6 Tips on How to Grill Burgers on a Traeger Like a Pro

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It’s a common myth that pellet grills can’t be used for anything other than smoking.

In this article, I’ll disprove this by showing you how to grill burgers on a traeger grill.

As you’ll see, with a few simple tips you’ll be able to cook a perfectly seared hamburger bursting with tons of flavor.

6 Pro tips to grill amazing burgers on a Traeger grill

The Traeger can do a wonderful job when it’s used for smoking, roasting or baking, but usually isn’t as efficient when it comes to grilling.

This is because pellet grills such as the Traeger, aren’t well suited for searing and don’t provide the same flavor as a charcoal grill.

Nevertheless, you can easily turn this around by following these guidelines:

Smoke the burger first.

If you grill burgers straight on a pellet grill, they’ll lack that nice smoky flavor we all love.

Therefore, it’s a much better idea to set up your grill to 225°F (107°C) and smoke them until their internal temperature gets to 10 degrees below your target.

For medium rare burgers, this process usually takes about 30 minutes.

Once your burgers reach your desired temperature, you should remove them from the grill and crank it to high.

It’s also worth noting that the type of wood pellets you use will affect the flavor of your burger.

I recommend using oak for smoking as it has a mild aroma that won’t overpower the flavor of the beef.

If you’re looking for something more intensive and robust, then you can use mesquite pellets.

three seasoned burgers being smoked on a traeger grill

by Buckinger1

Use a grill grate or a cast iron griddle.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when you grill burgers on your Traeger is to place them on the grill rack.

The grill rack on pellet grills isn’t well suited for making burgers because it is a poor conductor of heat.

As a result of this, it does a terrible job when it’s used for searing and strips away the unique charred flavor of hamburgers.

That’s why it’s better to use a grill grate instead. Grill grates are a more efficient heat conductor so they’re more useful for searing.

With that said, you’ll first need to increase the temperature of your grill to 400°F / 204°C and let the grill grate heat up before you grill your burgers.

a traeger pellet grill with grill grates

by Chunluv

In case you don’t have a grill grate, you can use a cast iron skillet or a cast iron griddle.

Since cast iron has higher heat capacity, you’ll need to let your skillet or griddle heat up for at least 30 minutes.

If you want to decrease this time, you can remove the firebox cover and place the griddle on top of the grill rack.

You can check out a popular cast iron griddle ideal for a Traeger by visiting this Amazon page.

different components of burgers being grilled over a cast iron griddle on a treagere grill

by Capt__Murphy

Choose the right type of meat.

It’s no secret that one of the key steps in making a great burger is choosing the right type of meat.

For burgers, this means getting a beef grind with a ratio of meat to fat of about 80/20 or 85/15.

I don’t recommend using extra-lean beef grinds, since there’s a high chance that your burger will crumble or fall apart.

With this in mind, you should avoid getting anything that’s purely labeled as ground beef.

Ground beef is typically made from a variety of beef cuts and can have an inconsistent fat content.

So instead of relying on blind chance, it’s a much better idea to get a beef grind with a consistent fat content such as ground chuck.

Ground chuck comes from the shoulder of the cow and has a fat content of at least 15 percent.

This makes it perfect for making burgers since it has enough fats to prevent the meat from getting dry.

Even though it doesn’t contain as much fat, you can also use ground round.

Ground round is cut from the top and bottom round of the cow and contains between 10 and 15 percent fat.

Don’t grill frozen burgers.

Even though it’s possible, it’s best to avoid cooking frozen burgers on a Traeger.

This is because once the burgers start to thaw, the water trickles down onto the drip plate where it immediately turns into steam.

Depending on the amount of fat in the drip plate, this rapid process can cause an explosion or a fire.

Therefore it’s much safer to let your burgers thaw before you toss them on your grill.

You can do this by placing them under running water, in the microwave or inside your fridge overnight.

Go easy with the seasonings.

When you’re seasoning your burger, it’s best to do it sparingly and stick to some basic ingredients.

If you add too much spices or coarse ingredients, your beef patty might fall apart when you flip it.

Salt and pepper are usually enough to elevate the flavor of your hamburger without affecting its texture.

From there, you could add some smoked paprika or cayenne pepper if you want to make it more spicy.

Depending on your personal preferences, you could also add some rosemary, oregano or garlic powder.

Just don’t go overboard.

After all, the spices should only compliment the flavor of the beef, not overshadow it.

a close up of a burger cooked on a traeger that shows how much seasonig should be used

by schmakes

Don’t overwork your burgers.

In order to create a juicy and tender burger, you need to handle your beef patties carefully.

If you overwork them, you’ll squeeze out all of the air and your burgers will end up with a tough texture.

To avoid this, simply roll the ground beef into a ball, then gently press it with your hands to shape it into a patty.

Once your patty is shaped, gently push its middle with your fingers. This will prevent the patty from losing its shape during cooking.

How long does it take to cook burgers on Traeger?

The amount of time you need to fully cook a burger on a Traeger will depend on the temperature of your smoker and the size of your patty.

A standard 6 ounce beef patty will take 30 minutes of smoking at 225°F (107°C) and an additional 8 minutes of grilling at 400°F / 204°C.

If you crank up the temperature of your grill and smoke your burgers at 325°F (163°C), then you’ll need 15 minutes less.

With that said, the time it takes to sear your burgers will depend on the degree of doneness you’re looking for.

That’s why I’ve made a table with time estimates for grilled burgers.

Take a look:

a chart showing the recommended grilling times and internal temperatures for different degrees of doneness for burgers

The bottom line

Even though pellet grills are mostly used as smokers, you can still take advantage of their features and use them for grilling.

As long as you use a grill grate and follow some basic guidelines, your burgers will turn out just fine.

Feel free to share any thoughts or questions you might have down in the comments.

how to grill burgers on a traeger pinterest image

6 Tips on How to Grill Burgers on a Traeger Like a Pro

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