A New Way Of Cooking Hamburgers – Smoked Hamburgers
An Overview on Hamburgers.
Hamburgers are one of the most basic foods you can make on the grill. What's more is that by simply tweaking the scale, you can turn a row of burgers into a tower of sliders. All you need are some buns, some ground meat that you have seasoned and/or marinated, a heat source and you are good to go. While grilling and even pan-frying are options for making hamburgers and happen to also be the most common approaches, this article is concerned with highlighting another approach: we're not making "steamed hams," we're making smoked hamburgers.
A Step-By-Step Guide On How to Smoke Hamburgers.
If you have made burgers there really isn't that much different to smoking a burger instead of grilling it. That being said, here are several example recipes with smoking in mind.
Recipe #1: Smoked Mexican Burgers with Chorizo and Smoked Poblanos.
- Ground beef, 80/20 mix, 1.25 pounds.
- Ground chorizo, 1/4 pound. if you lack access to chorizo, consider a spicy Italian sausage as a substitution.
- Garlic powder, 1 tsp.
- Paprika, 1 tsp.
- Salt, kosher, 1/2 tsp.
- Pepper, black, 1/2 tsp.
- Pepper, poblano, 4, sliced into halves.
- Buns, potato or brioche (something hardy), 4.
- Mayonnaise, 1/2 cup.
- Chipotle, 2 tbsp.
- Lime juice, fresh, 1 tsp.
- Agave or honey, 1 tsp.
- Salt and pepper, to taste, no more than a pinch each.
- Prep the smoker to between 200°F and 225°F, using pecan or another fruit wood.
- Combine the beef, chorizo and seasonings into a bowl and form the mass into a quartet of equally-sized, 1-inch-thick patties, yielding somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 lb each.
- Put your patties and poblano peppers into the smoker for somewhere between 45 and 60 minutes, you want the patties to hit an internal temperature of 130°F. It is important to note that environmental factors can mess with this time frame.
- While the burgers are smoking, turn on the grill.
- Make an aioli by mixing the mayonnaise, Chipotle, lime juice, agave/honey, salt and pepper into a bowl. If you are not a fancy of spicy food, consider using less chipotle.
- Once the burgers have hit that internal temperature goal, move them over to the direct heat of a grill until they hit 160°F. If you want to make these into cheeseburgers, drape the cheese over the patties around the point they hit 150°F.
- Remove the burgers from the heat and add your poblano peppers, aioli and whatever else you want to top them with.
Recipe #2: Basic Smoked Hamburger
- Ground chuck, 80/20 mix, 1.5 lbs.
Optional: Cheddar cheese, 4 slices.
- Optional: Cheddar cheese, 4 slices.
- Hamburger buns, 4.
- Your favorite beef seasoning.
- Preheat the smoker to 225°F.
- Shape the beef into four patties, roughly half an inch wider than your buns.
- Season the patties on both sides with your preferred seasons.
- Place the patties on your grill and smoke them for an hour at the most, just until they hit an internal temperature of 135°F.
- Bring up the grill's heat to around 400°F and sear each side of your burgers for 2-3 minutes.
- If adding cheese, feel free to add it to the patties after the first flip.
- Check your patties for the appropriate doneness. Well done is considered 165°F.
- Take the patties off the heat and use a high heat to give your buns a toasting. Assemble the smoked hamburgers on your toasty buns and add in whatever toppings you like before serving.
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Recipe #3: Stuffed, BBQ-Glazed and Smoked Hamburgers.
- Ground chuck, 2 lbs.
- Olive oil, extra virgin, 2.5 tbsp.
- Onion, yellow, 3/4 cup, diced.
- Mushrooms, 3/4 cup, diced.
- Garlic, clove, 1, minced.
- Cheese, blue, 6 ounces, crumbled.
- Sea salt.
- Black pepper.
- Your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Hardy rolls.
- In a sauce pan, heat up the olive oil to a medium-high heat, add your onions, mushrooms and garlic and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally until these greens begin to wilt (roughly 15 minutes.) Set the mixture aside so it can cool.
- Prep the smoker by adding wood chips in the wood tray and water to the bowl and preheat it to 225°F. Remember to open up the top vent.
- Use the ground beef to make 1/4"-thick patties. This means that each patty is roughly 3 tbs by weight and you will have 10-12 patties when you run out of beef.
- Add equal portions of the veggie medley from step one to half of the patties, then cap them off with the blue cheese. Take the "naked" patties and place them over the covered ones, then close the gaps between each patty with your hands to hide the stuffing within. Put the patties on your smoker racks and season each side with some salt and pepper.
- Place the burger-carrying racks within the smoker. Allow them to smoke 60-90 minutes, just until they hit an internal temperature range of 150°F-160°F. Check the burgers at the one hour mark and make sure the wood chips and water are at appropriate levels.
- When down to the last 10 minutes of smoking, brush the top of each burger with your BBQ sauce and allow them to continue smoking.
- Serve the burgers on your thick rolls.
Recipe #4: "Artisanal" Smoked Lamburgers.
- Ground lamb, 3 pounds.
- Cheese, feta, 6 ounces, crumbled.
- Rosemary, dried, 3 ounces.
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Butter, 3 tbsp, melted.
- Buns, brioche, 8.
- Recommended toppings/condiments: lettuce, sliced tomato and tzatziki sauce.
- Combine the lamb, crumbled feta and rosemary into an even mixture.
- Take the mass and form it into 1"-thick patties that are roughly 4" wide. Add salt and pepper to taste, then push your thumb 3/4" into the core of the patty. Set the patties on a wire rack placed over an ice tray.
- For those of you smoking via gas grill: Ignite one side of the grill and place it on high heat. Move the burgers to the "off" side with the wire rack over ice. Place hay over the burner and close the lid. Smoke the meat until it has bronzed and taken in all of that smokey goodness. This should take no more than 2-3 minutes.
- For those of you smoking via charcoal: Ignite a small mount of the stuff in the firebox. When the coals start glowing hot-red, place the meat on the wire rack over ice in your smoke chamber. You want the burgers as far away from direct heat as you can get them. Place hay over the coals and leave things covered. Smoke the meat until it has bronzed and taken in all of that smokey goodness. This should take no more than 2-3 minutes.
- Set the grill for direct grilling and preheat it to high. Grill for 3.5 minutes per side until they reach an internal temperature 155°F.
- Slice the buns. Brush them with melted butter and grill them for half a minute to yield a good char. Stack your favorite ingredients.
- Right before the burgers are done, stack them with any hardy ingredients you might want, then top them with the other bun and close your grill's lid for half a minute. Any cheese you may have added will have melted to just the point that is ideal and the top bun will be soft.
- Transfer the burger stacks to their bottom buns, serve and enjoy.
Side Solutions and Beverage Brilliance
Only the most luxurious of dishes is served solo. This section is full of suggestions for optimally pairing your smoked hamburgers with a drink and a side.
- French fries. Burgers and fries have been one of the longest-lived staple meals since the burger came into existence. If you want to get a bit fancy, consider sweet potato fries in lieu of regular fries.
- Onion rings. The cousin to French fries is just as worthy a pairing with burgers. One perk that homemade onion rings enjoy over store-bought is the ability to play around with the batter and season them just right.
- Dark cola.
Smoked hamburgers are nothing to stress out over. A smoker just happens to be one more way you can provide deliciousness on a bun. If you know how to serve grilled hamburgers, you can capably serve smoked hamburgers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best meat to grind for hamburgers?
If you’re grinding your own meat to make hamburgers, you’re well on your way to the best burger of your life. You can either ask the butcher to grind a few steaks for you, or you can grind it yourself at home with a meat grinder. There is even an attachment for the KitchenAid Stand Mixer that allows you to grind meat! You can either grind one steak (like a sirloin) for a lean hamburger, but we like mixing together chuck steak, sirloin, and brisket for a good mix of 80/20 ground beef.
How many pounds of meat do I need for ten burgers?
The answer to this question depends on the size of burgers you plan to make. In general, we recommend making 1/3 pound burgers because they are a good size to feed anyone in a crowd. Quarter pound burgers are small and thin enough that you could turn them into double burgers, but half pound burgers are too much meat for some people. If you make 1/3 pound burgers, you will need just over three pounds of meat to make ten burgers.
What types of meat can you use to make burgers?
You don’t have to restrict yourself to making burgers out of ground beef. There is a whole world of meats out there, and a few veggie burger options, too! If you like the flavor of ground beef but you want to do things a little bit differently, try adding sausage (like chorizo) to your ground beef to mix things up. Or, use ground elk, venison, or lamb to give your burger a brand new flavor. We have also used ground chicken and turkey, although these burgers can dry out if you over cook them because these meats are very lean. Finally, for veggie burger options, look to quinoa and black beans to create a veggie-friendly patty.
What temperature do you cook burgers on a smoker?
We like smoking burgers at a low temperature of 225 degrees F. This ensures that the burger will take on a lot of smoky flavor before they cook all the way through. It’s also a good temperature to cook leaner meats, like venison or turkey burgers. Your burgers will be finished cooking after an hour to 90 minutes, when they reach 165 degrees F with an instant read thermometer.
Can you cook burgers to medium rare temperatures?
If you’re buying pre-ground beef, the packaging always recommends cooking burgers to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, or well done. This is because it reduces the risk of contracting E-coli, a bacteria that can cause foodborne illness. You should also cook any poultry products, like chicken or turkey, to 165 degrees F, regardless of whether you have ground it yourself or buy it pre-ground. When it comes to steak that you grind yourself, you can cook these meats to lower temperatures (including 145 degrees F for medium rare). When cooking meats to these temperatures, you should be careful to avoid cross contamination and avoid feeding people with compromised immune systems.