Food & Drink

How To Make Smoke Burger On A Charcoal Grill

December 8, 2022

Craving a restaurant-style smoked burger but don’t have a smoker? No smoker? No problem! This guide will teach you everything you need to know about smoking burgers on your charcoal grill, just like they do in Texas. If you have a pellet grill we recommend you follow Josh’s recipe for smoked burgers.

You will Need The Following Supplies:

  • Charcoal
  • A charcoal lighter
  • Hardwood chips (such as hickory, oak, or mesquite)
  • A digital thermometer
  • Foil for the wood chips
  • Burger patties
  • Salt and pepper
  • A Lid or, if you don’t have one, a Heavy-Duty Aluminium Foil 

STEP 1 Preparing the Grill & Charcoal

To prepare your grill and charcoal, you need to arrange your charcoal in a small stack, light the charcoal with a charcoal starter, and let it burn until the charcoals are covered with white ash. This usually takes 20-30 minutes.

Once the charcoals are ready, arrange them in a single layer on one side of the grill, creating a hot and cold side. This will allow you to control the temperature to cook the burgers over indirect heat.

Now wrap the wood chips in a double layer of heavy-duty aluminum foil to create a pouch. Poke a few holes in the foil pouch to allow smoke to escape. Place the pouch over hot coals to allow the smoke from the wood chips to give a delicious smoky taste.

Now that you have everything in place, we take this time to prepare the patties.

STEP 2 Prepping the Patties

To prep the burger patties for smoking, you will first need to shape the ground beef into patties that are about ¾-inch thick and slightly larger than the diameter of the buns you will be using. You can use a burger press or simply shape the patties by hand.

STEP 3 Flavoring the Burgers

Once the patties are shaped, season them on both sides with salt and pepper. You can also add other seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or your favorite blend of herbs and spices. 

Be sure to handle the patties gently, as overworking the meat can make the burgers tough.

Brush the patties with a little bit of oil to help prevent them from sticking to the grill grate

STEP 4 Smoking the Burgers

When you are ready to cook the burgers, remember that you will want to place the patties on the side of the grill that is not directly over the hot charcoals.

This indirect grilling allows the burgers to cook slowly and evenly over low, steady heat. The hot coals will provide the heat, and the wood chips will provide the smoke, giving the burgers a delicious smoky flavor

Close the lid and let the burgers cook until they are done to your desired level of doneness. 

Use a digital thermometer to check the internal temperature of the burgers to ensure that they are safe to eat.

As a general rule, burgers should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe to eat. At this temperature, the burgers will be cooked through and the heat will have killed any harmful bacteria that may be present in the meat.

The time it takes for a burger to reach this internal temperature is about 10-15 minutes to cook over indirect heat on a medium-hot grill (about 350-375 degrees Fahrenheit) 

Topping Suggestions

There are countless delicious toppings you can use to add flavor and texture to your smoked burgers. Some classic toppings include:

  • Lettuce, tomato, and onion
  • Pickles, ketchup, and mustard
  • Cheese (such as cheddar, American, or Swiss)
  • Bacon
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Caramelized onions
  • Fried eggs
  • Salsa or pico de gallo

You can also get creative and experiment with unique toppings, such as grilled pineapple, jalapeno peppers, or a spoonful of your favorite condiment. 

The key is to use fresh, high-quality ingredients that complement the smoky flavor of the burgers. 

Sides to Serve

Smoked burgers go great with a variety of tasty side dishes. Some classic sides that pair well with burgers include:

  • French fries or onion rings
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Coleslaw or a side salad
  • Baked beans or corn on the cob
  • Pasta salad or potato salad
  • Cornbread or a crusty roll
  • Grilled vegetables or a vegetable platter

You can also serve your burgers with more unique side dishes, such as a fresh fruit salad, quinoa, black bean salad, or roasted sweet potatoes. The possibilities are endless, so feel free to experiment and serve your burgers with your favorite sides.


Smoking a burger on a charcoal grill is a delicious and flavorful way to cook this classic meal.

Cooking on a charcoal grill has several advantages over using a smoker. One of the main advantages is that they are relatively inexpensive and easy to use, making them a popular choice for outdoor cooking. 

And because they don’t require electricity or gas to work, they can be used in many locations, from the backyard to the beach or campsite.

Whether you’re grilling burgers, ribs, or chicken, a charcoal grill can help you create mouthwatering meals that are sure to impress.

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