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Smoked Burgers

Smoked burgers are the best summer dinner. They're quick, they're delicious, and they're easy thanks to your Traeger, Pitboss, or another pellet grill!

We are burger snobs in this house. Bougie burgers or bust.

Every single burger served from the Crave Kitchen is handcrafted by Kevin. I'm not bragging, it's just a fact.

Kevin's, burger recipe is so perfect, it has renamed a summer staple for an entire generation. He's the proud owner of the "Kevy Burger" and my gosh, are they delicious.

These juicy burgers can be cooked on the gas grill, but for best results, they need to be smoked on the smoker. Something about the low and slow smoke just takes these thick patties to the next level.

Trust me, this is an easy smoker recipe the entire family will love!

This smoked burgers recipe is dedicated to the next level.

Smoked hamburger topped with lettuce, cheese and bacon.

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Tips + Tricks

No. 1 --> Whenever you're handling ground beef, you want to be as gentle as possible, it's okay to mix but avoid packing it. Just like with my smoked meatballs, the mixture is quite moist and tacky, but this helps to create a tender, delicious burger!

No. 2 --> Always, always line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place it on the lowest grill grate in your smoker! This makes cleaning up an absolute breeze and reduces the likelihood of a grease fire when you increase the temperature.

No. 3 --> This is a low-temperature cook, there's no need for high heat when cooking these beef patties! We won't be exceeding 325 degrees f through the whole cook.

No. 4 --> Don't be alarmed if you see a pink ring around the outside of your burger! This is simply the smoke ring - it's a chemical reaction that occurs when meat is exposed to smoke, just like with a smoked brisket! Check doneness with a meat thermometer.

No. 5 --> An easy way to crush the crackers for this recipe is to toss them into a freezer ziplock bag and squeeze them until crushed. It saves on mess!

No. 6 --> Cooking for a crowd? Check out my smoked hot dogs and smoked corn on the cob recipes for a kick-ass BBQ party menu!

Key Ingredients

Ground beef: We prefer to use lean ground beef (~15% fat) for our Traeger burgers. Lean beef tends to hang on to its size and shape while cooking as well as has enough fat for a tender, juicy burger without being greasy. Ground chuck works great!

Milk: Whole milk is Kevy's secret weapon with this recipe, but if you don't have milk, use beef broth, or even water! We're just adding liquid to moisten the mix.

Crackers: The original Kevy Burger recipe was ALWAYS made with crushed saltines - there are substitutions, listed below in the recipe card. The purpose of these crumbs is to help hold in the moisture and juices.

Ingredients required for smoked hamburgers.

How To Make Smoked Burgers

Prep:

  1. Start your pellet smoker according to the manufacturer's directions and preheat to 225f.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place it on the bottom grate of your smoker.

Make The Burgers:

  1. In a large bowl, add 1 lb of lean ground beef. Use your fingers to poke holes into and break up the beef.
  2. Add 1 large egg, 1 /2 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, then fold in the egg and seasonings gently until combined.
  3. Add in 1/4 cup of whole milk and mix until combined. The mixture will be somewhat sticky, but the beef will absorb the milk.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of crushed crackers and 1/2 cup of diced onions on top of the beef, and fold in the crackers and onions into the beef.
  5. Finally, add another scant 1/4 cup of milk to the mixture, and mix until combined. The mixture will be sticky at this point, but that's perfect.
  6. Form the beef mixture into 4 large burger patties.

Smoke The Burgers:

  1. Place your burgers on the middle rack of your preheated smoker, above the foil-lined baking sheet. This is a great time to insert a meat thermometer if you're using one
  2. Smoke at 225f for 60 minutes - this low temperature is the best way to get that smoky flavor into your burgers.
  3. Increase the heat to 325f and smoke until the internal temperature of the burgers reaches your desired doneness:
    Rare burger = 120 - 125f
    Medium burger = 140 - 145f
    Well done burger = 160 - 165f
  4. Remove burgers from the smoker, top with a cheese slice and serve on fresh burger buns with your favorite condiments, and don't forget the homemade bacon!

Note: This ain't no smash burger. For best results, avoid the temptation to squish the burger with your flipper. This will squeeze out all the delicious juices and leave you with a dry, tough smoked burger.

Two smoked burgers in a basket.

Batch + Storage

Batch:

This easy recipe as written is perfect for 4 thicker burgers. If you like smaller burgers, they can be made into 6 burgers!

Feel free to double, triple, or beyond, with this recipe. It's easily scaleable!

Storage:

Store your smoked burgers in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you're going to store them for longer than 2 days, I would recommend vacuum sealing and freezing them for long-term storage.

A great way to reheat smoked hamburgers is to place them on a microwavable plate with a tablespoon of water and reheat them in the microwave. The water helps to keep the patty juicy!

Side profile of a fully topped smoked cheeseburger.

Make-Ahead

This smoked hamburger recipe is perfect for make-ahead meals. Kevy will often whip up a triple or quadruple batch and freeze the extra burgers for quick weeknight meals in the future.

Here's what he does:

  1. Make the burgers as directed in the recipe card.
  2. Shape and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until completely frozen solid.
  4. Vacuum seal the burgers using our Avid Armor vacuum sealer and return to the freezer.

To use, simply remove the frozen hamburger patties from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the fridge for 12-18 hours before tossing them on the Traeger!

More Great Smoked Recipes To Love

Variations + Substitutions

This recipe is just a starting point, with this basic recipe you can make any kind of burger you like!

  • Mix in some ground pork
  • Substitute the salt, pepper, and garlic for your favorite dry rub!
  • Use a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce in place of the same amount of milk.
  • Try different crackers or even chips as the binder! We've used pretzel crackers, Ritz, and even Doritos!
  • Add some diced jalapenos or finely cubed smoked cheddar cheese to the meat mixture.
Two smoked burgers in a red basket.

Pellet Grill: I have, and love, and use extensively, a TRAEGER TIMBERLINE 1300. I have zero qualms with recommending this unit to anyone looking to purchase a smoker. We absolutely love ours! Check out all the great SMOKED RECIPES we've developed.

Pellets: We use Lumber Jack pellets in this house. By the pallet load. I recommend the Competition blend for this recipe. It's a blend of maple, hickory, and cherry and I find it the perfect all-around blend. If you're not using a pellet grill, maple wood chips would be a great option!

📖 Printable Recipe

Smoked hamburger topped with lettuce, cheese and bacon.
Yield: 4

Juicy Smoked Burgers

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes

If you're a fan of burgers, you're going to love this easy smoked burger recipe. These burgers are juicy and delicious, and they're perfect for smoking on your Traeger, Pit Boss, or pellet grill. This crowd-pleaser is great for memorial day, 4th of July, tailgating, and any other backyard cookout!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground beef (~15% fat)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse ground pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, divided
  • 1/4 cup crushed saltine crackers, about 8 crackers
  • 1/2 cup finely diced onion

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Start your pellet smoker according to the manufacturer's directions and preheat to 225f.
  2. Line a baking sheet with tin foil and place it on the bottom grate of your smoker.

Make The Burgers:

  1. In a large bowl, add 1 lb of lean ground beef. Use your fingers to poke holes into and break up the beef.
  2. Add 1 large egg, 1 /2 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper, 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder, and 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt, then fold in the egg and seasonings gently until combined.
  3. Add in 1/4 cup of whole milk and mix until combined. The mixture will be somewhat sticky, but the beef will absorb the milk.
  4. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of crushed crackers and 1/2 cup of diced onions to the bowl, and fold in the crackers and onions into the beef.
  5. Finally, add another scant 1/4 cup of milk to the mixture, and mix until combined. The mixture will be sticky at this point, but that's perfect.
  6. Form the beef mixture into 4 large burger patties.

Smoke The Burgers:

  1. Place your burgers on the middle rack of your preheated smoker, above the foil-lined baking sheet. This is a great time to insert a meat thermometer if you're using one
  2. Smoke at 225f for 60 minutes.
  3. Increase the heat to 325f and smoke until the internal temperature of the burgers reaches your desired doneness: Rare burger = 120 - 125f Medium burger = 140 - 145f Well done burger = 160 - 165f
  4. Remove burgers from the smoker, top with a cheese slice, and serve on fresh BURGER BUNS with your favorite condiments, and don't forget the HOMEMADE BACON!

Notes

Batch:

This easy recipe as written is perfect for 4 thicker burgers. If you like smaller burgers, they can be made into 6 burgers!

Feel free to double, triple, or beyond, with this recipe. It's easily scaleable!

Storage:

Store your smoked burgers in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap or in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If you're going to store them for longer than 2 days, I would recommend vacuum sealing and freezing them for long-term storage.

A great way to reheat smoked hamburgers is to place them on a microwavable plate with a tablespoon of water and reheat them in the microwave. The water helps to keep the patty juicy!

make-ahead

This smoked hamburger recipe is perfect for make-ahead meals. Kevy will often whip up a triple or quadruple batch and freeze the extra burgers for quick weeknight meals in the future.

Here's what he does:

  1. Make the burgers as directed in the recipe card.
  2. Shape and place them onto a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Freeze for 4-6 hours or until completely frozen solid.
  4. Vacuum seal the burgers using our Avid Armor vacuum sealer and return to the freezer.

To use, simply remove the frozen hamburger patties from the freezer and allow them to thaw in the fridge for 12-18 hours before tossing them on the Traeger!

variations + substitutions

This recipe is just a starting point, with this basic recipe you can make any kind of burger you like!

  • Mix in some ground pork
  • Substitute the salt, pepper, and garlic for your favorite dry rub!
  • Use a couple of tablespoons of barbecue sauce in place of the same amount of milk.
  • Try different crackers or even chips as the binder! We've used pretzel crackers, Ritz, and even Doritos!
  • Add some DICED JALAPENOS or finely cubed SMOKED CHEDDAR CHEESE to the meat mixture.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 371Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 150mgSodium: 538mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 36g

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