Inside: Keep reading to learn 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 Smoking a Burger
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 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 wood pellet 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.
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
So 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);
- 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.