Making smoked burgers is so easy to do and it truly makes one of the best, juiciest hamburgers ever!! In this easy smoker recipe, I will walk you through how to smoke burgers perfectly! It is going to be your tried and true method for cooking smoked hamburgers all summer long.
For years, I believed if you wanted to experience juicy burgers you have only two choices for preparing them. Fried indoors in a skillet or grilled on a barbecue in the backyard!
But after discovering the great flavors you get from smoking, I'm here to tell you that smoked burgers are an amazing creation and a fabulous way to indirectly cook your burgers.
If you’re like me you might think, why bother taking all of the extra time involved in smoking hamburgers??
But truth be told, the only extra time involved is in the cooking time. Everything else is just the same so with a little planning, prep time, and organization they’re really pretty simple to prepare. And let me tell you, they are so worth the little bit of extra effort.
For this smoked burger recipe, low and slow is the best way to smoke all meats, including smoked hamburgers. Low temperatures for long periods of time allow the flavors in the wood or pellets to infuse your ingredients with so much wonderful flavor.
All you need to make smoked burgers are just a few simple ingredients!
- 3 pounds of ground beef
- Salt and pepper
- Burger Buns
Your favorite toppings
- Red Onion, sliced
- Tomatoes, sliced
- Cheese (we love to use pepper jack)
- Wood chunks or chips, pre-soaked, or pellets (whichever your smoker uses)
What Flavors of Wood Work Best for Smoking Hamburgers?
You can experiment with different types of smoke flavors including hickory (bacon-ish aroma), apple, pecan, mesquite (steak-ish aroma), maple, cherry, or oak. A good place to start is hickory and mesquite because they are often the most readily available.
Continue switching it up until you find your favorite. They each lend a slightly different flavor to the burgers.
How to Smoke Hamburgers
Here are the basics of what you need to know about making the best smoked burger possible. Check the recipe card for step-by-step images and more detailed instructions.
Step 1: Get Everything Set Up
Prepare your smoker by adding wood chips or pellets and water. Preheat the smoker to 225°F and open the top vent.
Step 2: Form the Hamburger Patties
To make the delicious smoked burger patties gently shape a portion of meat into a softball-sized ball, about 5 or 6 ounces in weight each.
Next, using a burger press, or your hands, flatten and shape the burger and place it on a plate. The burger should be at least ½ an inch thick when cooking in a smoker.
Continue shaping the burgers until they are all formed into patties.
Step 3: Season the Smoked Hamburger Patties
Once all the burgers have been shaped, season outside with salt and pepper and place on racks.
Make a thumbprint in the middle of each burger to stop it from puffing up and help it hold its shape.
Step 4: Smoke Burgers
Place the burgers in the smoker and cook for 60-90 minutes. (See below for more about how long to smoke burgers.)
Once the burgers have reached temperature, flip the burger to sear the other side quickly, add your cheese and only leave on for another minute or two.
HINT: Always make sure to check the steam pot inside the smoker after 60 minutes of cooking and fill it with water as needed. It is important to maintain a high moisture level within the smoker.
How Long to Smoke Burgers
Typically I find it takes between 60 and 90 minutes to smoke hamburgers, depending on how big you make them and how you like them cooked.
If smoking at 225 degrees, which is the temperature I recommend, your smoked burgers should take about an hour for a rare burger or medium-rare depending on the thickness.
Below is a rough quick guide to how long to smoke different for each desired doneness:
- Rare – 125 degrees Fahrenheit, about 60 minutes
- Medium Rare – 135 degrees Fahrenheit, about 65 minutes
- Medium –145 degrees Fahrenheit, about 70 minutes
- For Medium Well –150 degrees Fahrenheit, about 75 minutes
- Well – 160 degrees Fahrenheit, about 90 minutes
Pork: Cook until the internal temperature of the meat is 145 degrees F, approximately 70 minutes.
Lamb: The internal temperature of lamb should be 150 degrees F and take about 75 minutes.
Chicken and Turkey — Poultry needs to cook all the way to 165 degrees F which means if preparing these meats, they may need to cook 2.25-2.50 hours.
- Smoker or pellet grill
- Burger press
- Grill spatula
Want to change up the flavors of your smoked hamburgers? Here are a few of my favorite quick ways to change them up!
- Spicy: Mix in chopped jalapenos or green chiles into the ground beef mixture before cooking.
- Healthy: Swap out the ground beef for a lean ground turkey or ground chicken instead.
- Low carb: Skip the bun and add all your favorite low-carb toppings or stuff the burger patty into a lettuce wrap or low carb tortilla.
- Smoke your toppings too!! Trybacon slices plain or laid out on a tray and coated in maple syrup and some brown sugar. You'll think you died and went to heaven!! You can smoked vegetables too! For toppings, add them to the smoker in the last 15 minutes the hamburgers are cooking.
- Mixed meat smoked hamburgers: Mix it up and use a combination of ground beef, ground pork, ground turkey or ground lamb, experiment and have fun with your smoked burgers.
Sometimes though I want something totally different!! Let’s talk about two of my favorite methods for making smoked burgers even better.
How to Glaze Smoked Hamburgers with Barbecue Sauce
In the last 15 minutes of smoking, brush barbeque sauce all over the top, bottom, and sides of your hamburgers and continue smoking. Barbecue sauce will glaze over the sides of your smoked hamburgers beautifully.
How to Make Stuffed Smoked Burgers
Follow these instructions to stuff some of your favorite ingredients INSIDE the burger!
Step 1: Take a handful of ground beef and form it into an even number of quarter-inch thick, round hamburger patties.
Step 2: Spoon in a few tablespoons of sauteed vegetables and/or shredded onto the centers of half of the hamburger patties.
Step 3: Using your hands, place the extra patties on top and seal up the edges of the burger to encase all of the stuffing.
Step 4: Once sealed, place the hamburgers on racks and sprinkle both sides of each hamburger with salt and pepper. Place the racks into the preheated smoker and set your timer to return to check on them in 60 minutes.
Not sure what to stuff inside? Here are some ideas!
- Shredded cheese
- Sauteed mushrooms
- Caramelized onions
- Blue cheese crumbles
- Bacon crumbles
- Green chiles
- Cream cheese and jalapeno
Smoking hamburgers is super simple to do but here are a few suggestions to ensure burger success always.
Add very little to your hamburgers. Even too much salt can dry out smoked hamburgers.
Avoid overmixing the ground beef or you may end up with dense smoked hamburgers. Make them a half-inch thick and wider than your chosen buns to accommodate for shrinkage.
Remember to leave a thumb-sized imprint on the top of the patties before you throw them on the smoker. This will prevent them from puffing up into a meatball.
Always check your smoking hamburgers after cooking for 60 minutes. Add more wood chips or pellets and water if needed.
Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness of your smoked hamburgers. You won’t be able to use visual clues to check because smoking causes a chemical reaction in your meat making it turn pink. This may be misleading if you're judging doneness by color (135 degrees F for medium-rare).
When possible, avoid leaner cuts of ground meat, you need a reasonable amount of fat to keep your burgers moist while smoked, at least 15 % if not 20%. If you use leaner meats you may end up with a delicious, but slightly dryer burger.
Sear the upward-facing side of the burger before removing it from your smoker. You can do this when the internal temperature of the burger is about 5 degrees from being ready. After flipping you can add your cheese.
Make sure your smoker is always preheated to 225 degrees, and plan on checking your burgers at 60 minutes. Add more wood chips or pellets and water as needed.
You can store leftover smoked burgers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to five days.
Yes, it’s easy to reheat smoked hamburgers. You can use your microwave to reheat but for best results reheat in your oven at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes or a little longer depending on the size of your hamburgers.
No! We love to use different kinds of wood as each variety lends its own unique flavor. We chose cherry for this smoked hamburgers recipe because it adds a mild sweet, fruity flavor that pairs well with all meats.
While smoking the burger you do not need to flip them. Once its nearly cooked to the desired doneness, flip burgers once, just to sear it off and crisp up each side.
Other Great Beef Recipes to Try
How to Make Smoked Burgers Video
How to Smoke Burgers
- burger press
- metal spatula
- Wood chunks or chips, pre-soaked, or pellets (whichever your smoker uses)
- Get out and measure all of your ingredients.
- To make the burger patties, take a soft ball sized section of meat and gently shape it into a ball.
- Using a burger press or your hands, shape the burger and place on a plate.
- Once all the burgers have been shaped, season with salt and pepper and both sides.
- Cook the burgers in the smoker at 225 degrees Fahrenheit for 60-90 minutes
- Depending on what doneness you prefer, see chart in notes but use your thermometer to check for doneness.
- Once the burgers have reached temperature, flip the burger to sear the other side quickly (only leave on for a minute or two before removing and add cheese after you flip, if desired).
- Remove hamburgers to a serving plate and serve with all your favorite toppings!
- Serve them up!