When you picture the perfect backyard summer picnic, the chances are good that hamburgers are in the mix. They are not only a staple in the American diet, but they’re also delicious.
There are lots of ways to prepare them, but cooking hamburgers on a pellet grill give them an amazing smoked flavor that you can’t create anywhere else. Here are some tips on how to do it right that will give you the meatiest, juiciest, most flavorful burgers you’ve ever tasted.
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Start with the Right Beef
Picking a cut that has a good ratio of meat to fat is how to make a thick, juicy burger. If you’re purchasing it from your local butcher or grocery store, ask for a package that’s fresh and has been ground that day for the best flavor.
Cuts like ground chuck, or beef labeled as being 80 to 85 percent meat to 20 to 15 percent fat will give you delicious results.
Make the Patties
After you’ve selected your meat, you’ll next want to form your patties. If you’re planning on cooking hamburgers on a pellet grill, you might want to skip adding pre-mixed seasoning because the salt can deplete the moisture in the burger during the smoking process. Instead, shape the beef into patties while working it as little as possible. The more you use your fingers, the dryer your burgers will be.
Form them into round shapes that measure about a half-inch wider than the buns you’ll use so that they are the perfect size after they shrink down while cooking. You can make them as thick or thin as you prefer.
Season the Outside
Although you want to skip mixing in any flavors, adding seasoning to the outside is a good idea. Use spices you love like:
Sprinkle them on both sides of your patties before you put them on your pellet grill.
Smoke with Flavorful Wood
Now it’s time to put your patties in your smoker. Set it to 225 degrees and make sure you have a wood that’s strong enough to infuse your burgers with that delicious smoke flavor in a short amount of time. Hickory is a fan favorite that gets the job done.
Let thicker burgers smoke for a full hour; thinner patties might need less time. Pull them off when their internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer reaches 135 degrees.
Sear on a Pellet Grill
Finish off your burgers by searing them. If you’re cooking hamburgers on a pellet grill, you can simply crank up the temperature to high and grill them directly. Aim for a fire temperature of around 400 degrees and sear the patties for around 2 minutes on each side. If you want to add cheese, do it after the first flip so that it has time to melt.
Use a meat thermometer to gauge when your burgers are done. The FDA recommends you cook them until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Don’t forget; smoking causes a chemical reaction in meat that will turn it pink. Your burger might look pink throughout the entire patty, which is why it’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure you hit the right internal temperature.