Smoked Burgers on a Pellet Grill {Traeger, Pit Boss, Z Grills}

If you are in the mood for a burger and decide you want to make it extraordinarily great, then this smoked burger recipe has you covered!

This is such a simple meal to prepare but can deliver much more flavor than you expect!

Burger with Jalapenos

Keep reading and you will learn:

  • A great burger seasoning rub.
  • How long to smoke the burgers.
  • My favorite temperature and woods to use.
  • My number one tip for making the burgers perfect.

Use the Right Meat to Make the Hamburger Patties

I figured that as long as I was going to spend the time to smoke these burgers then I ought to go ahead and make them extra special.  To that end I started with one pound of Wagyu ground beef.  You can sometimes find Wagyu beef at Costco and it is also becoming more common to see it at Walmart and Albertson’s.

By the way, if you find a supply of ground Wagyu then you might want to stock up and use some for an amazing smoked meatloaf! 

You don’t have to use Wagyu for this recipe but you do want something with a high fat content like ground chuck.  Stay away from ground sirloin and other lean ground beef grinds as they will result in dry burgers.

Ideally you are looking for a ground beef that has a fat content of about 20%.

Wagyu Ground Beef

I was only making dinner for two so I split the beef into two half pound portions and flattened them into large, thin patties.

It is easier to make the patties if you rinse you hands under cold water first.  The dampness helps lubricate the meat and prevents it from sticking to your hands.  The coldness helps stop the heat from your hands melting the fat.

If you want to make things really easy then you can always start with some frozen burgers and just extend the cooking time.

Season the Burgers Before Smoking

After the patties are formed they get basted with about 1/2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce per side.  The sauce adds some flavor and, more importantly, dampens the surface of the meat so the dry rub adheres better.

The burgers get seasoned with our Classic Burger Rub and then are flipped and the process repeated on the other side.

Burger Seasoning Rub

  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

Seasoned burger

Smoke the Burgers for Two Hours

Set your pellet grill (Traeger, Z Grills, Pit Boss, etc) to 180F using hickory pellets.

I smoke the burgers at 180F because:

  • The low temperature will give the burger a longer cook time inside the smoker.
  • The gentle heat will prevent the patty from swelling up in the middle.
  • The low temperature setting produces more smoke than high temperature settings.

Using hickory pellets is not critical, they are just what I happened to have in my Z Grills pellet grill.  Other great choices would be:

  • Pecan
  • Cherry
  • Competition Blends

Place the patties on the cooking grate away from any hot spots.  If you are using a Pit Boss, or any other grill with a Flame Broiler, then keep the burgers away from the Flame Broiler Zone as, even with the heat shield closed, that is almost always a hot spot.

Burgers on a Pellet Smoker

The hardest part about this recipe is the waiting.

I am used to burgers taking about 10-12 minutes to cook on a hot charcoal grill.

It turns out that it takes about two hours to fully cook a large smoked burger at 180F!

Because I was using pre-ground meat and I had no idea how high the bacteria count was these burgers need to cook to an internal temperature of 160F.

If you are using beef that you have freshly ground yourself then you can cook them to a much lower internal temperature.  Cooking them to 135F would get them to Medium Rare and 145F would get you to Medium.

I gave the burgers a flip after one hour, mainly just to give myself something to do as I was standing around and waiting.

I loved seeing the juices pool up on the top of the patty!

Smoked Hamburger

Assemble and Serve the Smoked Burger

Now it is time to put that big, beautiful smoked burger on a bun with all of the fixings!

Regardless of what toppings you like on your burger there is one rule that I think you really should follow.  And trust me, I HATE following rules so I don’t say this lightly.

The #1 Rule for an amazing smoked burger is to Toast the Bun!

I toast my burger buns in a 10 inch cast iron skillet on the stove top.  Crank the heat up to high, spray a little Pam (or cooking spray of choice) onto the open side of the bun and place the oiled side down in the skillet.  Check on the bun after 2-3 minutes and remove when toasted.

My wife loves mayo, pickled jalapenos and Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce on her burgers.

I went with mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles and barbecue sauce on mine.

Both were absolutely delicious and worth the wait!

Smoked Burger on a Toasted Bun

Smoked Burger on a Toasted Bun

Smoked Burgers on a Pellet Grill

Extra large half pound burger patties are seasoned with a classic burger rub, smoked at 180F for two hours and then placed on a toasted bun with classic topping for an amazing burger feast!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 400 kcal


  • 1 pound Ground Beef Wagyu or 80:20 Ground Chuck
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp celery salt
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tbsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika


  • Split the ground beef into two equal portions and form into large, flat patties.
  • Combine the dry ingredients for the burger seasoning into a bowl and mix well.
  • Baste the top of each burger with 1/2 tbls of the Worcestershire sauce and season liberally with the burger seasoning.
  • Flip the patties over and repeat the baste/seasoning step.
  • Let the burgers rest for 30 minutes so the rub can penetrate the meat.
  • Set your pellet grill to 180F using hickory pellets.
  • Smoke the burgers at 180F for two hours or until an internal temperature of 160F is reached.
  • Place the burgers on toasted buns and serve with your favorite burger toppings!


I love the combination of smoked beef and Hot and Spicy flavors. 
My wife hits this profile by putting pickled jalapenos and a sweet barbecue sauce on her burgers.  I like to use a barbecue sauce with some bite like Head Country Hot and Spicy.
Keyword Smoked Burgers on a Pellet Grill