MGoBBQ: Smoked Cheeseburgers

Submitted by GoBlueBBQ on September 11th, 2014 at 9:00 AM



[ED (Seth): Again I explain the new feature. We picked up Joe Pichey from MMMGoBluBBQ to share his tailgating recipies. We can do this now because Stubb's offered to sponsor it. This is one of those things where we really liked their BBQ sauce, and it turned out their CEO really likes this blog, and we like Joe's recipes, and any real expenses are covered by our cardiovascular systems.]



I need something spicy to rid this bad taste in my mouth. Maybe something XXX-TRA spicy will do the trick. A few months ago, I decided to try smoking  (reverse sear) my burgers instead of the usual grilling method and just like my cousin Nick said when he visited Columbus a few years ago, “I WILL NEVER GO BACK”.  This is my favorite way to make burgers, hands down! Trust me on this, you will not regret giving this a try. If you are not into super juicy and flavorful burgers, this recipe is not for you, otherwise, read on. 


• 85/15 or 80/20 Ground beef (Yes, use the fatty stuff)
• Cheese (Your choice) I like Swiss or White Cheddar
• Pretzel Bun or Onion Bun
• Stubbs Hatch Chili Marinade to taste
• Condiments of your choice

[Prepare thineself for preparation, then hit THE JUMP.]

It’s time to set up your smoker or grill for indirect heat. While the grill is heating up to 250 degrees, start mixing your ground beef with your marinade. Use as much or as little as you’d like, depending on your heat level preference. I poured half a bottle in the 1.5 lbs of ground beef along with a little salt and pepper. Form into 1/3 to ½ pound patties and make a dimple in the middle of the patty with your thumb. This is very important.


This will help keep it flat during the extended cooking process.  The larger patties are needed so that they can smoke for a bit and still retain their spicy juices.  If they are too small, the burgers will finish before getting any smoky flavor. The reason we are using the fattier meat (85/15 or 80/20) is due to the longer cooking time. The meat will lose some juices over the 45-minute cook, so we need a little more fat. The more fat, the more flavor we will have in the finished burger. FAT IS FLAVOR!

Once your smoker/grill is up to temp, add some hickory wood chunks. Hickory pairs perfectly with red meat and will not be overpowering or leave a bitter taste. Add the burgers to the smoker/grill and kick your feet up with a good cigar. These tasty treats are about 45 minutes from completion.

After about 30 minutes, grab your trusty thermometer and give it a poke. We are looking for an internal temperature of 140-150 degrees. I like mine medium, with a little pink in the middle, but If you prefer yours a little less or more well done, adjust the cooking time accordingly. I added some Sticky Sweet BBQ sauce to help offset some of the heat from the Hatch Chili Marinade. The combo of these two sauces is very tasty. After a few minutes, the sauce seeps into the burger and adds some extra juiciness.


After about 40 minutes, we should be nearing the 140-145 degree internal temperature mark. Remove the top on the grill and let the charcoal flare up. This is where I add my cheese. I like to finish them over an open flame to get some char on the meat.


This will also get the temp up to a “perfect pink centered” medium. Leave the meat over the flame for about 60 seconds. Once the cheese is melted, pull the burgers and let them rest for about 7-10 minutes. This will help keep the juiciness and also satisfy the meat temp sticklers that claim “instant death” if we don’t cook it to 165 degrees. LET IT REST! If you like to crisp up your buns, toss em on the grill for a few seconds. I love a crusty bun!


Top with you favorite condiments and you are ready to roll. This is my new favorite way to cook a great burger. Even if you don't like the heat of the Hatch Chili marinade, give this method a try using just meat, seasoning and cheese. I promise, you will not be disappointed in your smoked (reverse sear) burger.



September 11th, 2014 at 9:24 AM ^

I think you should reconsider that perspective.  Its never a matter of need, its a matter of want.  Everything is better with bacon!!!   And no, I personally don't think pretzel buns are highly overrated.  Done right, they are sturdy enough to hold a lot of toppings on a burger, yet soft enough not to squeeze everything out of it when you bite into the burger.  Done wrong...its quite a mess.


September 11th, 2014 at 9:55 AM ^

I'm a less is more person when it comes to burgers that are prepared with this kind of attention to detail.  I think bacon would just overpower the flavor of the meat.  Every time I have a pretzel bun I feel like I have to tear at it with my teeth and the burger just ends up sliding everywhere.  I'm good with a nice toasted bun.

UM Fan in Nashville

September 11th, 2014 at 9:24 AM ^

Is Stubbs available nationally, more importantly Nashville, TN?  I might have to start trying some of these rubs, marinades and sauces.  Anything with the MgoBlog sign of approval is a must try.  

The Green Egg will get extensive use this fall!


September 11th, 2014 at 9:34 AM ^

the best store bought BBQ sauce I've ever had. They've got a variety of different flavors that are all amazing. I would personally recommend the Sweet Heat (if you like something with a bit of bite but not too much), Spicy (for those that do like a kick), or the Smokey Mesquite. Also, these sauces are made with no HFCS which is just an added bonus.

To answer your question I've been able to find it in Texas, Oklahoma and Ohio, so its pretty widespread. Seems that you might have better luck finding it at a higher end grocery store.

UM Fan in Nashville

September 11th, 2014 at 12:18 PM ^

Awesome!  I'm definitely giving this stuff a real try (for me that means buying about 20+ different options they have... or all of it).   I LOVE to BBQ on the Egg and when you find a solid product, like Stubbs seems to be, it enhances everything about standing by that grill for hours (Thank you outdoor TV!).  

Thanks for the info, i'll check out Publix, Kroger and Harris Teeter down here.  Fingers crossed.  If not, i'll just order online!  

Stubbs, just kicking out an idea for you, blueberry bbq sauce made with real Michigan Blueberries called Go BlueBBQ!    


Go BlueBBQ!!!


September 11th, 2014 at 11:20 AM ^

I love these posts.  

And do not, I repeat DO NOT go to the MMMGoBluBBQ site before lunch.  

I saw those pork tenderloin sliders last week and I really want to make those this weekend. Saturday is out with the 4 hour drive each way to AA.  I'd probably be better off making the sliders than watching the Miami (NTM) slaughter / fleecing of the fanbase.


September 11th, 2014 at 9:32 AM ^

I love that y'all are doing this. I've been wanting to start smoking meat and this is very helpful for a newb.

How is your grill so clean though?!?

swan flu

September 11th, 2014 at 9:42 AM ^

I usually pass on burgers, I often find them bland and boring.


But damned if Im not going to go buy all these fucking ingredients today and smoke me a burger.




September 11th, 2014 at 9:43 AM ^

Poeple always get surprised that you should use fatty ground beef for burgers - the fat falls through the grill! If you don't get 80/20 you'll just cook all the flavor out of the beef. Save the 95/5 stuff for meatballs, get the cheap ground chuck for good burgers!


September 11th, 2014 at 10:00 AM ^

Our schedule was pretty tight; I figured during the day Thursday at least gives people time if they want to pick up ingredients on the way home to do this for Saturday, but during the day has so much football content I didn't want to interrupt it.

Like a radio hour of funk on a classic rock channel, it is appreciated content for those who know to come by in the morning for it, and doesn't fling it in the face of people who didn't come for it.

But I can be convinced to move the schedule around. I don't want to do it for lunch hour because that's just mean.

rob f

September 11th, 2014 at 11:54 AM ^

Shouldn't it be labeled with the warning "NSFH"  (Not Safe For Health) ? 

That said, I'm gonna do a practice run on the recipe this evening, with the idea of having it down right before taking the risk of screwing it up on the golf course Saturday.  I'll just pop a few extra fish oil and flax oil capsules each day the rest of the week to do battle with all the bad cholestrol.


September 11th, 2014 at 11:07 AM ^

For the meat temp sticklers- it is a very common misconception that the only way to kill all bacteria is to cook meat to an internal temp of 165. The reason the FDA recommends this temperature is because that is the point at which bacteria is INSTANTLY killed. At lower temps you can still kill all bacteria, it will just take longer. For example, if you cook it to 145 and hold it there for a solid 30 minutes you should be fine.

EZ Bud

September 11th, 2014 at 11:15 AM ^

I tried the pork tenderloin sliders recipe, and it was amazing. By far the best thing that happened last Saturday. Looks like I may have to make a weekly routine of  trying the Thursday recipes. 


September 11th, 2014 at 11:45 AM ^

I'm doing this Saturday. I smoked eight racks of ribs last week. Stubbs sweet heat is a great sauce. Great to reheat ribs with wrapped in foil at 250 degrees for 45 minutes.

Da Fino

September 11th, 2014 at 11:51 AM ^

As you can tell, this is my first post to mgoblog.  I've been an avid reader for many years now and have never felt compelled to comment until today.  The reason for this is because I would like to let the site administrators know that these BBQ posts, while useful and delicious-looking, are ads for Stubb's sauce.  Now, the people around these parts have consistently lamented the Dave Brandonification of Michigan athletics and for good reason.  I know its a small thing, and I am bracing myself for the comments on this post, but turning this blog into a marketing vehicle for any product, regardless of whether or not "we really liked their BBQ sauce", doesn't seem right in the same way that neon yellow jerseys don't seem right.  Just my opinion.


September 11th, 2014 at 11:58 AM ^

Brian runs a business that doesn't charge for tickets, or PSLs, or get a huge check from the BTN for $25M+ every year.  This is his business.  

Dave Brandon charges for tickets, PSLs, and get TV money.

If you are too stupid to understand the difference, maybe you should go to a different site.  Let me suggest;


September 11th, 2014 at 12:23 PM ^

What the fuck is wrong with you.

Why don't you write and produce your own blog then (which involves hiring multiple employees, some of whom have families of their own, not to mention supporting yourself while working what I would imagine is a good 60-80 hours weekly), don't charge people to read it, and have a strict no advertising policy on it and THEN tell Brian not to make money on his blog.


September 11th, 2014 at 12:10 PM ^

and that's fine.  Folks will get backlash for that from time to time and it is just the nature of the blog.  However, I do find it interesting that after being an avid reader for many years, this is the topic that breaks your silence.  All the other possible topics that you could weigh in on, and you chose this one.  Wow.