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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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).
Note that the vent percentages represent the way I set the vents at the time indicated.
Serve As You Like
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!
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