These Traeger Smoked Burgers are juicy and flavorful with a delicious smoky twist that’s sure to satisfy any meat lover’s cravings. As the hamburgers cook, the smoke infuses into the meat, giving it a rich, unique flavor. Top the patties with gooey, melted cheese. These can be made with any smoker or pellet grill.
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Smoking burgers is what I love to keep on deck during summer cookouts and gatherings!
What Type of Beef to Use
Ground beef is important, but the type you use is even more important. The best type of beef to use is ground chuck with a fat content of around 80/20. Ground chuck is a good choice because it has a good balance of fat and lean meat, which helps to keep the burgers juicy and flavorful during the smoking process.
The fat content is also important because it will melt and infuse the meat with flavor as it cooks. However, you don’t want too much fat, as this can cause the burgers to fall apart or become greasy. A fat content of 80/20 strikes a good balance between flavor and texture.
You can use leaner cuts of meat, but expect a drier burger.
How to Season the Meat
I love to use my Homemade Burger Rub Seasoning for these. It’s a combination of the following:
I also love to add Worcestershire sauce for additional flavor.
How to Form Burger Patties/How to Keep Them From Shrinking
If you aren’t using pre-made patties, you can grab a pound to a pound and a half of ground meat and form them yourself. Take a look at your buns and shape the patties so that they are larger than the actual bun you will be using. Burgers shrink. So take that into account.
You also don’t want to over-mix and overwork the meat. Overworking the meat for burgers can cause the burgers to become tough and dry. When meat is worked or handled too much, it can cause the proteins in the meat to break down and bind together too tightly, resulting in a denser texture. This can lead to burgers that are difficult to chew and lack the juicy, tender texture that is desired in a good burger.
Here are some tips for forming burger patties without overworking the meat:
- Use cold hands. Cold hands will help to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands.
- Use a light touch to gently shape the patties, and make sure they are uniform in size and thickness to ensure even cooking.
- Use a burger press. A burger press can help to form the patties evenly and without overworking the meat.
You can read more about The Best Method for Shaping Burgers here.
Another reason why you don’t want to overwork the meat is that your hands are likely at room temperature. Your room temperature hands will alter the temperature of the meat, which should be cold when it goes on the smoker.
Cold meat will stick together when you place it on the smoker. Warm or room-temperature meat will crumble and fall apart. It also helps to keep the fat in the meat from melting too quickly during cooking. When the fat in the meat is kept cold, it will melt more slowly during cooking, which helps to keep the burgers juicy and tender.
Take this into account if using pre-made patties. When you defrost the burgers they are more likely to fall apart when they come to room temperature. Once defrosted, I separate the burgers onto parchment paper or paper towels and keep them in the fridge until I’m ready to season and smoke.
Why I Use Oil
I also like to add a little oil to the burgers. This just provides another precaution, to prevent sticking. The oil also helps with getting those perfect grill marks on the patty.
How to Make Traeger Smoked Burgers
- Season the ground beef with Worcestershire, olive oil, and the burger seasoning.
- Form the burger patties.
- Place the burgers on the smoker.
- Smoke until desired internal temperature for doneness.
- Place the burgers onto the smoker.
What Flavor of Wood/Pellets to Use
I like to use hickory or the Traeger Signature Blend. Here are some options:
- Hickory: A classic wood flavor that pairs well with beef. It has a strong, smoky flavor.
- Mesquite: Another strong wood flavor that works well with beef. It has a distinctive, almost sweet aroma that can add a unique flavor to your burgers.
- Oak: Milder than hickory or mesquite and is a good choice if you want a more subtle smoky flavor. It is also versatile and pairs well with a variety of meats.
- Apple: This wood flavor is a bit sweeter and fruitier than other wood flavors and can add a nice touch to burgers. It is a good choice if you want a more subtle smoke flavor.
I recommend 225 degrees so the burgers have time to smoke and soak in the smoky flavor.
Cook Time/How Long To Smoke
Total cook time will vary based on how done you like your burgers. You can also use a meat thermometer to gauge.
- 125 degrees rare
- 135 degrees medium rare
- 145 degrees for medium
- 155 degrees for medium-well
- 160 degrees for well done.
According to the USDA, hamburgers should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Use a food thermometer to be sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. If you’re cooking turkey burgers, they should be cooked to 165 °F.
Per these standards, you should aim for a burger that’s medium-well to well-done. Ground meat is different from steak consumption.
What Type of Buns to Use
Brioche buns are my favorite. They toast up well and I like to oil the top just a touch with butter or olive oil. Any bun you like will work just fine.
What Type of Cheese to Use
You can use any cheese you like. Here are some options.
- White Cheddar
- Monterey Jack
- Blue Cheese
Additional Toppings and Add-Ons
- Grilled Mushrooms
- Grilled Onions
- Pico De Gallo
- Onion Rings
Leftover Burgers/How to Reheat
Burgers don’t make good leftovers because once the burger is cooked and has hardened/congealed over time, it isn’t as moist as it was when you first cooked it.
The fat just doesn’t move the same way and the texture is both moisture and heat sensitive. I try to avoid leftover burgers, but if you have some, the best way to reheat them is to avoid the microwave.
For flavor, heat the burger in a pan along with a little butter or oil to combat how dry they are. You can even saute onions along with it to try to re-introduce additional flavor.
How to Use Frozen Burgers
Frozen burgers can be difficult to cook evenly, with the exterior cooking much faster than the interior, leading to a dry, overcooked burger. I recommend thawing them first. If you must use frozen, cook them at 350 degrees as opposed to 225. This will also likely reduce your overall cook time. Follow the internal temperature guidance above.
Pair With these Recipes
More Traeger and Smoker Recipes
Traeger Smoked Glazed Ham
Traeger Beer Can Chicken
Traeger Pulled Pork Shoulder Butt
Traeger Smoked Turkey Breast
Traeger Smoked Salmon
Traeger Smoked Chicken Breast
Traeger Smoked Ribs (3-2-1 Method)
Traeger Smoked Chicken Wings
Smoked Lobster Tail
Traeger Smoked Burgers
Homemade Burger Rub (You can also use your favorite store-bought rub)
- 4 slices cheese Any cheese you prefer.
- 4 brioche buns
- Optional: Drizzle oil onto the grill grates to prevent sticking. I like to use a cooking brush or towels.
- Preheat the smoker to 225 degrees.
- Season the ground beef with Worcestershire, olive oil, and the burger seasoning. Form 4 burger patties. Be careful not to overwork the mixture. This will result in burgers that crumble.
- Place the burgers onto the smoker.
- Total cook time will vary based on how done you like your burgers. Use a meat thermometer to gauge:125 degrees for rare135 degrees medium rare145 degrees for medium155 degrees for medium-well160 degrees for well done.Mine took about an hour and a half.
- Prior to removing the burgers from the grill, top each burger with a slice of cheese (if preferred). Cook until the chese is melted and bubbly. You can add buns here for toasted buns.
- Allow the burgers to rest and cool for 10 minutes. Serve on buns.
- I use the pre-made burgers from Butcher Box, the meat is 100% grass-finished and grass-fed.
- Make sure your grill grates are clean prior to grilling. Leftover residue will lead to sticking.
- If you don’t want to make a Homemade Burger Rub, feel free to use your favorite rub.
- I also like to add a little oil to the burgers. This just provides another precaution, to prevent sticking. The oil also helps with getting those perfect grill marks on the patty.
- Prior to shaping the patties (if not using pre-made), Take a look at your buns and shape the patties so that they are larger than the actual bun you will be using.
- According to the USDA, hamburgers should be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Use a food thermometer to be sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F. If you’re cooking turkey burgers, they should be cooked to 165 °F.