My husband cooks one thing – burgers. And I happily let him because they’re that good. In fact, people come from miles away to eat his burgers.

I didn’t grow up eating burgers and I’ve never cooked them myself. Even though I was born and raised in the U.S., I don’t crave hamburgers and fries like most. But when it comes to my husband’s burgers, I’m first in line.

We planned to have them on Memorial Day recently. Then I got the brilliant idea to document what he does in order to share his recipe. He said he didn’t mind if I followed him around with my camera, but that “there’s really no recipe.” But there is.


Here’s what he does.

D’s Burgers

Before the burger-making process begins, he adds hot water to a 32-ounce cup filled with hickory chips.


The ground beef he uses is grass fed, 80% lean, 20% fat.


He makes the burgers all 8 ounces each, and 1″ thick.

The patties are formed by gently pressing the meat into shape. He presses a “well” on the tops of the patties.


A generous amount of Worcestershire sauce and coarsely ground pepper are added. Let them sit at room temperature until it’s time to begin grilling.

Then he starts the fire. He will only use charcoal for grilling, and he’s patient with the fire. Neither of us like “charred” or “flame-kissed” burgers.

Only after all of the charcoal is grey, after about 45 minutes, he spreads out the coals and sprinkles on the soaked hickory.

The patties are placed on the grill carefully and cooked for 7 1/2 minutes on that side.

The lid is propped open so that the fire doesn’t get too hot, yet the hickory smoke stays inside the grill.


After the burgers are turned over, more Worcestershire sauce and pepper are added.

After another 7 1/2 minutes, the burgers are ready to eat.


I like mine with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, ketchup and yellow mustard, but they would be fantastic any which way!


So, I don’t really know what makes these burgers so delicious. I think the hickory smoke is part of it, the Worcestershire sauce and pepper are part of it, using charcoal briquettes instead of gas, plus cooking only to medium-rare is also part of what makes these so good.


By Published On: June 28th, 201672 Comments on Burgers

About the Author: Chef Mimi

As a self-taught home cook, with many years in the culinary profession, I am passionate about all things food-related. Especially eating!


  1. Nadia June 28, 2016 at 7:14 AM - Reply

    That is a very good looking burger! I love the fact that they are not cooked to death as most meat is in the US.

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 9:39 AM - Reply

      I know. Everyone who has come in to our family has learned to love medium-rare beef!!!

  2. Kiki June 28, 2016 at 7:59 AM - Reply

    Oh my – I can almost smell the hickory, and now I’m craving a burger or two! And how perfectly shaped they are, I have to try to make mine look like that…

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 9:39 AM - Reply

      And trust me, he does nothing else in the kitchen except pour wine!

      • Kiki June 28, 2016 at 1:02 PM


  3. sallybr June 28, 2016 at 8:22 AM - Reply

    Interesting! So no salt at all apart from that given by the Worcestershire… I also love a medium rare burger, perfection!

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 9:38 AM - Reply

      Right. The W. sauce is really salty, as I’m sure you know. I love certain things salty, like popcorn, tomatoes, cukes, but I don’t add salt to these burgers!

  4. Tasty Eats Ronit Penso June 28, 2016 at 8:22 AM - Reply

    Such a wonderful tutorial and great looking burgers! I also love burgers without any additions in the meat itself. No doubt the hickory smoke adds so much flavor. Perfection! :)

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 9:37 AM - Reply

      I agree about the seasoning. Besides, the W. sauce “marinade” really adds flavor!

  5. apuginthekitchen June 28, 2016 at 8:43 AM - Reply

    If you are first in line I’m 2nd. Wow, those burgers look awesome. Your husband knows his burgers. Love how carefully they are made and the tutorial is terrific. 4th of July this is how I will make them. I rarely eat hamburgers but I do love a good burger from time to time.

  6. cheri June 28, 2016 at 9:23 AM - Reply

    such a great idea to use hickory chips when cooking burgers, we have only done that with fish. this burger looks perfectly cooked, I can see why it is such a treat for him to bbq.

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 9:37 AM - Reply

      Sometimes I have thought that he shouldn’t bother, but I really think that’s part of what makes them so fabulous!

  7. The Gourmet Gourmand June 28, 2016 at 10:23 AM - Reply

    Oh. my. goodness. I think I need your husband to teach my husband how to do this. I’ve never seen his method with the hickory chips before. They are perfectly cooked! Youre a lucky lady :)

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 2:37 PM - Reply

      well, maybe twice a year I am!!! (kidding)

  8. Scott June 28, 2016 at 12:39 PM - Reply

    Yes, Mimi, Yes!! LOVE a good rare to med-rare burger especially when it’s grass feed beef.

  9. Julie is Hostess At Heart June 28, 2016 at 2:15 PM - Reply

    I love a good burger and this one looks amazing!

  10. StefanGourmet June 28, 2016 at 2:16 PM - Reply

    These burgers look great, Mimi! I am not a burger person either, but looks like I would love these. I think that besides the hickory smoke/charcoal and medium rare that you already mention, it is also important that the burgers themselves contain nothing but beef, and not too lean. No breadcrumbs, eggs, or onions to mess up the beef flavor.
    P.S. Looks like briquettes instead of charcoal in the photo. Briquettes burn longer but not as hot as charcoal, and seem preferable for this recipe as you’re cooking them 7.5 minutes per side. With real charcoal, they would burn when cooked for that long. Both briquettes and charcoal are better than gas!

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 2:37 PM - Reply

      Good to know. I wonder how I could get my hands on real charcoal?

      • StefanGourmet June 28, 2016 at 4:30 PM

        I’ve looked into it and apparently it is called “lump charcoal” in the US. Unlike briquettes, lump charcoal has irregular shapes (instead of all briquettes having the same shape and size) and is made of pure wood without additives. It is easy to recognize if you look in the bag. If you can’t find it in the store where you’d normally shop for the briquettes, you could order it online.
        This photo shows lump charcoal on the left-hand side and briquettes on the right-hand side.

      • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:19 PM

        Thank you. This is very interesting. And I had no idea that the briquettes aren’t charcoal.

      • StefanGourmet June 29, 2016 at 1:05 AM

        That is probably because they are called “charcoal briquettes” in the US, and do contain charcoal.

  11. Loretta June 28, 2016 at 3:49 PM - Reply

    Wow, now there’s a burger if ever you saw one. Your husband is surely a great hamburger maker. I like the idea of the hickory chips too. The medium-rare is one I would probably go for too, otherwise it tastes too well done in my opinion. I’m not much of a hamburger person myself, but do enjoy the occasional treat from time to time. Thanks for sharing :)

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:21 PM - Reply

      I don’t know if it’s just that my mother never made them or what. I was born and raised in the US, but I am just not enamored with burgers like most Americans.

  12. Lisa @ cheergerm June 28, 2016 at 3:54 PM - Reply

    Those burgers look tops, the hickory smoke is a great idea. (Someone needs to pour the wine. And hopefully, wash up?)

  13. eliotthecat June 28, 2016 at 3:56 PM - Reply

    “A 32-oz. cup”….that wouldn’t be a Joe’s cup, would it? We were going to do all brats and sausages for the Fourth. You have me rethinking that…

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:19 PM - Reply

      okay, sorry, but what’s a joe’s cup?!!

      • eliotthecat July 2, 2016 at 5:52 PM

        Sorry….Eskimo Joe’s…..or Hideaway….or any pub anymore…..trying this burger tonight!

      • chef mimi July 2, 2016 at 10:19 PM


  14. Marisa's Italian Kitchen June 28, 2016 at 5:40 PM - Reply

    If only I could reach out trough the computer screen and grab that burger! Looks amazing, and our husbands sound a lot alike :) :)

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:18 PM - Reply

      Does your husband only cook one thing too?!!

      • Marisa's Italian Kitchen June 28, 2016 at 10:29 PM

        He can maybe cook a few more things but ONLY if he is barbecuing. He does make a great cup of coffee but then again it is an automatic coffee machine…lol :)

  15. aranislandgirl June 28, 2016 at 6:17 PM - Reply

    Simply gorgeous! When I read step one, soak hickory chips, I was sold. How generous to share this recipe. I agree with real charcoal all the way and being patient while the fire reaches perfection. Really impressed by the simplicity of the recipe, yet it’s unique and has beautiful flavours…goes to prove that sometimes less is more!

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:17 PM - Reply

      I agree! Love the hickory, the charcoal, and the simplicity of the recipe!

  16. hotlyspiced June 28, 2016 at 8:17 PM - Reply

    Those burgers look fantastic. How wonderful that your husband is able to do such a good job of making burgers! I love the thickness of the pattie. In Oz we add beetroot and often pineapple and sometimes fried eggs to our burgers! xx

    • chef mimi June 28, 2016 at 8:17 PM - Reply

      hmm. I understand everything but the pineapple? well I should try it before I judge!

  17. Abbe Odenwalder June 28, 2016 at 9:23 PM - Reply

    I wish your husband would make my burgers. Truth is, I don’t eat burgers anymore, but these may make me rethink that! Now I will forward this on to my husband!

    • chef mimi July 1, 2016 at 7:14 AM - Reply

      They’ve just never appealed to me, and I would never get them at a restaurant!

  18. anotherfoodieblogger June 28, 2016 at 9:27 PM - Reply

    We like ours cooked medium rare too, and yes on the Worcesershire! Along with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. Sometimes we use mesquite or hickory charcoal lumps that Stefan showed you, but it’s usually just propane (at home) and regular charcoal (at our coastal RV property). Thanks for sharing Mimi!!!

  19. anotherfoodieblogger June 28, 2016 at 9:28 PM - Reply

    Oh dang, sorry spell check Kathryn! Worcestershire, lol!

  20. Frank Fariello June 29, 2016 at 6:54 AM - Reply

    Those burgers are done to a turn… with the July 4 weekend looming, they look like just the ticket.

  21. Food Meanderings June 29, 2016 at 7:07 AM - Reply

    That is quite the burger production – wow! Those look very yummy. Although I am always nervous about

  22. Food Meanderings June 29, 2016 at 7:08 AM - Reply

    Ooops- pressed send before I meant to! I am always nervous about eating ground beef before it’s cooked through…

    • chef mimi June 29, 2016 at 4:06 PM - Reply

      I don’t know what to say. I guess you must trust your sources for meats!

  23. Gerlinde de Broekert June 29, 2016 at 8:48 AM - Reply

    My husband is the grillmeister in my family and does not like being told what to do. He uses a gas grill. I love the looks of your hamburger and the idea of adding Worcester sauce.

  24. chezlerevefrancais June 29, 2016 at 12:44 PM - Reply

    They look fabulous!

  25. Laura @ Feast Wisely June 29, 2016 at 10:26 PM - Reply

    I too love having a husband with skills in the kitchen that I don’t share – mine makes sauerkraut and yoghurt and he would go crazy for these burgers. Thanks Chef Mimi!

    • chef mimi June 30, 2016 at 6:50 AM - Reply

      Sauerkraut and yogurt! Nice! Definitely have him try these burgers!

  26. Our Growing Paynes June 30, 2016 at 11:31 AM - Reply

    I love Worcestershire sauce in my burgers. The hickory smoke is brilliant. I’ll have to try that some time.

  27. dianeskitchentable June 30, 2016 at 2:50 PM - Reply

    Now that’s how you make a great burger. I think you’re right – combination of the hickory smoke, real charcoal, and the Worcestershire sauce. I think the only thing I would add is a slice of bread and butter pickle on top.

    • chef mimi June 30, 2016 at 4:28 PM - Reply

      I’ve been told that briquettes aren’t the same as pure charcoal, but I call it charcoal.

  28. Francesca July 1, 2016 at 1:20 AM - Reply

    I love the idea of the hickory. Clever man!

  29. Cocoa & Lavender July 1, 2016 at 7:44 AM - Reply

    That does look like one amazing burger! We don’t use charcoal any longer, so I hope this can translate, in some way, to a gas grill.

    • chef mimi July 1, 2016 at 8:03 AM - Reply

      I’m sure it does, but I would have no idea. I’m not allowed to own and use one. But we both dislike “burnt” burgers, and I know he really lets the heat die down before even putting on the burgers.

  30. Ginger July 1, 2016 at 8:13 AM - Reply

    Delicious! I love the expression ‘flame-kissed’ – so much better than ‘burnt, and probably half raw inside’…

  31. SweetRevelations July 3, 2016 at 9:40 PM - Reply

    This is a good looking burger! I’m medium rare all the way too. Your husband has got this down perfectly!

  32. myhomefoodthatsamore July 4, 2016 at 5:23 AM - Reply

    Gorgeous, simply gorgeous. I never knew about the worcestershire sauce!

    • chef mimi July 4, 2016 at 7:03 AM - Reply

      I have actually never used it on anything else. It just is in the fridge waiting for burger time!

  33. gypsygurl64 July 4, 2016 at 10:07 AM - Reply

    I don’t guess I’m enamored with burgers but I love a good burger. I don’t eat burgers out alot because they don’t taste the same. My dad was a butcher so he didn’t feel a good cut of beef needed much seasoning except salt and pepper. If he used anything else it would be worcestershire sauce.

  34. camparigirl July 4, 2016 at 6:21 PM - Reply

    What is it with men and grilling, I wonder? I also let my husband handle burgers. And steaks.

    • chef mimi July 4, 2016 at 9:44 PM - Reply

      Mine overlooks everything but burgers. So he stays away from everything but the burgers!

  35. pjportes September 20, 2016 at 5:10 AM - Reply

    Mouthwatering & Exquisite :)

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