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Best Smoked Burger – Texas, Memphis, to KC

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There are many ways to smoke a burger unless perhaps Cheech and Chong had a better concept in the mid-70s. But we’re talking about the ultimate ways to smoke a burger through good old-fashioned BBQ grill tips. If you want to learn some serious smoking tricks from around the country, here is your brief introduction to smoked burger tricks.

Is it more than just grilling?

Hamburger patties on grill

Everyone who likes cooking on a barbecue knows that real smoky flavor comes from outdoor grilling. But according to some professionals across the US, they have some classic ideas that make an ordinary burger turn into the ultimate gotta-have-it smoked burger recipe. Each state has its fair share of talented pitmasters who know how to get these amazing flavors, so strap yourself in, it’s gonna be a wild ride!

Texas-Style

The Lone Star State has a lot to offer when it comes to smoked burgers, and not every method is the same. One thing for sure is that you start with a choice brisket that will be the main source of your hamburger meat. There’s going to be a certain amount of trimming of fat so that you get at least a 70/30 mix of meat to fat. The rest of the fat, you’ll likely render down into tallow.

Once you grind the meat and fat together using a 10.5-millimeter grinder die and grind what you need. After this, you’ll season the ground beef and regrind this mix using a 4.5-millimeter die. Spicing up your ground beef before the second grind it’s time to add roasted garlic, marinated chipotle peppers, and adobo sauce. Once you get the second grind, you don’t need to worry much about further seasoning until you’re ready to grill.

When it comes time for grilling, make sure your hamburger patties are chilled for at least half an hour beforehand. Season with salt and pepper mix on both sides and put them on the grill. For these burgers, you’re reverse searing and using Oak splits to get the smoky flavor. Since the burgers are smoked first, it’s important to point out that they’re being smoked on the offset portion of the grill. After this, the burgers go onto a flat grill griddle for searing.

Memphis-Style

Memphis style is not always a direct meat mixture and can differ from chef to chef. Some say that this meat mixture is a combination of beef and pork, while die-hard pitmasters are using a combination of short rib, chuck, and brisket to make their patties. For sure the main point is to have butcher burgers which are also a combination of beef chuck, brisket, and short rib. The important thing is to have these patties chilled before grilling.

Seasoning can include onion powder, salt, and pepper but the sauce itself is something that can be added to the burgers as they grill. As you might already know, Memphis BBQ sauce will have that unmistakable vinegar zing, so be sure to hunt down a reliable Memphis BBQ sauce. When it comes to grinding, you may need to add extra fat to your meat mix to get a 70/30 mix unless your brisket has been trimmed before you get it.

Grilling and smoking is another story since Memphis BBQ is commonly using Hickory hardwood. It’s perfectly fine if you use apple, cherry, or pecan although hickory works wonders on meat, especially if your meat mixture has any pork mixed into the mixture. Smoking is the first part to get a deep and rich smoky flavor and then finished off with a flat grill to sear both sides of each burger and then is coated with your favorite BBQ sauce.

KC-Style

What you may not know is that Kansas City has something called steak burgers. These are typically prepared using the sear method and are seared on the outside before being placed onto the offset side of the grill. The meat itself is very simple and uses 1-1 mixture of ground chuck beef with sirloin which is why it’s considered a steak burger. The seasoning is added right before you grill and is just Kosher salt with fresh ground black pepper.

Kansas City is known for its sweet and tangy hamburger sauce, so you’ll also want to add this to your burgers afterward. As for the smoking method, you should use apple and hickory wood that is used after your burgers are seared. The searing is the most important part to seal in the juices, but after that, you can smoke them to perfection on the offset grill.

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