Sometimes I get a hankering for a nice juicy cheeseburger that my local burger joint just can’t fix. Lucky for me, ground beef, a few spices, and a slice of cheddar cheese is all it takes to “hit the spot.” Is that even a normal saying, or is it one my dad made up? After a tasty meal he would say “well that hit the spot,” and my mom would say “what spot is that?” Either way, the Smoky Cheeseburger definitely hits the spot.
Burgers are great for many reasons, one of those reasons being the versatility of the patty based sandwich. It can be as simple as a straight up hamburger patty on a bun or as complex as the “Sherman Burger,” likely named after the Civil War general, at my local American Legion. If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating a Sherman Burger, it’s two cheeseburger patties, a slice of ham or Canadian bacon, a fried egg, and all the normal burger fixings (lettuce, onion, tomato, etc.). If you haven’t had the pleasure of imbibing at your local American Legion, see if someone you know is a member who may be interested in getting you in the door as a guest of theirs, the drinks are cheap and the people are friendly (pro tip: avoid kareoke night).
Anyway, enough about that, this is a post about cheeseburgers! So, if you have the same hankering I do for a cheeseburger, fire up your smoker and try the Smoky Cheeseburger!
How to Make a Smoky Cheeseburger
As I said before, cheeseburgers are incredibly versatile because you can season it or dress it up however you want. While I’ll tell you how I made mine, feel free to grab whatever seasonings you want or have. The important thing is how the burger is smoked and cooked anyway.
I use chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper as my seasonings. Place the raw ground beef in a mixing bowl and add your dry seasonings. Roll up your sleeves and use your hands start working the seasonings into the meat. Once the seasonings are well incorporated into the meat start shaping into round patties.
Turn your smoker on to the “smoke” setting and let the fire develop for about 15 minutes. This is a great opportunity to session and shape your patties. Once your smoker is well established place the your patties on the smoker, shut the lid and smoke for 15-20 minutes.
After the 15-20 minute smoke, remove your patties from the smoker and raise the temperature to 450 (or turn it to the highest setting, you want it HOT). When it has reached it’s highest temperature place the patties back on and cook for 5 minutes. Flip the patties and cook for 2 and a half minutes before placing your sliced cheese on top. Finish cooking for another 2 and a half minutes. Be as quick as you can flipping and putting the cheese on, you don’t want to lose too much heat opening the smoker.
Once the patties are done cooking (roughly 10 minutes), remove from the smoker and serve on a bun with your preferred fixings. Serve with a classic American cocktail, such as an Old Fashioned!
- Cook times can vary for many reasons, mainly how hot your smoker gets, the thickness of the patty, the diameter of your patty, and your preferred level of doneness; cook to your desired doneness but do your best to flip half way through to ensure an even cook
- Don’t put the cheese on top too early, otherwise it might melt off completely and all that cheesy goodness will get stuck to the bottom of your smoker
- The higher the fat content of your ground beef, the more it will shrink while cooking. I stick to 90-95% lean ground beef to avoid a cheeseburger that’s all bun
- When mixing and shaping your ground beef, only handle long enough to fully mix and shape the patties, over mixing and handling can cause oxidation
- Other ground meats can be used in place of, or mixed in with, ground beef, such as bison, turkey, chicken, or pork; however, be sure to completely cook to whatever is recommended for that type of meat
- Make friends with someone who enjoys sewing. Or, in my case, date someone who’s mom is an expert sewer and you too can have a custom embroidered hot pad! Thanks Jeri!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
- Turn your smoker on to the “smoke” setting and let the fire develop for about 15 minutes.
- Place the raw ground beef in a mixing bowl and add all dry seasonings.
- Mix the seasonings into the meat with your hands.
- Once the seasonings are well incorporated into the meat start shaping into round patties.
- Once your smoker is well-established place your patties on the smoker, shut the lid, and smoke for 15-20 minutes.
- After the 15-20 minute smoke, remove your patties from the smoker and raise the temperature to its hottest setting.
- When it has reached its highest temperature place the patties back on and cook for 5 minutes.
- Flip the patties and cook for 2 and a half minutes before placing your sliced cheese on top.
- After placing the cheese on finish cooking for another 2 and a half minutes.
- Once the patties are cooked, remove them from the smoker and serve them on a bun with your preferred fixings.