Smoked Steakhouse Burger

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We’re taking the all-American hamburger to the next level with this masterpiece.

If you love a good ole hamburger, you and your friends are going to flip for this one. If you don’t have a smoker, don’t fret, the flavors are still amazing when cooked on a grill. Serve with homemade french fries or homemade onion rings for a summertime feast you won’t soon forget!

A straight-on view of a smoked steakhouse burger topped with melty provolone cheese and crispy onion strips and a layer of steak sauce aioli on the bottom bun.

How To Make Smoked Steakhouse Burger

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The Tools and Ingredients You Will Need

If you don’t have a smoker, you can certainly cook the burger on the grill. To make the perfect burger, here’s what you’ll need to have on hand:

The Tools

Meat Grinder – Freshly ground meat makes an amazing difference in the taste and texture of your burger.
Smoker – We love our electric Smokin’ Tex and use it constantly. However, any type of smoker or grill works wonderfully.
Wood chips – We prefer Hickory for beef, but go with your favorite.
Instant-Read Meat Thermometer – This is a must for ensuring your burgers are perfectly cooked.

The Ingredients

Beef – Preferably freshly ground Wagyu. Ground sirloin, brisket, or beef short ribs are great, too.
Seasoning – You can go with a homemade BBQ beef rub, or simply use a combination of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder.
Steak sauceHomemade is the absolute best. But, in a pinch, pick up some top-notch steak sauce and use it.
MayonnaiseHomemade is great, but quality store-bought is perfectly fine.
Onion – Cut into small strips.
Buttermilk – Chilled.
Flour – All-purpose.
Seasonings – Salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper.
Cheese – Sliced Provolone is recommended. Cheddar, Colby, or Gouda are all great choices, too.
Oil – Vegetable or canola. Enough for frying in a skillet.
Buns – Brioche is our favorite. You could go with homemade, but whatever is your favorite will work perfectly.
Butter – Unsalted and softened for buttering the buns.

EXPERT TIP: If possible, use a kitchen scale to weigh your hamburger meat before forming it into patties. This will ensure every hamburger cooks evenly. We find that a third-pound (⅓ lb) burger makes an ideal hamburger. Liberally apply steak sauce after about 30 to 45 minutes of smoking. And then finish the burger off on the grill with a slice of your favorite cheese.

Two images with the first being a person slathering on steak sauce on to a burger on a smoker grate and then a person placing a circular piece of provolone cheese onto the same burger.

Tips For Making the Perfect Smoked Steakhouse Burger

Grind Your Meat – If you don’t have a meat grinder, go to your local butcher and ask him to grind you top-notch beef such as Wagyu, top sirloin, beef short ribs, or brisket. Freshly ground makes a HUGE difference.

Make the Steak SauceHomemade steak sauce is easier to make than you think and it brings up the flavor profile considerably.

Don’t Fry the Onions Too Far in Advance – Don’t fry the onions more than an hour before you plan on serving them. They will lose some of the appealing “crunch” the longer they sit after being fried.

Watch the Internal Temperature of the Burgers – When you finish the burger off on the grill, the patty will continue to cook. For a perfectly ‘medium’ burger, take the patties out of the smoker when they hit 135°F. Remember, a digital thermometer makes all the difference!

EXPERT TIP: It’s easy to fry the onion strips up in a sturdy skillet that is about 1/2 filled with vegetable oil. Don’t overfill the skillet because the hot oil may overflow, which is dangerous. Once they are golden and crispy, add them to a plate lined with paper towels and hit them with a little coarse sea salt.

A close-up view of a metal slotted spatula raising crispy fried onion strips from a skillet filled with hot oil.

How To Serve

Because the burgers take about an hour and a half to get to 145°F, that gives you time to make the steak sauce and fry the onion strips. However, the steak sauce can be made up to several days in advance. We like to double the recipe for the sauce and serve extra for guests to apply more to their burger, if desired.

You definitely want to fry the onions within about an hour (or less) of serving the burgers. You want them to remain extra crispy. If grilling the burgers (and not smoking) the cooking time will be much less. You’ll need to prepare the steak sauce in advance. You can prep the onions all the way up to frying them up to several hours in advance of serving the burgers.

Toasting the buttered buns on the grill, along with the burgers adds a nice toasty flavor to them, which adds to the overall taste profile and texture.

When serving a crowd, we place all of the components of the burgers on platters and in bowls and let guests build their own burgers.

A close-up view of a smoked steakhouse burger that has a pile of fried onion strips sitting on top of melty provolone cheese and the top bun resting off to the side.

Other Amazing Burger Recipes to Try

Who doesn’t love a good burger? There are many ways to prepare a delicious hamburger, and here is a collection of some of our all-time favorites:

Mushroom Swiss Burger
Black and Bleu Burger
Bulgogi Burger with Easy Kimchi
Best-Ever Gourmet Sliders
Big Mac (Copycat)
Curry Turkey Burger with Grilled Pineapple
Grilled Salmon Burger
World’s Best Veggie Burger
California-Style Plant-Based Burger

These are some of the best hamburgers in the world, without a doubt. But, in the meantime, isn’t this bad boy calling your name?

An overhead view of a smoked steakhouse burger sitting on a wooden cutting board with another similar burger in the background.

If you are ready to up the burger game, this is the burger for you.

Smoking imparts an amazing flavor to the beef, but, if you don’t have a smoker, cooking the burgers on the grill is still amazing.

Remember, the homemade steak sauce and fried onions take the burger to the next level. Every bite is a flavor sensation.

A straight-on view of a smoked steakhouse burger that is topped with fried onion strips that has a bite taken out of it and is sitting on a cutting board.

By the way, watch Kris and Wesley battle it out in our first-ever Burger Challenge!


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Now, ready to make one of the best burgers of all time? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

A straight-on view of a smoked steakhouse burger topped with melty provolone cheese and crispy onion strips and a layer of steak sauce aioli on the bottom bun.

Smoked Steakhouse Burger

Smoked Steakhouse Burger is a true explosion of flavor. To take your burger to the next level, grind top-quality cuts of beef, make the steak sauce from scratch (it's easy), and if possible, smoke them to just barely medium (they'll finish cooking on the grill). Burger perfection!
Print Pin Rate
Course: Lunch / Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: how to smoke a hamburger, smoked burger recipe
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 768kcal

Equipment

Ingredients

  • lbs beef preferably freshly ground Wagyu or top sirloin
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup steak sauce double the recipe, homemade is best
  • cup mayonnaise
  • 4 slices Provolone cheese
  • 4 Brioche buns
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter

For the Fried Onion Strips

  • 1 medium onion cut into thin strips
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Instructions

  • Place the onions in a bowl and cover with the buttermilk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, if possible.
    1 medium onion, 1 cup buttermilk
  • Form the hamburger into third-pound patties (about 5.3 oz each). Liberally season with salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder on both sides.
    1½ lbs beef, Salt and pepper, 1 tsp onion powder, 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Smoke the patties until an internal temperature reaches 135°F, usually about an hour and a half. (You'll flip the patties and slather them with steak sauce after about 45 minutes).
  • Meanwhile, make the steak sauce (click on the link for the recipe).
    1 cup steak sauce
  • In a large sturdy skillet, add enough oil to fill it about halfway. Heat the oil to 350°F.
    vegetable oil
  • On a platter, mix together the flour, salt, paprika, and cayenne with a fork until completely combined. Remove the onions from the buttermilk, allowing excess buttermilk to drip off of them. Dredge them through the flour mixture until coated.
    1¼ cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp Kosher salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp garlic powder, ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • Working in batches, carefully lower the breaded onion strips into the hot oil and fry until golden and very crispy. Remove with a metal slotted spoon/spatula/spider and place a plate that is lined with paper towels. Sprinkle salt over the freshly fried onion strips. Repeat with remaining onions.
  • After about 45 minutes of smoking, slather the tops of the patties with steak sauce and then flip them. Slather on more sauce and continue smoking until they reach 135°F.
  • Mix together the mayonnaise with 2 tbsp of the steak sauce. Set aside.
    ⅓ cup mayonnaise
  • Crank your grill to high heat. Butter the buns.
    4 Brioche buns, 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Transfer the smoked patties from the smoker to the grill and close the grill lid (if possible). Grill over direct heat for about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the burgers, add the cheese slices, and place the buns on the hot grates. Cook until the cheese has melted and the buns are toasty, about another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove hamburgers and buns.
    4 slices Provolone cheese
  • To build the burgers, add a healthy slather of the steak sauce/mayo mixture on the bottom bun, then add a cooked hamburger patty, a pile of fried onion strips, and top with the toasted bun top. Serve at once with additional steak sauce on the side.

Notes

See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel. 
If you don't have a smoker, you can cook these burgers on your grill. You'll get a little smokiness from the flames caused by the juicy burgers.
To finish off the smoked burgers, it's best to give them a quick high-heat sear on your grill or a super hot cast-iron skillet. 
The steak sauce can be made several days in advance. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to use.  

Nutrition

Calories: 768kcal | Carbohydrates: 89g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 307mg | Sodium: 899mg | Potassium: 877mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1698IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 323mg | Iron: 7mg
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