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Jan 30, 2009 12:21 PM

Hickory Smoked Burgers. Advice needed!

I'm having a little Super Bowl bbq at my house this weekend. I'm making burgers and I'm wondering if it's worthwhile to smoke hamburgers. I've never done it before. Has anyone tried it? And what were the results? I like my burgers will the smoke flavor have enough time to permeate the meat within the short cooking time?

I'm curious simply because I just recently discovered cooking salmon on cedar planks. Now I want to smoke everything just to try it. I have a bag of hickory chips and will be using a gas grill.

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  1. Smoking really is a long-slow-cool cooking technique that's not going to be suitable for burgers, IMHO, especially at medium-rare. If you want the hickory flavor in a burger your best bet is a 1/2 tsp of Liquid Smoke, hickory flavor in your burger meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: KiltedCook

      1/2 teaspoon is way too much liquid smoke. Test first.

    2. I agree, for the most part, with KiltedCook . However, if you can find some large chunks of Hickory (not those little shavings you get in a bag at the super market) and soak the overnight, you can get them on a hot bed of coals early enough to produce a nice amount of smoke to get the burgers lightly flavored while they heat up with the lid on the BBQ and then finish them on the open grill. It's tricky and you probably won't get a medium rare (dangerous) burger but the flavor might be worth enjoying something fully cooked - albeit not well done - from the grill. Otherwise, bottled liquid smoke will have to do.
      You could also smoke some of the items (e.g onions) that you add to the burgers to carry a bit more flavor to the competed dish.

      1. You can't smoke it like true bbq, i.e., low and slow but you can certainly add the chips to the grill and cook your burgers normally. Although not the greatest amount of smoke, the hickory chips will still add some flavor.

        1. You can definitely smoke a burger but you have to be careful not to dry it out. Get meat no leaner than 80%. It would also help if you baste the burgers every 20 minutes or so. Half pound burgers would take about an hour. Google beef mop and find one that sounds good. This one on Food Network looks standard...

          Test the internal temp of the burger with an instant read thermometer to make sure they're at the desired temp.

          1. It's not worth trying. If you want something smoked to put on a bun, make it pulled pork or shredded smoked chuck roast, but hamburger meat is too ground up and it's just a formula for ruining its succulence if you ask me.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Karl S

              Absolutely you can smoke a hamburger. At the restaurant we would smoke them at 225 degrees for 25 minutes. One key is to pinch the center, almost making a doughnut so as it plumps it will be nice and flat. Great flavor, and you don't have to use hickory, any hardwood will do. Around the mid west a lot of places use almost all oak because it is the local hardwood. But try it and you won't look back.

              1. re: white brothers bbq

                I agree with white bros bbq. Although I've never done mine that low of a heat. On the trusty weber I've added hickory chips and done burgers. It's not like smoking meat per say, but adding some flavor. Turns out great.

                1. re: cb1

                  Agreed here as well. I love the tip about pinching the burger, and have done that myself. I've made some very good and smoky tasting burgers on my Weber by having the coals to one side (about half the grill), putting a chunk of hardwood on the coals (usually oak or cherry, because that's what I have), and placing the burgers on the "no coals" side of the grill. They take on a great flavor and cook a little slower. The burgers towards the middle of the grill, and therefore nearer the fire, will get a bit more done for your guest who prefer them that way. Near the end of the cooking time you can, if you like, move the burgers over the coals to sear the outside.
                  Don't use chips because they burn up way too quickly. I usually use chunks that I have split and ready for my smoker. They are roughly beer-can size or a bit larger. If you need to buy wood, buy chunks like those found at Home Depot, Walmart, etc. And don't soak them! You don't want the white smoke that wet wood want thin blue smoke.
                  This assumes that you have a Weber or similar. If you don't, get one.

                  1. re: Cheez62

                    I prepared 2 mesquite smoked burgers with blue cheese on my Weber tonight that were extraordinary. Ground sirloin with tarragon and feathered red onion, patted with Worcestershire and coarse black pepper. Low heat, lots of smoke, topped with the blue cheese right after the flip, it's the slowest melting cheese I have experienced.
                    To the OP's question: a resounding YES.