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Smoked Hamburgers

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Summary

  • Form 1/3 pound patties using good quality 80/20 ground beef.
  • Smoke at 300-325°F about 40 minutes until 160°F for food safe burgers, or to a lower internal temp for more rare burgers.
  • Sear directly over hot coals at the end of cooking, if desired.
  • Serve on a toasted bun with all the usual burger condiments and fixins.
Three ground bacon/beef burgers (top) and three 80/20 ground beef burger start smoking in the Weber Bullet
Three ground bacon/beef burgers (top) and three 80/20 ground beef burgers start smoking in the Weber Bullet
Hamburger smoked indirect over oak wood
Hamburger smoked indirect over oak wood
 
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Who doesn't love a juicy hamburger? Burgers are an American classic, to be sure, and everyone has their favorite, whether made at home on the grill or purchased at a greasy spoon, a diner, pub, fast-food joint, or even a fancy restaurant.

But have you ever tried making smoked hamburgers on your Weber Bullet? If you've made smoked meatloaf, you already know how smoke and ground meat compliment each other. So why not extend this to the burger? Believe me, it works...just don't overdo the amount of smoke, a little goes a long way.

Here are some photos I took on May 28, 2016—WSM Smoke Day 12—when I made smoked hamburgers on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

Remember...click on any of the pictures to view a larger image.


Select The Meat & Form The Patties

Belcampo Meat Co 80/20 ground beef
Photo 1
Belcampo Meat Co bacon/beef grind
Photo 2
     

Purchase a good quality 80/20 ground beef, meaning a ratio of 80% lean to 20% fat. Form the ground meat into 1/3 pound patties. Place on parchment paper on a rimmed baking sheet pan and store in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before cooking, so the patties have a chance to firm up.

I picked up two types of ground meat from Belcampo Meat Co. for these burgers: a package of 80/20 ground beef (Photo 1) and a package of ground bacon/ground beef mix (Photo 2). I formed three 1/3 pound patties using 1 pound of each meat.

Season Simply

Seasoned patties ready for the smoker
Photo 3
       

When using good quality meat, you don't need to get too fancy with the seasonings. I used Susie Q's Brand Santa Maria Style Seasoning, which is a blend of salt, pepper, garlic and parsley. You can use a commercial rub like this on, or make your own rub, or just use kosher salt and black pepper.

Apply the seasoning right before putting the burgers into the smoker.

Select The Smoke Wood

1 chunk of oak wood
Photo 4
       

Use 1 fist-sized chunk of oak or apple smoke wood. It doesn't take a lot of smoke to flavor ground meat, so don't overpower the burgers with lots of smoke wood.

There is no need to soak the wood or remove the bark before use.

I used 1 chunk of oak as shown in Photo 4.

Fire-Up The WSM

Hot charcoal with smoke wood on top
Photo 5
       

Fire-up the cooker using the Standard Method—one full Weber chimney starter of hot Kingsford Charcoal Briquets in the charcoal bowl, allowing all coals to become fully lit before cooking.

Put the water pan in the cooker but leave it empty. Place the smoke wood chunk in the center of the hot coals (Photo 5).

Smoke The Burgers

Uncooked patties on the top cooking grate
Photo 6
Burgers after 45 minutes of smoking
Photo 7
Close-up of ground beef burger
Photo 8
Close-up of bacon/beef burger
Photo 9
Finishing burgers over direct heat
Photo 10

Assemble the WSM and put the burgers on the top cooking grate (Photo 6). There's no need to turn or baste the burgers during cooking.

Set the 3 bottom vents to 100% open. Open the top vent fully and leave it that way throughout the entire cook.

Run the cooker at 300-325°F. Adjust the 3 bottom vents as necessary to maintain this temperature range throughout the cooking session.

Cook the burgers for about 40 minutes (Photos 7-9), then check the internal temperature using an instant-read thermometer. You're looking for a food safe temp of 160°F...check sooner if you prefer a more rare burger.

If you feel the need, you can move the grate directly over the hot coals at the end of cooking to sear the burgers (Photo 10).

Here's how the cooker temperatures and vent settings went during my cook:

Time Lid Temp Vent 1 % Vent 2 % Vent 3 %
2:25pm - 100 100 100
2:35pm 327 100 100 100
2:45pm 315 100 100 100
2:55pm 295 100 100 100
3:05pm 290 100 100 100
3:10pm(s) 290 100 100 100
3:15pm 290 100 100 100
(s) seared burgers directly over hot coals

Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.

Serve As You Like

Finished burgers
Photo 11
Bacon/beef burger with all the fixins
Photo 12
Close-up of bacon/beef burger on a bun with condiments
Photo 13
   

Serve smoked hamburgers just like you would any other, on a toasted bun with all your favorite condiments and fixins.

These burgers were moist and juicy, with a good amount of smoke flavor coming from that single chunk of oak. I liked both of them a lot, but in the end, the 80/20 ground beef burger was my favorite over the beef/bacon mix. The bacon flavor was not that pronounced, and I think crispy bacon on top of a burger beats ground bacon mixed into a burger any day.

I hope you'll give smoked hamburgers a try this summer. They're quick, easy, and delicious!

Updated: 11/20/2016

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