grilling targeting 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the smoked hamburger on the grates over direct heat. Sear the first side for 2 minutes and flip. Add cheese if you want cheese and close the lid. Let the burger continue to grill until the internal temperature reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove. 
  • Assemble: Place burgers on the bun and add your toppings in layers. Starting with the onions, tomato, lettuce, and then the burger sauce. Add the top bun and enjoy.

Notes

Alternatively: If you don’t want to increase your grill temperature, no problem. Just heat up a cast iron skillet over the stovetop. Get it hot! Then finish the smoked burgers over a skillet to get a nice sear and cook to 160 degrees.
Don’t want to Sear?: That’s cool. Just keep smoking your burgers until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees. This should take roughly another 20-30 minutes on the smoker.

Nutrition

Calories: 704kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 49g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 134mg | Sodium: 674mg | Potassium: 618mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 631IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 376mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Prep Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Course: dinner, Entree
Cuisine: American, hamburgers
Servings: 4 burgers
Calories: 704
Keyword: smoked hamburger, smoked hamburger recipe
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About Mary


I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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