Southern-Style Hamburgers

2 cups hickory or fruit wood chips
12 slices bacon
2 pounds lean ground beef
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped sweet onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green sweet pepper
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/4 cup mild or hot barbecue sauce
8 hamburger buns, split
Sliced onions
Barbecue sauce (optional)
Purchased pickle mix (optional)
Purchased barbecue beans (optional)
Creamy Coleslaw (optional)

Soak wood chips in enough water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain and set aside.

Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let cool slightly; crumble. Combine bacon, ground beef, beaten eggs, onion, sweet pepper, black pepper, seasoned salt, and sage in a large bowl; mix well. Shape into 6 patties about 1 inch thick.

Prepare grill for indirect grilling. Test for medium-high heat above drip pan. Add wood chips according to grill manufacturer’s directions. Place patties on a lightly oiled rack over the pan. Cover and grill for 18 to 20 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer inserted in centers registers 160°F, turning burgers once. Brush with the 1/4 cup barbecue sauce the last 5 minutes of grilling.

Toast buns on grill rack, if desired.

Serve the burgers on buns with sliced onions and, if desired, additional barbecue sauce. Serve with pickle mix, barbecue beans, and Creamy Coleslaw, if desired.

Makes 6 burgers.

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