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Who doesn’t love a good creamy hash brown casserole? All that cheesy goodness makes it one of those stick-to-your-ribs side dishes that can be just as good as the main dish. And as easy as they are to make, sometimes they are the main dish. But what if you wanted more than just hash browns? Maybe even something with a little kick to it? 

Spicy Smoked Hash Browns & Hamburger Casserole to the rescue!

Over the summer we got a craving for some good ol’ fashioned comfort food. Unfortunately, that craving hit when the temperature was hovering around 90. We had zero desire to heat up the house so onto the smoker they went. And while no one really wants to babysit a smoker when it’s that hot out, these hash browns came together quick and didn’t require a lot of attention. 

As with almost all of our recipes, this was pretty much just dumb luck. We grabbed what we had on hand, mixed it up and called it good. We consider ourselves lucky that it tasted good, too. If you’re not into spice and heat just omit the hotter peppers that we used. And you can replace the hot pepper cheese with all cheddar or another cheese of your choice. 

The cherry wood, which is one of our favorite woods to use, gave the hash browns just the right amount of smoke. As a subtle wood, it also imparts a subtle flavor. And with the mix of spices and cheeses in our hash browns, the hint of sweet smokiness was delicious.

So if you’re looking for a way to turn your hash browns from favorite side to stand-alone main dish, give this recipe a shot. 

Smoked Hash Brown & Hamburger Casserole
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 10 mins
A smoky and spicy twist on ordinary hash brown casserole
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Grilling
Keyword: casserole, hash browns
Servings: 8 servings
Teri: Your Outdoor Kitchen
  • 1 cup mixed peppers - jalapeno, Marconi, serrano, etc., cubed or diced
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tbsp chili seasoning - cumin, red pepper, cayenne, etc.
  • 16 ounce bag frozen hash browns - thawed
  • 1 10 oz can Rotel Tomatoes
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar
  • 1 cup shredded hot pepper cheese
  • 1 cup frozen corn - thawed
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  1. Prepare your smoker for smoking at 275 degrees and ready your wood of choice. We used cherry for this dish and would recommend it or another mellow wood.
  2. Saute the peppers and garlic in the butter until the peppers are just beginning to get soft. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  3. Brown the hamburger in the same pan. Season with traditional chili seasonings. You can use a commercial mix or make your own. We use cumin, ground red pepper, cayenne and adobo.
  4. Make sure the meat cooks through and then drain any grease.
  5. Next, mix the thawed potatoes, shredded cheeses, corn and cream cheese.
  6. Add the drained meat to the potatoes, mix and pour into an aluminum pan.
  7. Top with more cheese and place on the smoker, uncovered, for just under 2 hours.
Recipe Notes
  • We used cherry wood for this smoke and would recommend it or another mellow wood.
  • Our tastes run a little hot, so use the peppers you like. It will still taste delicious without the spice!
  • We used Hot Rotel Tomatoes, but they make several variations. Use the one that works best for you.
  • You can serve this topped with salsa, sour cream or guacamole or just eat it as is.