If you’ve only ever grilled your burgers, you need to give this method a try.
I’m going to show you how to smoke burgers using the reverse sear method.
Cooking your burgers low and slow and finishing them off with a good sear imparts tons of flavor while keeping your burgers juicy!
While this recipe is for smoked hamburgers, it would be more accurate to call them reverse seared.
Reverse searing works great with thicker burger patties, allowing you to get some good smoke flavor, avoid overcooking them, and still finish with a nice sear for the ultimate crust.
If you prefer thin patties I recommend the smash burger method.
Smoking the burgers over low heat really helps them retain moisture. Anytime you increase the temperature of your heat source the fat from the protein tends to escape faster. Especially on burgers, when grilling them on high heat and flipping them back and forth, you can dry them out quickly.
They can easily overcook this way and handling the meat excessively allows more of the juice to escape.
I start by smoking the burgers at about 225°F until the internal temperature reaches 130°F and then sear over high heat to finish.
This gives the burgers a nice crust while locking in all the juices.
What type of ground beef is best
What’s important here is choosing the right fat-to-meat ratio. For me, I like an 80/20 blend.
That means 80% of the ground mixture is beef, and 20% is fat. This ratio tends to provide enough fat for flavor while keeping enough moisture throughout the cooking process to keep your burger juicy.
If you go higher than a 90/10 blend, you may have a dried-out burger, and likewise, if you choose something with a higher fat content, like a 70/30 blend, you may find your burger way too greasy.
Not to mention the grease fire possibilities!
Obviously, the more fat the ground beef has, the more calories, and vice versa. These are all things to consider if you are conscious of that.
Forming the patties
There are a few tips and tricks for forming burger patties.
You don’t want to handle the meat too much as it will overwork the proteins in the meat and risk your patties falling apart on the grill.
I like to season my patties with just salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Don’t worry about mixing the seasoning into the burgers, just season them once the patties are formed.
Aim for burger patties about 6 oz in size. If the ground meat feels loose after forming my patties, I place them back in the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up before placing them on the grill or smoker to cook.
What type of wood to use for smoked burgers
Because burgers don’t take long to smoke I would recommend something like hickory or pecan. Those two types of wood go great with beef and will add great flavor to the burger.
If you want something a little more off the beaten path, try cherry. Not only does cherry smoke give beef a great color but it adds a touch of sweetness that goes surprisingly well with ground beef.
I smoked these burgers on my pellet grill, using Bear Mountain pellets.
What can I put on my burger?
You can literally put anything on a hamburger and come up with your own flavor combinations.
There are traditional items like lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, and bacon (which we recommend). But don’t be afraid to try and experiment with different flavor profiles. I’ve seen things from jalapeños and onion rings to french fries, noodles and even kimchi. An egg with a big fat yolk on top is a personal favorite of mine.
As far as condiments, the classics would include mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard but I’ve seen everything from BBQ sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, jams and relishes.
How to make smoked hamburgers
Start off by preheating your smoker to 225°F. For this cook, I used my Pit Boss 1600 Pro with hickory pellets from Bear Mountain BBQ. In the meantime form your ground beef into 6 oz patties and season them well on all sides with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
You can feel free to add other seasonings if you’d like but for burgers, I like to keep it pretty simple.
Once the burgers are on the smoker you really don’t need to mess with them a whole lot. It should take about an hour or so for the meat to come up to temp.
I take my burgers to 130 degrees F before pulling them off to sear. I did end up flipping my burger about half way through the cook to make sure they were evenly cooked on both sides since my heat source is coming from underneath.
At this point, you can continue to smoke the burgers until they come up to your desired temperature or you can take them over to a gas grill and sear them hot on both sides to try and develop a little crust and lock in all the flavors.
While the burgers are smoking, cook your bacon until crispy and set that aside for later. Nobody wants floppy bacon on their burger.
Once the burgers were about ready, I placed them on the top rack in my gas grill and added a slice of cheddar cheese to each one, closed the lid and let the cheese melt for a minute or two. I also toasted the hamburger buns and brought everything inside to assemble.
For the assembly, I slathered on some mayo to the bottom bun, then added lettuce, a slice of tomato, the burger and topped it off with some crispy bacon.
To the top bun, I add more mayo, ketchup and mustard.
Side dishes that go well with burgers
What doesn’t go well with a juicy smoked burger? I think that list would be much shorter! Serve up your burgers with:
More smoked burger recipes to try
- Smoked Burgers With Fennel and Pear Slaw
- Big Mac Copycat Smash Burgers With Crispy Bacon
- Grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burgers
- Homemade Smoked Smash Burger
Reverse Seared Smoked Hamburgers
- 24 oz ground beef
- 2 tomatoes
- 4 pieces lettuce
- 4 hamburger buns
- 4 slices cheddar cheese
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp mayonnaise
- 1 tsp ketchup
- 1 tsp mustard
- 8 slices bacon
- Form your ground beef into 6 oz patties and season.
- Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees F then place the burgers onto the smoker.
- Smoke burgers until they reach an internal temp of 130 degrees F.
- Sear on high heat to finish or continue to smoke your burgers to your preferred doneness.
- Add a slice of cheddar cheese to each burger a few minutes before you remove them from the grill.
- Serve burgers on toasted buns with condiments and toppings.