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How to Grill Burgers on a Pellet Grill


When it comes to backyard BBQ, a good burger can make or break the party. In this expert guide, we will go over how to grill burgers on a pellet grill like a master barbecue. Learn steps, patty creation, burger tips, and best recipes in order to achieve the most epic burgers.

First step on the way to burger glory? Get expert tips from Pitmaster Matt Pittman on how to make a delicious burger on the Traeger.

What's The Best Ground Meat for Burgers?

The long and winding road to burger glory begins way before it’s time to fire up the grill. The most important part of crafting the perfect hamburger is actually making sure you’ve got the right meat to get the job done.

When you’re using a recipe to make a burger, you’ll normally be asked to use ground beef. The best cut is ground chuck. Ground chuck is cut from the shoulder and is normally between 15 and 20 percent fat. This is the perfect fatty sweet spot in order to keep your burger from drying out while giving you the perfect amount of flavor. Ground chuck is tender and it’s way richer in flavor.

Pro Tip: If you’re buying packaged burger patties and the package does not say ground chuck, you’ll want to find the 80/20 mix which means 80% lean and 20% fat.

While we will be focusing on beef burgers in this article, burgers aren’t limited to just beef. You can also find delicious burgers made from turkey, veggies, bison, salmon, and chicken.

How To and Best Burger Seasoning

Never forget: whenever you’re seasoning a burger, less is more. The goal is to accent the meaty goodness of the patty.


While we recommend using our Traeger Rubs for an extra punch of flavor, if you decide to go the homemade route, the foundation of any good burger seasoning is salt and pepper. Adding in a little minced dried onion, garlic, and brown sugar are good additions as well. From there, you might want to add cayenne or red pepper to give it a smoky profile, and maybe some rosemary too, -- but don’t go too wild. And remember, too many spices or coarse additions to a burger patty can make it more prone to fall apart when you flip it.

If you decide to go the Traeger Rub route, make sure to get the following:

However you choose to season, wait until just before you throw those bad boys on the grill so that you can have a tender, juice-down-your-chin bite. This allows the rub time to adhere to the meat without starting to dry out. After seasoning, it’s time to get in the thick of it.

Keep reading for step-by-step instructions on how to grill burgers on a pellet grill.

How To Grill Burgers on a Pellet Grill

  • Make Hamburger Patties: If you’re making your own hamburger patties, make sure to not overwork your burger. For a tender and moist burger, we advise you to not over-pack your meat. Using wet hands, gently form about 5 to 6 ounces of meat into 3/4 to 1 ½-inch patties – but don’t overwork it. This isn’t Play-Doh, and the more you handle and squash the meat, the tougher it will be. As soon as your hamburger patties are holding together, stop what you’re doing. No more. That’s it. You’re done.
  • Preheat Your Grill: You might be wondering: what’s the best grill temperature for burgers? Unless you’re following a recipe, there’s no specific answer. Anything between 400-500 ˚F will work though.
  • Add Burgers to Your Pellet Grill: When your Traeger has gotten to your desired temperature, take your burgers out of the fridge and season. Then put the burgers on the grill, indentation side up to start (more on this later). For juicy burgers, avoid messing with them. We’re serious. Put them down and leave them alone.
  • Flip the Burgers: A good way to tell if your burger is ready to flip is if the juices are pushing their way to the top. That means that they are about 2/3 of the way done (always double-check with your recipe though). If you have a typical 4oz burger though, a good rule of thumb is 4-5 minutes on each side (if you want them to be medium rare).
  • Optional: Adding Cheese & Toasting Buns: Melty cheese and crispy buns are never a bad call for burgers. If you want to upgrade your hamburger to a cheeseburger make sure to top each patty with cheese in the last minute of cooking. For buns, spread a thin layer of butter or may on the inside of your bun and place it face down on the grill for the last minute of cooking. Not only will it give your burgers that extra crisp crunch, but you’ll be preserving enough moisture in the bun to lock in all that epic flavor.

Burger Patty Size


The thicker the burger, the juicier the burger. It might be tempting to try and spread the wealth and make thinner patties if you’ve got a big barbecue to cater – but if you lose size, you’re also going to lose taste.

That means when sizing your patties, you’ve got to make them big. Classic burgers normally range from a quarter pound to 6 ounces, but there’s no shame in bringing your portions right up to 8 ounces which makes for patties of about 1 ½ inches thick.

In fact, you should actually size your burgers slightly larger than the bun no matter what size you’re shooting for in order to accommodate for a little shrinking as the meat cooks. This will lead to the perfect burger-to-bun ratio.

Pro Tip: To make your patties cook evenly, use your thumb or a small glass to make indentations in your patties prior to the cook. This step allows them to keep their shape,

Best Wood Pellets for Hamburgers

Let’s face it, not all burgers are created equal. When it comes to a wood-fired burger versus a charcoal or gas burner burger, there’s just no comparison. The taste, versatility, ease, and consistency of cooking on a wood pellet grill make hamburgers taste smokin’ without all the fuss. No matter how you grill it, hamburgers come off tasting better because cooking over 100 percent all-natural hardwood just tastes better and makes more sense.

What makes wood pellets so great? They burn hotter and slower than wood chips, giving grillers more control over burger temperature. They also deliver a more consistent smoke with little ash or build-up.

Try out these wood pellet flavors for the next time you grill burgers on a pellet grill:

  • Hickory Wood Pellets: By infusing your burgers with the wood-fired flavor from hickory pellets, your burger will get a big punch of flavor – especially if you’ve used brown sugar or garlic in your spice mix.
  • Mesquite Wood Pellets: Mesquite pellets will give your burger a distractive smoky flavor and will be perfect for burgers that have been coated with chili.
  • Cherry Wood Pellets: With a milder flavor, cherry pellets will enhance the flavor of your burger to new epic heights.
  • Apple Wood Pellets: Apple pellets bring out the taste of onion and bacon, and are a deliciously unique pellet to use for your burger.

Temperatures for Grilling Hamburgers

Making sure the grill is hot, and allowing your grill to preheat is CRUCIAL.

For grilling burgers, you should set the grill to the highest setting. Depending on the grill model, there may be a "High" setting (temperature will range from 400 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit) or your grill may have the ability to set exactly to 500 degrees.

One of the benefits of grilling on a wood pellet grill is that you can get the wood-fired flavor on your grilled burgers.

How Long to Cook Hamburgers on A Pellet Grill

When you’re ready to sear your patties and with the grill set to the highest setting, the cooking time for the perfect burger (1 ½-inch thick patties) is about four to eight minutes per side.

When it comes to flipping the burgers, only flip once in the middle of the cook. After your patties hit the grill, leave them alone. Resist the urge to squish the burger with a spatula. You’ll just be pushing out all that precious, delicious juice.

Ultimately, cook about two minutes per side for rare, three minutes for medium rare, four minutes for medium, and five minutes for well done.


Internal Temperatures for Burgers

Because cook time will vary depending on the thickness of the burger patty, we recommend cooking by internal temperature. While you’re learning how to grill burgers on a pellet grill, using a meat thermometer is always wise. If you go this route though, make sure to insert the instant read thermometer at an angle to get an accurate reading. You can also eyeball your burger’s doneness by cutting it and checking though.

If you’re cooking a burger that’s more than an inch thick though, we highly recommend the MEATER to monitor.

Safety first, and so it's worth pointing out that the USDA recommends burgers be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But that's well done, and we recommend going for a nice wholesome medium to reach that optimal level of meaty goodness.

  • For rare burgers, grill until you reach 125°F internally.
  • For medium-rare burgers, grill until you reach 135°F internally.
  • For medium burgers, grill until you reach 145°F internally.
  • For well-done burgers, grill until you reach 160°F internally.

Best Grilled Burger Recipes

This is it: the pièce de résistance. The grand finale. The cherry on top. The perfect burger needs the perfect cheese, and that cheese has got to be melted.


Now that you know how to grill burgers on a pellet grill, you’ll need some epic recipes to try out. Give some of these a test:

How To Grill Hamburgers FAQ's

What Traeger accessories do I need for grilling burgers?

Grilling burgers is simple and easy, but to make it epic, make sure to get drip tray liners (make sure to get the correct ones for your grill!), bucket liners, and grilling spatula for best results.

How long to cook burgers on a pellet grill at 400°F?

Cooking burgers on a pellet grill at 400°F typically takes around 6 to 8 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium doneness, depending on the thickness of the patties. Remember to flip the burgers halfway through the cooking time for even cooking on both sides. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on your preferred level of doneness and the thickness of the patties.

How long to grill frozen burgers?

In our opinion, fresh is always better. But if you decide to get frozen burgers it’s crucial to ensure they cook evenly and reach a safe internal temperature.

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Recommended Products

To grill the best burgers, you need the right equipment.

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Burger Recipes

Elevate your grilling game by cooking up these wood-fired burgers. From classic cheeseburgers to flavorful salmon burgers, find you new favorite burger here.

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