Are Pellet Grills Good for Burgers? [Let’s Investigate]
Pellet grills are an excellent choice for those that enjoy the taste of grilled food but dislike the hassle and mess of traditional charcoal. Pellet grills can be used for any type of food you would normally cook on an open-flame grill. Some people even buy them just to roast marshmallows! But if you want your burgers done right on a pellet grill without losing all their juicy goodness, you might have to play with pellet grill settings to make a juicy burger.
So, are pellet grills good for burgers? Pellet grills are good for grilling and smoking burgers. So, you can cook burgers on a pellet grill. However, cooking burgers on pellet grills is a bit tricky as compared to the gas grills. Use wood pellets, such as hickory or mesquite, that burn hotter and produce rich flavor. Before putting the patty on the pellet grill, preheat it between 400 and 450 Fahrenheit with the lid closed. Also, in some pellet grills, there is a metal plate that you can slide to expose the flame, which works like a gas grill to sear burger patty. Another tip to cook burger patty on pellet grills is to use grill grates upside down.
Cooking burgers on pellet grills require precise temperatures so that the meat doesn’t shrink or remain uncooked. For this, I’d recommend you read my guide on temperature swings in pellet grills. If your pellet grill has temperature fluctuations, fix them by following my guide.
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Tips for Cooking Burgers on Pellet Grill
To cook a burger on Traeger grill, the patty is the most important element. For ground beef burger patty, the fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.
Ground chuck, which is cut from a shoulder part of a cow, has the highest fat content i.e. 20 percent. So, avoid lean beef patty as the slow cooking on the pellet grill can make it dry out over time.
I recommend 80/20 beef patty for cooking on a pellet grill. Furthermore, the ground beef burger patty should weigh ¼ to ½ pounds. 6 oz. is the ideal weight of a beef burger patty.
If you’ve seasoned the beef burger patty with only salt, pepper, and garlic powder, throwing it on low heat (less than 300 Fahrenheit) in a pellet grill for more than 30 minutes will cause it to toughen and dry out. This is because salt tends to dry out the meat faster.
Throwing the beef patty, seasoned with a sauce, on the pellet grill at 225 degrees is fine as the sauce will give a nice caramelized texture to the burger patty and will keep it juicy.
Moreover, if you’re using frozen beef burger patties, I would not recommend them to be thrown on a pellet grill at a low temperature i.e. less than 300 Fahrenheit. At low temperature on a pellet grill, frozen patties take more than an hour to properly cook, due to which the burger patty develops a rubbery texture and dries out. Also, note that the lid of the pellet grill should be closed till the patty is completely cooked.
Also Read: Smoke setting on grill
So, here are the important points you should consider for the cooking burger on pellet grills.
- Use 80/20 ground chuck beef patty with 6 oz. weight
- If you’ve seasoned the beef patty with salt, pepper, and sauces, you can enjoy the smoking flavor of wood pellets by cooking the patty at 225 Fahrenheit for 30 minutes to 1 hour. I don’t know what is the exact size and thickness of the beef burger patty you’re cooking. So, as a rule of thumb, smoke the burger patty at 225 Fahrenheit till the internal temperature of the beef patty is 15 to 20 degrees less than the desired temperature. I tend to go for a medium-rare (125F to 140F) when smoking at low temperatures i.e. 225 Fahrenheit on a pellet grill.
- Crank the pellet grill up to 400 to 500 Fahrenheit (depending on the maximum temperature setting on your pellet grill) to sear the patty. Wait for the pellet grill to stabilize at this temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. During preheating of the grill for searing the burger patty at high temperature, take patty off the pellet grill.
- When the searing temperature stabilizes, sear the patty on the upside-down grill grates as it makes better contact with the burger patty for a better heat transfer and a phenomenal texture. If you’ve smoked the patty at 225 Fahrenheit in a pellet grill, searing each side of burger patty for 2 to 3 minutes at 400 to 500 Fahrenheit is fine,
- In the Pit Boss pellet grills, such as Deluxe 820 or 1000 series, there is also a frame broiler that exposes food to the flame of wood pellets. So, for a pre-smoked beef patty, sear patty a couple of minutes a side right over the firebox direct heat will give it a nice juicy crust. Pit Boss 1000 series model comes with a handle to remove the lid of the frame broiler for direct heating so that you don’t have to remove the grill grate to remove the lid.
- If you have just done dry seasoning of beef burger patty with BBQ rub or salt and pepper, I’d just skip the low temperatures, and crank the pellet grill straight to the highest temperature (400 to 550 Fahrenheit). Also, if you’ve frozen beef patty, I’d recommend you directly smash it on a pellet grill at 400 to 450 Fahrenheit. For unfrozen patty and direct searing, you should grill each side of the patty for 5 to 8 minutes at a temperature of 450 Fahrenheit. For frozen beef burger patties, sear one side for 18 minutes and the second side for around 8 minutes. Also, note that the internal temperature of the beef patty should be around 145 to 160 Fahrenheit.
- If you want to use cheese in the burger, place it on a patty in pellet grill at the last one or two minutes. Make sure that the lid of the pellet grill should be closed.
Things to Note While Cooking Burgers on Pellet Grill
Here are the precautions you need to care while cooking burgers on a pellet grill.
- There should not be an accumulation of grease in a drip tray as it will cause flare-ups while searing at high temperatures.
- Insert meat probe right in the center of a burger petty as it takes a longer time to receive the heat.
- Use high-quality wood pellets. 75 percent Hickory and 25 percent Cherry pellets make a great combination.
- Make sure that there should not be ash in the firepot of the Traeger grill.
- RTD probe of pellet grill should not be clean and properly functioning.