Juicy Smoked Burgers

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If you've never had smoked burgers, prepare to never go back to anything else! This recipe makes for a seriously juicy burger but requires minimal effort, it's perfect for cookouts, potlucks, and any other summer parties you're hosting or heading to this season!

We're whipping up burgers all summer long! Try these classic smashed burgers, this bacon jam burger (a STAT classic!), or a delicious diner-style patty melt which is one of our family favorites! 

a thick smoked burger topped with tomatoes, pickles, cheese, and lettuce

Delicious Smoked Burgers All Summer Long!

I have a survey going on in my newsletters (with a giveaway of an Amazon gift card!) for my subscribers (it ends May 17th, 2024!), and the biggest ask so far for the summer is more smoker and grilling recipes.

Makes sense: it's time to be outside, Memorial Day is literally a few weeks away!

So we're delivering with my husband's 'famous' smoked burger recipe. I showed it on my Instagram, and y'all were all in my DM's about it! Love when we get to come together about food; and nothing brings people together like a smoked cheeseburger in the summertime.

If this is your first time smoking a burger, you've found the right recipe site. This post is all about how to smoke hamburgers on a pellet grill smoker, though any electric smoker should work, even a charcoal grill with a smoke box could work.

We're going over the best cuts if you want to make your own ground beef, what woods give the best smoke flavor, and of course, giving y'all a step by step visual guide on perfectly smoked burgers. 

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The Best Cuts of Meat for Juicy Burgers

Not every piece of beef is great ground up; ground meat needs a good percentage of fat along with good, flavorful meat. Without those you'll have flavorless, dry and crumbly burgers. 

right side of a smoked cheeseburger with runny egg

When you're grinding your own blend or buying burger patties you want a 20% fat/80% lean ground beef blend. Some people even like a 25% fat/75% lean mix, which makes for a really decadent burger.

The blend I used in this recipe was ground chuck and brisket, which is fave from a local grocery store. Both these cuts have plenty of fat and flavor and make a delicious burger. Another blend we like is chuck and sirloin, sirloin really has that great beefy flavor while the chuck provides the fat.

Ingredients to Make Smoked Burgers

Full ingredients, measurements, and printable instructions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  • Burger Patties - Use a 20-25% fat ground beef blend for the best burger results. Lean beef will make a dry burger.
  • Burger Buns - I am a staunch believer in milk buns, brioche buns, and potato buns! They are the best for burgers.
  • Seasoning - I simply have salt and pepper here because I want the pellets to flavor the burgers, but use your favorite burger seasoning.
  • Your Favorite Cheese 
  • Wood Pellets for the Smoker - I consider this an ingredient... after all, it's flavoring our food! We used applewood pellets but my husband's favorite for burgers is hickory wood.

How to Smoke Hamburgers on a Pellet Grill Smoker

a smoker blowing blue smoker

Step 1 | Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees F. When using an electric pellet grill smoker like a Pit Boss or Traeger grill, you c

raw burger patties seasoned on a tray

Step 2 | Season your burger patties. I used just simple salt and pepper since I enjoy this burger blend and really, we want to let that applewood smoke shine as well. 

burger patties in a pellet grill smoker

Step 3 | Place burgers on the smoker. We're placing them directly on the grill grates, and leaving them for 40-45 minutes to smoke at 225, or until they reach your preferred cooking temperature (we took them off at medium: 145 degrees F).

burgers being flame grilled

Step 4 | Give the burgers a little sear on the grill side of the pellet grill. Okay, this is an optional step but it really gets that Maillard reaction going, giving us more flavor! Just for two minutes or so on each side. Again, this is totally optional, we have had rave reviews from just cooking the burgers in the smoker without any grill action.

a hand placing a slice of cheese on smoked burgers

Step 5 | Drop the slices of cheese on the burgers if you're making cheeseburgers. Let them melt for a few minutes before removing the burgers from the smoker or grill.

a smoked cheeseburger with a runny egg on a wood paddle

Step 6 | Assemble your smoked burgers. Use whatever toppings you like! If you're interested to know what's topping this burger, it's an avocado chimichurri aioli, ruffled chips, and a fried egg topped with umami seasoning with american cheese! This burger was BOMB, let me tell ya! 

How Long to Smoke Hamburgers

You could be doing a super thiccc pub-style burger, smoking ½ pound patties, or using pre-made patties from the store, all of which need different amount of times for smoking.

Like many recipes, it's all about the temperature instead of timing. I've done my online research, and the range of times for smoking burgers range wildly from 35 minutes to over an hour for the same 225 degree temperature smoker. That can be really confusing, right?

Your best bet is to use a thermometer to check the temperature. For burgers you want to keep the temp around medium to well done, which is around 145 degrees F to 160 degrees F (63-71 degrees C).

Top Tips for the Best Burgers

  • Toast the top and bottom buns with a tiny touch of softened butter on the grill or in a pan on medium heat. Doing this gives not only toasty buns and great flavor, but more structure to the bread so it doesn't get soggy from the burger and toppings.
  • Only cook burgers to medium rare if they are freshly ground. Ground meat has more surfaces to garner bacteria, which are likely to survive at medium-rare temperatures throughout the burger. Otherwise you're looking for an internal temperature of around 155-160 degrees F (166-171 degrees C) with a meat thermometer.
  • If you're looking for a little oomph while making your own burger patties, mix in a hearty splash of Worcestershire sauce or throw in a little umami seasoning!
  • Speaking of making the patties, you'll want a kitchen scale to ensure each burger is the same size for even cook times.
  • If you want to sear the burgers but don't have a grill, use a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium-high heat.
close up view of a smoked burger topped with chips, aioli, a runny egg, and cheese

Storage and Reheating

Burgers store well in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container or zip top bag.

Rewarm the burger patties in the oven or in the microwave until hot.

Equipment

  • Electric Pellet Grill Smoker - this is the one I use. Though any type of smoker or even a grill with a smoke box can work.
  • Instant Read Meat Thermometer - for safety, you gotta check on the temperature of the burgers. Let the burgers reach about 166-171 for well done.
  • Kitchen Scale - a scale is needed if you're making your own patties so they all end up the same size and cook equally.

FAQs

How long does it take to smoke burgers at 225?

Depending on the size of the burger, it can take from 35 minutes to an hour. Use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature for perfectly cooked

Do you flip burgers when smoking them?

You don't have to flip them while smoking. When burgers are smoked, the heat and smoke is surrounding the burgers from all sides rather than having the main source of cooking heat come from the hot grill grates.

Why are smoked burgers pink?

Smoking causes a chemical reaction with meat that turns it slightly pink thanks to the smoke's nitric oxide reaction with the myoglobin in the meat. So if you see your well done burgers are somewhat pink, this is the reason.

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📖 Recipe

a smoked cheeseburger with a runny egg on a wood paddle

Smoked Burgers Recipe

Eden Westbrook
Make juicy delicious smoked burgers with all your favorite toppings! Smoke hamburgers on a pellet grill like Traeger or Pit Boss with this easy recipe.
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Servings 4 burgers
Calories 481 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 4 burger patties ½ pound each; 20% fat/80% lean blend
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt use more or less, if needed
  • 2 teaspoon black pepper use more or less, if needed
  • 4 slices American cheese use your favorite cheese
  • 4 burger buns
  • 2 tablespoon butter optional, for toasting the buns
  • Toppings of your choice

Instructions
 

  • Fill the auger with your applewood pellets and set your smoker to 225 degrees F. When the smoke becomes wispy and blue it's ready for the burgers.
  • Season the burger patties on both sides with salt and pepper.
    4 burger patties, 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoon black pepper
  • Place the burgers onto the smoker's grates and smoke for at least 35 minutes, then check the internal temperature. You're looking for 145 degrees F for medium, up to 160 for well done. *If you're going to sear the burgers as well, remove the burgers 10 degrees earlier (135 degrees for medium and 150 for well done).
  • OPTIONAL: Turn the grill to 400 degrees F or use a cast iron skillet on the stove over medium high heat and sear the burgers for 2-3 minutes on each side to gain some char and color.
  • Add the slices of cheese to melt five minutes before the end of the cook on the smoker (or right after flipping the burger while searing during the optional step).
    4 slices American cheese
  • OPTIONAL: Toast the buns by spreading butter on their cut sides and toasting on a pan over medium heat on the stove until browned.
    4 burger buns, 2 tablespoon butter
  • Assemble the smoked burgers with the buns and choices of toppings. Serve hot.
    Toppings of your choice

Nutrition

Serving: 1 burgerCalories: 481kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 25gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 15gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0.5gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 2436mgPotassium: 399mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 379IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 296mgIron: 4mg
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16 Comments

  1. I just got a smoker, this was the first thing on it! These burgers are so, so good. really glad I went with chuck/brisket it turned out Smoky and soooooo juicy!!! You recipes never fail me, Eden!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Jackie!

      I appreciate you making my recipes, and I'm glad you love them! So happy that your burgers came out perfectly. xo, Eden

  2. Love the combination of chuck and brisket, plenty of fat to make them ultra juicy and so flavorful! Between that and the smokey flavor, we chowed down on these burgers with no crumbs. 10 out of 10!! ❤️ 😍

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Loretta!

      A 10/10?! I'm so honored! Thanks for making my burger recipe, I hope you enjoy more of my recipes this summer! xo, Eden

  3. These burgers were so delicious and juicy! We ate them all for dinner and they were a hit! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Love that your family loved my recipe, Kathryn! I hope y'all enjoy these burgers all summer. xo, Eden

  4. Normally I just put my burgers on the grill. Smoking them made a world of difference. I can never go back.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Love to hear it, Sean! So happy you enjoyed our smoked burgers! Have a great weekend! xo, Eden

  5. Your recipe is perfect! Your instructions actually make sense and the burgers came out so juicy and delicious!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Doe!

      I'm so glad to hear your burgers came out perfectly! This was one of our favorite recipes to develop, so I'm happy that it was easy for you to understand and make. Thanks for stopping by! xo, Eden

  6. Omg! I can't wait to make these burgers again! The smoke added a deep flavor that was so good. My family loved it! 🙂

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Elaine!

      It brings me so much joy to hear that you and your family loved my smoked burger recipe; thanks for making them! xo, Eden

  7. I can't wait to get our smoker out and make these again. I've used beef and also bison and loved the smoke flavour both times.

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Thanks Bernice! My husband is a huge fan of bison burgers, those might be coming up next if he has his way lol. Thanks for trying my recipe! xo, Eden

  8. Made these for dinner tonight -- was a little worried about timing because I bought the burgers from the store but I used a thermometer like you suggested and omg was this delicious!!!!!! I didn't realize how easy it would be to smoke burgers it's a TOTAL GAME CHANGER!!

    1. Eden Westbrook says:

      Hi Roxanne!

      You gotta trust me! I develop everything soooo many times before I bring them to the blog so I knew the thermometer is a must for perfect burgers every time. I'm so happy it turned out great for you, thanks for making my recipe! xo, Eden