Looking for a vegetarian option for grilling to replace that burger? A portobello burger is a delicious choice for grilling and is perfect for smoking since it is porous and spongy by nature. The meaty portobello will shrink and become intensely concentrated as it cooks. Just be careful that you don’t overcook.

Recipe courtesy of Welcome to the Table Coop

Total Time: 1.5 – 16 hours; 30 minutes active         Servings: 4


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 4 medium portobello mushroom, stems removed
  • 4 slices smoked cheese, optional
  • 4 leaves butter lettuce
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns


  • 2 cups woodchips, soaked in water
  • 1 spray bottle filled with water
  • Smoker box or foil to make a pouch


In a cup, whisk the olive oil, vinegar, salt, and chipotle pepper. In a container large enough to hold all four portobellos, place the mushrooms gill side up and drizzle with the marinade, dividing it among the caps. Marinate for an hour or overnight. Prepare the grill for smoking (see Tips & Notes for instructions). Put the mushrooms on a plate to prepare for grilling.

  1. When the grill is ready and the cool side of the grate is oiled, place the mushrooms gill-side up on the grate. Close the lid and grill for ten minutes. Open the lid and, if the mushrooms have filled with liquid, use tongs to pour out and discard the liquid, then flip over the mushrooms and smoke for ten minutes longer.
  2. If using cheese, flip the portobello burgers again and fill with smoked cheese. Put back on the grill and replace the cover for two minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
  3. Serve your portobello burgers immediately on buns with lettuce, tomato, and your condiments of choice.

Tips & Notes for Grilling the perfect Smoky Portobello Burger

1. Create hot and cool zones

For best smoking results, create hot and cool zones on the grill. The hot zone is where the smoke is created and the food may be seared. The cool zone is where the food is placed to allow the food to cook more slowly and absorb the smoky flavor. If your grill is too small to create both a hot and a cool zone, check your food for doneness earlier as it will cook faster over the high heat

2. Prepare your grill for smoking

Heat the grill

Gas grills: Remove the grate, then turn the gas on high. If your grill has more than one burner, use a single burner on one side. Once the grill is hot, place the smoker box filled with soaked woodchips, or a foil pouch filled with the same, on the hot side of the grill. Replace the grate.

Charcoal grills: remove the grate, pile the charcoal to one side, and light it. Heat until it is hot and covered with white ash. Place the smoker box filled with soaked woodchips, or a foil pouch filled with the same, directly on the coals and replace the grate.

Get the woodchips smoking

Allow the woodchips to start smoking. Once you smell the smoke and see wisps of it, you are ready to smoke your food.

3. Smoke your portobello burger

Pour a couple of tablespoons oil into a cup. Dip a clean paper towel into the oil, hold it with tongs, and quickly oil the cool side of the grate (if there are no hot and cool zones on your grill, oil wherever you plan to place the food). Place the food on the oiled grate and quickly cover the grill to allow the food to cook and absorb the smoky flavor.

4. Keep the flames in check

Have a spray bottle of water ready to douse out any flare-ups.

Nutritional Information

167 calories, 2 g. fat, 0 mg. cholesterol, 279 mg. sodium, 33 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. fiber, 9 g. protein

*Prefer a meat option: try our Smoky Grilled Burger recipe