These yummy Smoked Burgers is one of my favorite burger recipes and are out of this world amazing! When you are hosting a big ol’ cookout with friends, neighbors and family, this will be the quick and easy recipe you reach for time and time again.
🍽️ Why This Works
Simple | Nothing beats a simple recipe that your simple burger to the next level. Let’s be honest. Eat these with or without a bun for the perfect weekend meal.
Inexpensive | This is simple ground chuck that can be purchased at the butcher, at the local grocery or in big packs at Costco. Ground chuck is lower priced but we want it this time, as it has all the flavor.
Entertainment Worthy | This will be your “go-to” when hosting the block party when you have to man the grill. Smoke these along with the Smoked Hot Dogs and your party will be like no other. Just by changing things up a bit, allows you pack in flavor.
Ground Chuck | This fatty beef comes from the shoulder area of the cow and is a popular choice when making hamburgers or meatballs. The 80% lean ground meat is the favorite for most of us when we are going to start making burgers as they will always turn out tender and juicy. That extra fat is our friend here vs using ground beef. We go in-depth on ground chuck vs ground beef to help make the juiciest burgers.
Chopped Onions | Use sweet or yellow onions.
Salt and Pepper | Sprinkle some in for extra flavor.
Chipotle Mayo (optional)
This tastes best when allowed to chill overnight for the flavors to blend.
Mayonnaise | Use the mayonnaise that you like.
Sour Cream | Use full fat or reduced fat for this recipe. Substitute plain greek yogurt, if you want to trim off a few calories.
Chipotles in Adobo Sauce | You will be using two of the chipotles from the can. Freeze any that is leftover for recipes in the future. Most grocery stores have these in the international aisle near the hispanic foods.
Lime Juice | Squeeze some juice from a fresh lime.
Cilantro | Add in cilantro and adjust to your taste.
🐄 Ground Beef vs Ground Chuck
Before you run to the grocery store to buy the meat, make sure you know the differences between ground beef and ground chuck.
Ground Chuck | This is fatty (20%) and comes from the shoulder area of the cow. The fat helps this cut stick together, which is why we reach for it when we make burgers or meatballs. For anything that you want to stick, reach for the ground chuck. When you grill burgers using this, expect that it will shrink quite a bit given the amount of fat drippings that will be lost during cooking. Just plan ahead.
Ground Beef | This collects all of the trimmings from all over the cow and grinds it into ground beef. This works great for tacos, stroganoff or anything where it doesn’t matter if the meat sticks together. The ground beef can range is fat content from 7-13%.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Grill | We use our Big Green Egg for this one but pull out your Traeger, Char-Broil, Weber, Pit Boss or Masterbuilt. You can even use your gas grill or charcoal grill with a smoker box. If you are using a pellet grill, grab some hickory pellets for a classic taste.
Wood Chips | Use the wood that you enjoy the flavor. We used pecan this time but always use the Smoker Wood Chart Cheat Sheet to check if you are unsure of how smoky each wood can be. Beef is one of the few meats where a nice robust mesquite or hickory will work wonderful.
Knife | Chopping up those onions can be done with a knife or a food chopper. Use whichever you prefer.
Small Food Processor | Optional if you plan to make the Chipotle Mayo to serve with your burgers.
Step One: Set smoker up for indirect heat at 250°. We love using our DIY Fire Starters to start up the flame. Add the wood chips for the smoke.
Step Two: Divide one pound of ground chuck into four sections and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Form four round burger patties and press your thumb into the center of each burger to allow them to cook even and flat.
Note: Pressing your thumb in the center allows the meat to have room to expand as it cooks. It makes a huge difference, so give it a shot. We do this on smoked burgers and grilled burgers.
Step Three: Place the burgers on the grill grate and smoke the burgers until the internal temperature reaches 135° for a nice medium rare, which should be a cook time of less than an hour. You won’t need to flip these, as the smoke will wrap around the patty and the indirect heat setup will allow an even smoking.
🌡️ Burger Cooking Chart
|Rare||120-125° F||Bright Red|
|Medium Rare||130-135° F||Bright Pink|
|Medium||140-145° F||Slightly Pink|
|Medium Well||150-155° F||Mostly Brown|
|Well Done||160° F||All Brown|
If you want a handy chart to keep near your cookbook, we created a printable burger temperature chart that you can print and save.
❗Tips and Tricks for the Perfect Burger
Make sure to choose a fatty cut of ground chuck. When you snag a tasty 80/20 pack of beef, you know you will have the best tasting burgers at your cookout. Isn’t that what we all want?
Don’t over handle the beef. Too much rolling, pushing and handling will make it tough. Divide it into quarters and quickly make the patty.
Push your thumb into the center of the burger to help it stay flat and keep its shape.
Always remember to remove your meat five degrees LESS than your desired doneness. As it rests, it will continue to cook for a few minutes and will reach the target temperature.
Always allow the burgers to rest, just like we do for steaks and chicken, for several minutes to allow the juices to set up inside the burger and not run out.
Add cheese or other toppings at the very end. The cheese will melt as the burger is so hot. Cheddar, American and Provolone are all popular options.
Use a temperature gauge to check the internal temperature of the beef before removing from the grill. USDA suggests ground beef be cooked to 160° which is when e coli is killed. Whether you use a wireless version or an old fashioned meat thermometer, always test the meat before serving.
Refrain from using frozen burgers as they won’t end up as juicy as you want them. Reach for the fresh ground beef for this one.
🧑🍳 Storage and Reheating
Store any leftover burgers in the refrigerator inside a sealed container for up to three days. Reheat in the microwave or Air Fryer. We wrote a more in depth post on how to reheat burgers for the best results.
Freeze any leftovers in a sealed container like Ziploc Freezer Bags. I like to double wrap mine so they are protected in the freezer. Take them out the night before and put them in the refrigerator. Zap in the microwave for a minute or your Air Fryer.
Meal prepping this for a BBQ is a snap! Here are a few ideas to make this go smooth:
- Cut up the onions, if you plan to put them in your burgers.
- The day before, prep all of your lettuce, burger buns, and cheese to make the cookout a simple “pull out and smoke the burgers” type of day.
- If you are making the Chipotle May or the Burger Sauce, do that the day before as well.
- Prep your side dishes that you plan to serve with the burgers.
How Long to Smoke Burgers?
This depends on the thickness of your burger and the temperature of the grill, but plan on it taking about 60-90 minutes.
Don’t worry about the outer pink ring of the burger. That is the chemical reaction caused by smoking it. You see that on briskets and roasts as well.
➕ Additions and Substitutions
There are lots of ways to mix this up to have a completely different flavor profile.
Caramelized Bacon and Onion Burgers: Caramelize both onion and chopped bacon and gently mix in with the burger. Add in barbecue sauce and two slices of bacon for a true Cowboy Burger.
Bacon Blue Burgers: Cook the burgers until they are about 3-4 minutes from finishing, top with a couple slices of cooked bacon and then blue cheese. Finish cooking and serve on your favorite buns.
Teriyaki Pineapple Burgers: While your burgers are on the grill, place slices of pineapple on the grill and cook 1-3 minutes each side. When burgers are 3-4 minutes from being done, top with thick teriyaki sauce and grilled pineapple. Place it all on thick buns and serve to your guests.
Sliders: Make smaller burgers and use Sweet Hawaiian Rolls to make these into the best sliders when you are looking at feeding a crowd. Drizzle with a little barbecue sauce
You can always stick with the traditional condiments of tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, ketchup and mustard, but it is fun to mix things up a bit.
Make the patties unique by adding in onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, shredded cheddar cheese, black pepper, or even some ketchup or mustard. These will really make your flavors “POP”!
💡 Serving Suggestions
Besides your family’s favorite potato or macaroni salad, there are so many side dishes that will go perfectly with these burgers.
❓ Recipe FAQ
Always rely on checking the internal temperature for vs looking for the amount of time to cook the meat. Timing will also change when you are cooking a thick burger vs a super thin smash burger.
Ground meats should be cooked to 160-165° per the USDA. E coli will be killed off at 160 degrees.
Use a wireless or old fashioned meat thermometer.
Don’t go more than two days.
The old chef’s trick of gently pushing down in the center of the burger. If it is soft and a little bit of squishiness to it, it is still leaning toward the rare side. If the center is firm, it is medium well to well done.
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- Food Processor optional for sauce
- 1 lb Ground Chuck 80% lean
- ¼ cup Onion chopped
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Chipotle Mayo (optional)
- ½ cup Mayonnaise
- ¼ cup Sour Cream
- 2 Chipotles in Adobe in can
- 3 tbsp Cilantro
- Salt and Pepper dash
- Set smoker up for indirect heat at 250°.
- Divide one pound of ground chuck into four sections and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Form four round burgers and press your thumb into the center of each burger to allow them to cook even and flat.
- Smoke burgers until internal temperature reaches 135°, which should take less than an hour.
Chipotle Mayo (optional)
- Combine all of the ingredients into a small food processor and ouse a few times. Pour into container for serving.
- Store in the refrigerator for up to one week in a sealed container.