If you want to use a pellet grill to cook burgers, it is important to get the grilling temperature right. So, what temperature to cook burgers on a pellet grill? Ideally, the temperature should be around 420 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range will provide you with the distinctive smoky flavor, while also being sufficiently high for a strong sear.
Another thing to remember is that, while cooking, the outer layer of your burger is likely to turn a reddish pink. You must remember that this change, also referred to as a ‘smoke ring’, is completely normal and no cause for panic.
Other than that, we recommend using a meat thermometer, as it will let you know once the burger has been cooked to your preferred doneness level. Some people cut into their burger to make this assessment, but cutting in could cause the juice to escape, resulting in an undesirably dry final product.
With that, let us get down to the actual process of smoking a burger on a wooden pellet grill.
Smoking a Burger on a Wood Pellet Grill:
The very first thing to ensure is that your ground beef is of high quality, and with an appropriate meat-to-fat ratio. You can either purchased pre-prepared patties, or form the patties by yourself. As far as seasoning goes, you can use the plain old salt and pepper, or go for marinades, other spices (such as cumin, black peppercorns, or ground ginger), or even some shredded cheese.
Once the patties have been formed (assuming that you are forming them yourself), you should preheat the oven and take chuck the patties right into the smoker.
A common issue, especially with people who are cooking burgers on a pellet grill for the first time, is that they do not wait for the smoker to get sufficiently hot – which results in a less-than-perfect sear. For this reason, we recommend setting the pellet grill to a temperature of 420 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Other than that, you must make sure that the grill is fully preheated with the lid intact, before placing your burgers.
This, of course, will require a fair bit of patience. However, patience is a virtue and certainly worth it in this matter. You can go for whatever smoke flavor you like the best.
A second option is to sear the burgers in a fry pan before placing them on your smoker.
Anyway, once your grill is adequately preheated, timing becomes the name of the game. No matter how tempting it might be, do NOT keep flipping the burgers over and over, as doing so will cause a lot of the smoky hot air to escape your smoker.
We recommend placing the burgers on the grill and waiting for 8 to 10 minutes before flipping them to the other side. Once flipped, waiting another 8-10 minutes for the other side to be grilled. This approach and waiting period result in a nice and juicy burger, at a temperature of around 160 to 165 degrees.
We understand that 8 to 10 minutes might seem like a whole lot of time. However, when using a wood pellet grill, it is best to take things slow; rushing the process might keep the smoky flavor from fully and effectively penetrating the beef.
This is also the reason that you need to have an instead-read, internal meat thermometer. If you do use a thermometer, make sure that the probe is inserted via the side of your burger, and that it is registering at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Shortly after (or right before) the burger hits the 160 degree Fahrenheit mark, you can add a cheddar cheese slice and allow it to melt. Once the cheese has melted completely, you can take the burger out and serve it on toasted buns with the fixings of your choice.
Pellet Grill Burger Recipe:
- Hardwood pellets (Hickory)
- 2 pounds of ground chuck
- 1 tablespoon of paprika
- ¼ cup of Dijon mustard
- 1 ½ teaspoons of kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons of onion powder
- 6 thickly-cut slices of bacon
- 1 ½ teaspoons of black pepper
- 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
- ¼ cup of unsalted butter
- 1 red onion (medium-sized)
- 6 slices of Cheddar cheese (sharp)
- 6 split Kaiser rolls
- 6 tablespoons of ketchup
- ¾ cup of mayonnaise
Use the hardwood pellets to fill your container as per the grill manufacturer’s instructions. Keep the temperature to around 420 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and preheat the grill for around 15 minutes with the lid closed.
Take a large bowl and combine the pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, mustard, and beef. Shape the mixture into 6 patties, each having a width of 4 inches.
Take a heatproof skillet and put the bacon inside it, before placing the skillet on the grate. Close the lid, and continue grilling until a large proportion of the fat has been rendered and the bacon is largely crisp (should take around 20 to 30 minutes). Take the bacon out of the skillet, and dry using paper towels. Drain any dripping from the skillet, but do not wipe it clean.
Use the skillet to melt the butter. Add the Worcestershire and soy sauces in the skillet, before swirling it. Add onions and place the skillet on one side of your grill. Place the patties on the opposite grill side, and close the lid. Continue grilling until the internal thermometer registers a temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. As mentioned previously, grill each side of the burger for around 8 to 10 minutes. Use cheese slices to top the patties; put the lid back on, and grill until all the cheese has melted (should take around two minutes). Put the buns on the grill, cut down the sides, and grill until the buns have been toasted (should take around a minute).
Spread the ketchup and mayonnaise evenly on the cut bun sides. Put the patties, onions, and bacon on the bottom of the bun; cover the tops, and serve instantly.
Our Final Thoughts:
To sum up, getting the temperatures right at the various cooking phases is the key to preparing the perfect pellet grill burger. To learn about other burger-making methods and styles, please feel free to check out some of the other blogs on our website.