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Smoked Juicy Lucy Burgers

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A smoked juicy Lucy burger is a cheesy, messy, wear-a-bib, sort of burger that will make you smile from ear to ear when you taste it. Have plenty of moist towelettes on hand!

What in the world is a smoked Juicy Lucy?

A juicy Lucy is a burger made by placing two thin-ish patties together with lots of cheese between them and then sealing it up. During the cooking process, the cheese gets very melty and well, it's sort of a phenomenon where burgers are concerned.

Most juicy Lucy burgers are grilled but as you know, I really like to smoke meat so I slow smoke the burgers until they are almost done then hit them with a searing hot grill or griddle for a finish that you'll be talking about all week long!

Helpful Information

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Smoker Temp: 225°F (107°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 165°F (74°C)
  • Recommended Wood: Mesquite

What You'll Need

  • 2 lbs Ground Chuck (80/20 lean to fat ratio is best)
  • 4 slices American Cheese
  • 2 TBS Jeff's Texas style rub
  • 4 Brioche Buns
  • 2 TBS Butter (use the real stuff)
  • Pickles, Sliced
  • 1 Large Tomato, Sliced
  • 1 Head of Lettuce, Shredded
  • ¼ Cup Mayonnaise

Step 1: Make the Thin Patties

Use 4 ounces of the ground chuck to make each patty and then flatten them out so they are a little bigger than the bun.

Having said that, there is less shrinkage when smoking at low temperatures vs grilling at higher temperatures so you don't have to worry about it too much as long as they are about bun size.

Flatten them out real good but it's also important that they don't leak so don't over do it.

Also, don't overwork the meat as that will cause it to be tough. Do what you gotta do and no more.

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I made a few by hand and then decided to try out a burger press I purchased ages ago and never used. The burger press made quick work of it!

If you happen to have a burger press, use it. Otherwise, just flatten them out carefully by hand.

If you're having trouble, you can also flatten them out using the bottom of a pan to reduce the chance of a blowout during the cooking process.

If you use the prescribed 4 ounces per patty, you'll have enough ground chuck to make 8 patties which will become 4 smoked juicy Lucy burgers.

Step 2: Add the Cheese

American cheese is the meltiest cheese. It just is.

You can use a different kind of cheese if you prefer but the “meltiness” may vary.

I cut my slices of cheese into quarters and then overlapped 4 of the quarters on top so I could stay away from the edges.

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I've played around with different amounts of cheese and I feel like a whole slice of American cheese is about right.

Step 3: Place the Tops

After laying cheese on 4 of the patties, it's time to top them with the other patties.

Lay the top patty on top of the bottom patty covered with cheese, then crimp the edges to seal. I just sort of pinched the meat together with my fingers to seal but if you have another method, go for it.

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Edges crimped

Give the burgers a quick inspection to make sure they are leak proof, then place them into the fridge until you are ready to cook.

Step 4: Get the Smoker Ready to Go

Since I wanted to sear these on the griddle after I cooked them, I decided to use my Camp Chef Woodwind.

I have the 24 inch wifi model with the 14-inch flattop griddle on the side.. so handy!

As an aside, you can use ANY smoker for these and it will work just fine. preheat the smoker to about 225°F (107°C) and you're ready to cook.

Step 5: Cooking the Juicy Lucy Burgers

Once the smoker was up to temperature, I placed the cheese stuffed burgers directly on the grate for maximum smoke exposure.

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Add some Texas style rub to the top of each one.. this seasoning is PERFECT on burgers!

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Note: If you want to keep your smoker a little cleaner, there's nothing wrong with using a pan with a rack. I often cook burgers this way.

It's a great idea to check the temperature of one of your burgers but it could cause some cheese leakage. Allow one of the burgers to be sacrificial toward this purpose.

You can expect the burgers to take about 45-60 minutes to reach 140°F (60°C) or so which is a great time to move them over to the griddle to finish.

Step 6: Sear the Smoked Juicy Lucy Burgers

If you don't have a griddle, you can use the grill or you can bring them in and hit them with some heat in a really hot iron skillet.

I heated my griddle up to about 500°F (260°C) because I wanted to sear them hot and fast.

Just before the smoked juicy Lucy burgers hit the griddle, I sprayed a little olive oil onto the hot surface.

About 30 seconds on each side was all it took to brown them right up and bam, just like that, the smoked juicy Lucy burgers were ready to go into the house and onto toasted buns.

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You can also toast the buns on the griddle but I was fortunate to have my better half in the house getting those ready.

She buttered both sides and gave them a quick toast in a very hot iron pan

Step 7: Build the Smoked Juicy Lucy Burgers

Smoked juicy Lucy burgers are all about the meat and the ooey-gooey cheese so I recommend keeping them a little more basic than normal and let the main stuff do the talking.

Having said that, you can add whatever the heck you wanna add and it's gonna be the best burger you ever had, hands down!

I did mayo and shredded lettuce on the bottom half of the bun with a slice of tomato on top of that. The burger was placed next and topped with a few pickles and the top half of the bun.

You do you.

And.. the pictures are worth a thousand words:

4.4 from 13 votes

Smoked Juicy Lucy Burgers

A smoked juicy Lucy burger is a cheesy, messy, wear-a-bib, sort of burger that will make you smile from ear to ear when you taste it. Have plenty of moist towelettes on hand!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 2 lbs Ground Chuck (80/20 lean to fat ratio is best)
  • 4 slices American Cheese
  • 2 TBS Jeff's Texas style rub
  • 4 Brioche Buns
  • 2 TBS Butter (use the real stuff)
  • Pickles (Sliced)
  • 1 Large Tomato (Sliced)
  • 1 Head of Lettuce (Shredded)
  • ¼ Cup Mayonnaise


  • Separate ground chuck into 8 equally sized balls.
  • Form thin patties from the meat portions that are about the size of your buns or a little larger.
  • Separate American cheese slices into quarters and overlap four of them (a whole slice) on the top of the bottom patty.
  • Place the top patty over the cheese and crimp the edges to seal the burger closed.
  • Place the burgers in the fridge until ready to cook.
  • Set up smoker for cooking at about 225°F (107°C). If your smoker uses a water pan, fill it up.
  • Once the smoker is ready, place the juicy Lucy burgers directly on the grate or you can use a pan with a rack to reduce cleanup.
  • Smoke the burgers until they are almost done or around 140°F (60°C). Use a Thermapen to check the temperature but pull the probe out slowly and try to close the hole so the cheese does not escape.
  • Heat a griddle or iron skillet to high heat or about 500°F (260°C) ahead of time and once the burgers are ready, give them a sear for about 30 seconds on each side to bring them on up to temperature and brown the surface.
  • I also recommend toasting buttered buns while the burgers are finishing up.
  • Build your smoked juicy Lucy burgers according to how you like them but keep it simple so the cheese and meat can really be the center of attention.
  • Enjoy the cheesy goodness!


I recommend mayo on the bottom followed by shredded lettuce, a slice of tomato, the smoked juicy Lucy burger, a few pickles and the top bun.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Fantastic! We used white American cheese from Publix and grilled a 1/2 inch thick slice of Vidalia onion, then chopped it up as part of the dressing for the burger. Turned out perfectly medium rare just the way we like it! Great recipe.

  2. 5 stars
    Jeff, made them twice now, outstanding. Second time added a strip of crumbled bacon in with the cheese!! My family won’t eat “regular” hamburgers any more. Love your website. Mike

  3. 5 stars
    Jeff, this was an outrageously good meal! I couldn’t believe how well the smoke (oak) and Texas rub flavors came through 😋. Used my Bradley for this one. Everybody loved it.

    1. Bob, I am so stoked that you made this so quickly after getting the recipe😀 Sounds like it was a huge success.

      I have not tried this in the Bradley so I’ll have to give that a try soon. Of course, I’m really just looking for a reason to make more Juicy Lucy burgers🤣

  4. 1 star
    A bunch of crap. Jeff is just trying to promote his own seasoning. Fajita seasoning store bought, cheaper and works and tastes better. Thy it if you don’t believe me