Inside: Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to grill a perfect, smoke-flavored cheeseburger on a Traeger wood pellet smoker.
Here in Colorado, Winter sometimes seems to last forever. The good thing about that, is that when it is finally over, we can really appreciate the warm weather! Part of that is grilling as often as possible.
I recently bought my husband a Traeger wood pellet smoker for his birthday. He absolutely loves it and has already made fall-off-the-bones ribs, a whole chicken, and today – burgers! We love getting that delicious smoked flavor on our food, so this is perfect for us.
Today, I want to share how to grill a perfect and delicious cheeseburger on a wood pellet smoker. Although the patty is usually the star of a burger, I also want to point out that it is important to have a high-quality, flavorful cheese to melt on top of the burger at the end of the cooking process.
Tips for Grilling A Burger On A Wood Pellet Smoker
There are a few things to remember when you grill a burger on a wood pellet smoker.
- Unless you want to smoke the entire burger, you are going to want to set your temperature to around 425-450 degrees. You will still get the smoky flavor and it will be hot enough to add a good sear.
- The outer layer of the burger will likely have a reddish color as it cooks. This is normal and is known as a smoke ring.
- You will want to use a meat thermometer so that you know when the burger is cooked to your desired doneness. If you cut into the burger, it will let the juice escape and could result in a dry burger.
How to Smoke a Burger on a Wood Pellet Grill
I always choose a high-quality ground beef and form my patties by hand. Of course, you can buy the pre-formed patties, but I like to make my own. You can season them simply with salt and pepper, or you can choose to add other spices, a marinade, or even shredded cheese.
For today’s burger, I seasoned the ground beef with a little bit of salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin. I then formed the patties and took them straight to the smoker (after it was preheated of course).
One issue that we had the first time that we cooked burgers on the smoker, is that we didn’t wait until it was hot enough. This resulted in not having the greatest sear. I recommend that you set your wood pellet smoker to 425-450 degrees and make sure that it is completely preheated with the lid closed before adding the burgers.
This can take some patience, but believe me – it is worth it! You can use whatever flavor smoke that you want, but I usually go with Hickory. Traeger has so many different varieties that you can check out here.
Another option is to sear them off in a frying pan in the house before transferring them to the smoker. I haven’t done that method yet, but I may in the future!
Once the wood pellet smoker is preheated, it becomes a timing game. You don’t want to be flipping the burgers over multiple times and letting the hot smoky air out of the smoker.
I have found that putting the burgers on and waiting 8-9 minutes before flipping, and then grilling on the other side for another 8-9 minutes results in a juicy burger that is right about at 160 degrees.
This may seem like a long time, but on a wood pellet smoker, you don’t want to rush it and you want enough time to pass to allow the smoky flavor to penetrate the beef.
This is why it is important to have an instant-read meat thermometer. Make sure you insert the probe through the side of the burger and that it registers at least 160 degrees. Right before or shortly after the burgers reach 160 degrees, I add a slice of the sharp cheddar and let it melt before serving on a toasted bun with whatever fixings I am craving.
The first Traeger smoker that I had didn’t have the temperature probes integrated, but I recently upgraded to the new Pro Series 575 which has so many new features including the integrated temperature probe and WiFire technology.
This grill has really been a game-changer for me and I recommend it to everyone. They have the larger size Pro Series 780 which is good if you need more space. Make sure you pick up whichever option works best for you – you won’t regret it. Buy HERE.
I like to add bacon, grilled onions, and barbecue sauce for an extra tasty version, but you can add just about whatever you want.
Summary For Smoking A Burger
To review, here are the steps for a perfect grilled burger on a Traeger wood pellet smoker:
- Add your preferred flavor of wood pellets to your wood pellet smoker (I recommend Hickory for burgers). Buy pellets here;
- Preheat wood pellet smoker to 425-450 degrees with the lid closed;
- Add the patties, close the lid, and let cook for 8-9 minutes;
- Flip the patties, let cook for an additional 8-9 minutes, or until an internal meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees;
- Add the cheese and let it melt;
- Make your burger with all of your favorite fixings!
What is your favorite food to cook on your wood pellet smoker? Let me know in the comments.
Here are some other great meals you can make on your wood pellet grill
- How To Make Loaded Nachos On A Wood Pellet Smoker
- Smoked Brisket Recipe on a Traeger (With the Best Homemade Mop Sauce)
- How To Make Smoked Pulled Pork
- How To Make The Best, Foolproof Smoked Chicken Wings
- Delicious Mexican Style Smoked Whole Chicken Recipe
- How To Make Delicious Smoked Ribs
Best Accessories for Your Traeger Grill
- Folding Front-Shelf. I love this and it makes everything more convenient. Buy here.
- Drip Tray Liners. This is a must have if you want to keep your grill as clean as possible. Just add one of these and it will make clean up much easier. Buy here.
- Digital Instant Read Thermometer. Heat is crucial when using your smoker. Even if your grill has probes built in, it never hurts to have a standalone one as well to double-check the internal temperature. Buy here.
- Bucket Liners. Like the drip tray liners, these bucket liners are amazing for clean up. Buy here.
How to Smoke a Burger on a Wood Pellet Grill
- 1 bag hickory wood pellets
- 4 hamburger patties
- hamburger fixings
- 1 wood pellet grill
- Add your preferred flavor of wood pellets to your wood pellet smoker (I recommend Hickory for burgers)
- Preheat wood pellet smoker to 425-450 degrees with the lid closed
- Add the patties, close the lid, and let cook for 8-9 minutes
- Flip the patties, let cook for an additional 8-9 minutes, or until an internal meat thermometer reaches 160 degrees
- Add the cheese and let it melt;Make your burger with all of your favorite fixings
Sunday 19th of February 2023
I cook junk about everything on my wood pellet grill fish, chicken, hot dogs, brats, and hamburgers. I’ve even contemplated doing a whole turkey breast but have yet to try it.
Wednesday 22nd of February 2023
@Dewain, just smoked whole turkey (13lb) put in brine overnight ,best turkey ever
Wednesday 29th of June 2022
I know this is old, but if you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend reverse searing that burger.
225 for 45 mins Turn grill up to 350+ then sear for about 40/50 secs per side, so much better.
Monday 18th of April 2022
Thank you! New Traeger owner here. Wasn't quite sure how to "grill" on a smoker, and I appreciated your advice. Hands down the best burgers I have ever been able to make at home. Tender and juicy....cooked all the way through without being burned on the outside.....perfection! The first time I used frozen sirloin hamburger patties from Costco and the second time hand formed patties. Both had excellent result following your recommendations.
Saturday 15th of May 2021
THANK YOU FOR THE PERFECT PELLET GRILL BURGER!!
We have had the grill for over a year and couldn't get the middle of a thick burger cook a the way through.... That's not a problem now! I followed your exact recipe, 9 minutes on both sides. I think the trick was to not flip it a lot and do not open the grill in that 9 minutes... I put the cheese and bacon on and let it sit for 5 minutes... The whole family was very very impressed! Thanks again, Brooke.
Saturday 6th of February 2021
I love my wood pellet grill. One item that was so much better than I anticipated was smoked brats. They come off so juicy and flavorful.