Smokehouse Barbecue Hamburger Recipe for your Grill

Our smokehouse barbecue hamburger recipe calls for both direct and indirect cooking methods to attain wonderful smoke flavored, big, juicy hamburgers. You'll win endless praise at your tailgate party with the three secrets we've learned for perfect smokehouse style hamburgers...

  1. Smoke
  2. Start the meat over the heat side first, then finish on the cooler side of the grill.
  3. Keep the recipe simple!

We believe that..."Barbecue is the Mystical Communion of Fire, Smoke and Meat" 

"The 6 Secrets to Smoking Meat"

  1. Great Meat
  2. Great Spices
  3. Great Tools (grill, tongs, thermometers, etc...)
  4. Heat Control
  5. Timing
  6. Smoke

Here's the stuff you'll need:

Gas/charcoal grill  For this barbecue hamburger recipe, a gas grill, with at least two burners, is preferable for indirect cooking. For the charcoal grill, any well made kettle type grill (our very favorite is the Weber), or a sturdy classic horizontal charcoal grill, will work great. Be certain you have plenty of charcoal, for the duration! Any type of charcoal grill will require that you place the coals off to one side.

Meat  We have found that ground beef (not hamburger) offers the most flavor for the money, for this barbecue hamburger recipe. Buy the 85% to 87% lean if you can.

Spices  Our barbecue hamburger recipe uses a simple rub with these basic fresh ingredients:

  • Salt
  • Pepper, black (fresh ground!)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

Go to our Dry Rub Recipes for more on rub preparation.

Hardwood chunks/chips  Use only hardwood for any grill. For this barbecue hamburger recipe we like Hickory, Mesquite, or a combination.

Smoker box, or pouch  Some grills come with a Barbeque Smoker Box for the wood chips, but if your cooker does not have one, just make an envelope/pouch from heavy-duty aluminum foil, and put a couple of handfuls of pre-soaked (in hot water for about 10-15 minutes) chips on the foil. Fold into an envelope/pouch shape, and poke several holes in the top to release the smoke.

Tongs/Spatula  Always use tongs (or a spatula for burgers)! A meat fork pokes holes in your meat and lets the juices escape. You need a darn good pair of tongs to handle most barbecued meat. Long and strong is the secret. Two excellent choices, that will keep your paws out of the fire, are the Lodge Camp Dutch Oven 16-Inch Stainless Steel Tongs, and the Oxo Good Grips 16-Inch Locking Tongs.

As for a spatula, most that come with a BBQ set are rather flimsy, so we prefer a professional, long handled, high grade stainless steel type, like the Weber Professional-Grade Stainless-Steel Spatula.

Instant-Read probe type thermometer  To ensure the hamburger has not over cooked (the bane of all cooks), and reached its ideal temperature of 160°F/71°C, we use the fast reading CDN Proaccurate Stainless Digital Thermometer. It is the choice of many "pros" due to its accuracy and stainless steel construction. The only instant-read thermometer that that we know to be faster, and another choice of professionals, is the Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen - Instant Read Thermometer, Perfect for Barbecue, Home and Professional Cooking

Chimney Charcoal Starter  For the charcoal grill folks, this is the best way to start, and maintain, the coals. If you've never used one of these ingenious tools, you're going to love the experience! Our favorite top performer is the Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter. Lot of chimney starters out there, but this is the champ.

Good Strong Buns  Like a Kaiser Roll. This barbecue hamburger recipe produces very juicy burgers...These beauties are hefty!

For this barbecue hamburger recipe, this simple rub is all you need!

Smokehouse Barbecue Hamburger Rub

Mix together thoroughly the following:

  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper, black (fresh ground!)
  • 2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 tsp Onion Powder

Let's prepare the meat. You'll need...

  • 2lb./.9kg ground beef
  • 3-4 tblsp of your favorite smokey barbecue sauce
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp black Pepper

NOTE:You can prepare this barbecue hamburger recipe a day or two ahead of "grill time". Just separate the patties with plastic wrap, and keep in the refrigerator until you are ready to party!

  1. Knead all of the ingredients thoroughly, but don't over-work the meat (makes it tough).
  2. Form four patties about 1" thick. Use your thumb to press a deep dimple in the center to allow the hamburger to finish without the dome.
  3. Sprinkle the rub on both sides of the patties.

Get the Grill Ready...

  • Gas Grill - Place the smoker box/pouch on the cooking grate, directly over a burner (left or right side) . Fire-up all burners on high, and cover the grill, until the smoke gets going. Now shut down all but the primary burner.
  • Charcoal Grill - Light 60-100 coals, and when they turn grey, place the coals off to one side. This provides a hot searing side and a cooler, indirect, cooking side. Place the hardwood chunks/chips directly on the coals. Replace the cooking grate and close the cover to allow the smoke to get going.

Cook 'Em...

Gas Grill - Place the patties over the "hot" burner to sear each side. Close the lid, and cook the meat until nice and brown (approx. 4 minutes per side). Keep the smoker box/pouch over the heat. After searing, move burgers to the cooler side, close the lid, and cook until they are done the way you like them (3-5 minutes should do it).

NOTE: Please, do not use a charcoal lighter fluid. There are several good "fire-starters" on the market that will not taint the meat, or impart potentially dangerous chemicals to the food.

Charcoal Grill - Place the burgers over the coals (to sear them), close lid and cook until nice and brown (approx. 3-4 minutes per side). You can now move the meat to the cooler side, close the cover, and finish cooking them until done (3-5 minutes).

  • When the burgers are done, place on a plate, or platter, and cover with foil. You want to let the meat "rest" for about 5 minutes before serving (this allows the juices to return to the center of the burger).

Serve 'em!...

With a great comfort food like our Real Macaroni and Cheese Recipe. A rich, authentic, macaroni and cheese recipe that blows that mac-and-cheese-in-a-box stuff away. This is our cool-weather barbecue and "tailgater" smash hit.

Or...Cowboy Beans. You want that authentic cowboy beans flavor without cooking for hours? Try our interpretation of these BBQ beans that have proven a true crowd-pleaser, and will have them beggin' for the recipe.

Lets eat!

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