Best Smoked Burgers

Written by Mike Futia | Updated October 18, 2023

These smoked burgers have become my absolute new obsession on my Traeger pellet grill! In fact, I may even like them more than smash burgers—which is saying a lot.

Topped with gooey American cheese, burger sauce, and your favorite veggies, this is one of the best burgers you'll ever have and will become a go-to smoker recipe.

smoked burgers done

How To Make Smoked Burgers

The best smoked burgers start with one thing:

Exceptional meat.

I went over to my local butcher and picked up a pound of their custom dry-aged blend, which is an 80/20 mix. And it was out of this world!

Then we're going to hit it with a little seasoning, and toss it on the Traeger for about 45 minutes to let it smoke.

This smoked burger is actually cooked to medium rare. Smoking causes the meat to appear pink throughout.

Once it hits 10 degrees lower than our desired doneness, we're going to toss it on our griddle to get a nice sear on both sides.

And, boom!—in one hour, you'll have a delicious smoked burger to devour.

smoked hamburger

Serve with a side of french fries and you've got a fantastic meal for your next outdoor gathering.

smoked burger ingredients

The Ingredients

Serving Size: 2 burgers

  • Ground beef (1 pound). 80/20 blend. Go for a high-quality ground beef, it's totally worth it.
  • American cheese (4 slices). The best cheese for burgers, hands down. We're doing 2 slices per burger.
  • Hamburger buns (2 buns). We're toasting our buns to get a nice crisp. We used Martin's Potato buns.
  • Burger sauce (2 tbsp). We whipped up our house-made smash burger sauce. Sooooo good! 
  • White onion (2 tbsp). We love raw onion on our burgers, but obviously you can choose your own toppings!
  • Pickle slices (2 tbsp). Same thing with the pickles.
  • Beef tallow (1 tbsp). Optional. We use this to toast our buns on the griddle with, and to sear off the burgers.
  • Seasoning (1 tbsp). We like to season our burgers with Meat Church Holy Cow. But you can use just salt & pepper if you like! 

The Directions

smoked hamburger

1. Preheat your smoker to 225F degrees. I use cherry pellets for this smoke. You can also use a smoke tube for even more smoky flavor.

raw hamburger meat

2. Form your ground beef into hamburger pucks. For this cook, we did each patty at 8 ounces.

ground meat seasoned

3. Season your meat. We used Meat Church Holy Cow here, but feel free to use whatever you like.

smoked burger on traeger

4. Place your burgers on the smoker, and insert a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. You want to cook the burgers on the smoker to 10 degrees less than your ideal temperature, because we're going to sear them later on. So if you want a medium rare burger (135F internal), smoke it to 125F.

hamburger buns with beef tallow
toasted hamburger buns

5. When the temperature of the meat hits about 110F, it's time prepare your buns. Fire up a cast iron skillet, or a griddle on top of a gas grill. Lay down your beef tallow, and let it melt. Then toast your buns until they're nice and golden brown, about 1 minute.

seared smoked burger
american cheese on smoked burger

6. When your burger comes to an internal temperature 10 degrees lower than your desired temperature, move it over to the hot skillet or GrillGrates, and sear on each side for about one minute to develop a nice crust. Remember to immediately add your cheese when you flip to the second side.

smoked burger final

7. Pull your burger off the griddle and allow it to rest for five minutes. Assemble your burger and bun with your favorite toppings and burger sauce, serve, and ENJOY!

Cooking Temperature & Time

  • Cooking Temperature. We smoked these burgers at 225F until they hit an internal temperature of 125F. Then, we transferred them to a ripping griddle for the final two minutes in order to get to 135F internal.
  • Cooking Time. These smoked burgers took about 45 minutes to cook on the smoker, and then an extra minute or two on the griddle.

Burger Smoking Tips

  • As usual, you want to cook to temperature here, not time. For a medium rare burger, that means a finished temperature of 135F. Which means you need to pull the burger off the smoker at 125F before searing it on the griddle.
  • Be warned: even if you cook your meat to medium-rare, or warmer, your meat is still going to look pink. Here's why: "In meat patties, the reduced thickness and fragmented texture frequently allows smoke to penetrate deeper, even to the point of penetrating all the way through the patty, creating pink colored lean throughout the meat." [source]
  • User a stronger pellet flavor, like mesquite, oak or hickory. We made the mistake of using cherry pellets, which are not as strong. And because the burger is ont on the smoker that long, you'll want to use a stronger flavor that penetrates the meat better.

Ground Beef For Smoked Burgers

For this cook, we picked up a pound of 80/20 dry-aged beef from our local butcher.

If you don't have a butcher, or just want to go to the grocery store, then be sure to get an 80/20 blend of ground chuck or ground beef. 

Seasoning For Smoked Burgers

You should definitely season your burgers before smoking them. Most people prefer simple salt and pepper, and maybe a little garlic powder.

We really like the Holy Cow seasoning from Meat Church, which we also use on our smash burger tacos.

Burger Topping Suggestions 

Our favorite toppings for these smoked burgers are:

  • Smash burger sauce. Burger sauce has absolutely ruined us! I can't have a burger anymore without burger sauce.
  • Pickles. My #1 burger topping. 
  • White onions. Raw white onions add a crisp, cool bite to the warm, smoky meat.
  • Shredded lettuce. Cool and crunch, shredded iceberg lettuce goes great on smoked burgers. 

Sides Dishes & Serving Suggestions For Smoked Burgers

smoked baked beans

A flavorful side dish that adds a hearty and savory element to the meal.

smoked mac and cheese

A classic comfort food that pairs nicely with the burger.

smoked corn on the cob with a pork chop

A summer classic that goes perfectly with burgers.

Recommended Tools & Equipment

  • Traeger Grill. I love my Traeger 780 for all things smoking!
  • Pellets. I've really been digging the pellets from BBQ'ers Delight.
  • Meat Thermometer. I use this MEATER to keep an eye on the internal temp during the cook, and then just to be sure, I also check it with this Thermapen One at the end of the cook just to be extra sure.
smoked burgers done

Best Smoked Burger Recipe

You'll love this mouthwatering smoked burgers recipe! Learn how to choose ingredients, use a smoker, and cook juicy, flavorful burgers with a smoky twist.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Servings 2 people
Calories 877 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 lb ground beef 80/20
  • 4 slices American cheese
  • 2 hamburger buns
  • 2 tbsp burger sauce
  • 2 tbsp white onion diced
  • 2 tbsp pickles slices
  • 1 tbsp beef tallow sub butter
  • 1 tbsp seasoning

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your smoker to 225F degrees.
  • Form your ground beef into hamburger pucks. For this cook, we did each patty at 8 ounces.
  • Season your meat with salt and pepper, or burger seasoning.
  • Place your burgers on the smoker, and insert a digital meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature. You want to cook the burgers on the smoker to 10 degrees less than your ideal temperature, because we're going to sear them later on. So if you want a medium rare burger (135F internal), smoke it to 125F.
  • When the temperature of the meat hits about 110F, it's time prepare your buns. Fire up a cast iron skillet, or a griddle on top of a gas grill. Lay down your beef tallow, and let it melt. Then toast your buns until they're nice and golden brown, about 1 minute.
  • When your burger comes to an internal temperature 10 degrees lower than your desired temperature, move it over to the hot skillet, and sear on each side for about one minute to develop a nice crust. Remember to immediately add your cheese when you flip to the second side.
  • Pull your burger off the griddle and allow it to rest for five minutes. Assemble your burger and bun with your favorite toppings and burger sauce, serve, and ENJOY!

Nutrition

Calories: 877kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 52gFat: 61gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 203mgSodium: 1188mgPotassium: 845mgFiber: 4gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 550IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 670mgIron: 9mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Mike Futia

Hello, I'm Mike Futia, a passionate griller and BBQ enthusiast. I'm the creator of Grill Frenzy, and I'm committed to sharing my knowledge of grilling and smoking with you. I believe that BBQ and grilling should be accessible to everyone. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, I'm here to guide you on your grilling journey. Welcome!


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