In a medium saucepan, add lentils, vegetable broth, 2 tbsp maple syrup, and liquid smoke. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 25-30 min. until lentils are cooked through. Add lentils to a food processor.
In a small skillet, heat a bit of oil. Add onion and garlic. Sauté for 4-5 min. until fragrant and translucent. Add to the food processor along with the rest of the ingredients. Pulse until combined (a bit of texture is ok if not better). Transfer mixture to a bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours to overnight (the longer, the more firm and tender the patty will be).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Taking 1/4 cup of mixture at a time, form into patties. Bake for 15 min. until crispy and firm. At this point, you can either leave them as is or pan-fry them to achieve the perfect golden brown color and ultra-crispy surface.
Heat a large skillet with 1-2 tbsp of oil. Cook patties on either side until golden brown. Serve right away or cool until room temp. and freeze in a freezer-safe container.