How To Cook Burgers On A Camp Chef


Hi, I’m Chris I started PelHeat.com back in 2007.

I’ve previously produced my article on what I think is the best method of how to cook burgers on a pellet grill/smoker. This article is going to be more specific about cooking burgers on a Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. With a Camp Chef, there is potentially a couple of different methods. Purely smoking the burger, grilling/flame grilling via the pellet grill or using the Sear Box/SideKick. We’ll discuss all these methods.

How To Cook Burgers On A Camp Chef
You can smoke or grill burgers on a Camp Chef. On some models, you can even flame grill: Image – CampChef.com

Disclaimer: Hey! By the way… any links on this page that lead to products on Amazon or other sites are affiliate links, and I earn a commission if you make a purchase.

Key Takeaways

  • Cooking Time Grilling: Typically 15 to 18 minutes
  • Cooking Time Smoking: Typically 30 to 45 minutes
  • Camp Chef Temp: For smoking around 225 F, for grilling 450-500 F
  • Direct/Indirect Heat?: Smoking indirect, grilling direct flame (if you have it)
  • Burger Internal Temp When Done: 160 F (we’ll discuss this)
  • Best Pellets For Burgers: Oak, Hickory, Mesquite, maybe Charcoal pellets

I’m no BBQ expert, my expertise is how pellet grills/smokers work and the range of makes/models on the market. When it comes to how to cook on a pellet grill/smoker, I’ll be referring to the professionals.

Camp Chef Recommended Approach For How To Cook A Burger

Due to the vast range of Camp Chef pellet grills/smokers now on the market, there is a range of different methods to cook a burger.

As you own a pellet smoker, I would encourage you to smoke your burgers, even if you wish to finish them off by grilling/searing them at high heat for that nice crispy texture.

As such, to start off this article, I’ve included the video below from Camp Chef on reverse searing burgers. In other words, smoking the burgers for the first part of the cook, then searing them to finish.

Reverse searing a burger can produce an excellent end result and utilizes both the smoking and grilling functions of your pellet grill: Video – CampChef.com

However, I can provide further detail/advice to the video above, as first off, no mention is made of the Smoke Settings on a Camp Chef and how to use them for cooking a burger.

Second, the video shows searing the burgers off on the Sear Box attachment. However, you may not actually own the Sear Box attachment, and we’ll discuss that more in the grilling section below.

You see, the capabilities of the Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker range are varied. You may own a SmokePro model, which doesn’t have direct flame access.

You may own a Woodwind with a 1 to 10 smoke setting, or maybe an Apex with gas grilling capabilities, or maybe a Woodwind Pro with superior smoke production.

Whichever Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker you own, I’ll discuss below how to get the best results when cooking a burger. First, let’s talk meat.

1: You Need Sufficient Fat To Make A Good Burger Patty

I’m sure you have heard the phrase ‘fat means flavour‘, and its very true, but it also means a couple of other things when it comes to making a good burger.

You need sufficient fat within the ground beef (or any other meat/poultry) to hold the patty together. You also need sufficient fat to make sure the burger isn’t dry when properly cooked.

So what is ‘sufficient fat’? Well, really, you want at least 20% fat in your burger. The problem is if you use ground beef rounds or sirloin, the fat percentage may only be up to 10%.

If you use ground chuck beef from around the upper chest/shoulders of the cow, then the fat percentage goes up, 15 to 20 %. Hence ground chuck beef can make a much better burger patty.

Wagyu Beef Burgers
If you really want to really treat yourself to a tasty burger, then its Wagyu you want: Image – SnakeRiverFarms.com

Wagyu beef cattle are originally from Japan. However, there are US-based ranchers such as Snake River Farms who have imported Wagyu cattle and bred them with their American cattle.

The result is US-sourced beef with 20 to 30% fat. Hence if you want a really juicy/tasty burger, get yourself some Wagyu ground beef or Wagyu burger patties.

The only problem is Wagyu beef is expensive. Therefore, I personally just buy Wagyu as an occasional treat, but man, is it worth it for the flavour.

2: Preparing The Burger Patty & Seasoning For The Camp Chef

Once you have got a good 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio in your ground meat, you then need to shape it into a burger patty. However, its important to do this gently.

If you want the smoke to be able to penetrate into the burger, you don’t want to squeeze it and make it too dense. Just lightly pat the patty into shape.

In my main article on how to cook a burger on a pellet grill/smoker, there is an excellent video on how to shape the patty and the importance of pressing your thumb down in the centre of the patty.

Now you have your patties, its time to season them before placing them on the pellet grill/smoker. A simple bit of salt/pepper is just fine, its my preferred choice for a high-quality Wagyu burger.

Camp Chef BBQ Rubs
You could apply some BBQ rub to your burgers, but don’t overdo it: Image – CampChef.com

If you want to be a bit more adventurous with your burgers than simply seasoning them with salt and pepper, that’s fine. There are lots of options to try, just don’t overdo it with the rub.

Remember, you are cooking burgers here, which are relatively small/thin. Therefore, don’t throw the rub around like you would if you were smoking a brisket on a Camp Chef.

3. The Best Camp Chef Pellets For Cooking A Burger

Now you have a choice to make, what type of pellets are you going to use to cook your burgers? Well, it all depends on how you actually want to cook your burgers?

Do you want to purely smoke them, or just grill them? Do you want to smoke and then grill them? Or are you going to use propane on your Sear Box/Side Kick or your Apex for the grilling part?

You see, when purely grilling with pellets, due to the high heat/efficient burn, little smoke will be produced, and cook will be much shorter. Hence, you probably won’t taste much smoke flavour.

Therefore, when purely grilling, going with Oak pellets or Charwood pellets is the better option. However, when smoking your burgers, different pellet flavours can be viable.

The Best Camp Chef Pellets For Cooking A Burger
Any of the Camp Chef pellet blends can be suitable for cooking burgers in certain circumstances: Images – CampChef.com

Ok, let’s say you are going to smoke your burgers. If you want a bold smoky flavour, then the Mesquite or Hickory, or Charwood Camp Chef pellet blends will provide that.

However, if you prefer a sweeter smoke flavour profile, then going for the Cherry or Apple pellet blends would be more suitable.

Then again, you don’t just have to use Camp Chef pellets. There are now over 24 brands of BBQ pellets on the market. Check out my article on the best-value smoking/grilling pellets.

Pellet Usage When Smoking/Grilling A Burger

Generally, Camp Chef pellet grills at lower smoking temperatures will consume between 1 to 2 lbs of pellets per hour. When grilling, pellet usage can jump up to 3 to 4 lbs per hour.

When smoking burgers, the total cook time will go up to maybe 45 minutes. If purely grilling at a higher temperature, the cooking time will be between 15 to 18 minutes, typically.

Therefore, when cooking burgers on a pellet grill, due to the relatively short cooking time, even when smoking, pellet usage will be fairly minimal.

4. Smoking A Burger On A Camp Chef

No matter what Camp Chef pellet grill/smoker you own, there will be some form of Smoke Setting. On the older Camp Chef models, there was a Lo/Hi smoke setting.

Lo smoke produced a temperature of around 160 degrees, and the Hi Smoke produced a temperature of around 225 degrees.

If you own a Camp Chef with a Gen 2 PID control panel or the Woodwind with a full-colour display, you can choose the smoke setting independent of the temperature.

How it works is the control panel is deliberately making the PID algorithm less accurate to make the pellets smoulder more.

As a result, there will be wider temperature swings with higher smoke settings going up to 10.

Camp Chef Smoke Settings
Being able to set the smoke setting independent of the temperature is an excellent feature: Image – CampChef.com

With a lower temperature setting/high smoke setting, you will be able to infuse more smoke flavour into your burgers, but the cook will obviously take longer, maybe up to 45 minutes.

Now, if you own a Woodwind Pro with its dedicated smoke box for wood chunks/chips, you can obviously go even further with infusing smoke flavour into your burgers.

5. Grilling A Burger On A Camp Chef

Ok, my advice here is going to depend on which model of Camp Chef you own. Let’s start with the oldest SmokePro models without direct-flame access, or as Camp Chef brands, the feature ‘Slide & Grill’.

On those models, your highest temperature setting is 500 degrees. If you want to get a better sear going, then adding on a set of GrillGrates and burning some 100% Charcoal Pellets is not a bad idea.

However, I would also advise GrillGrates/Charcoal pellets if you own a Woodwind Pro without a Sear Box/SideKick, as the Woodwind Pro does not have direct-flame access.

Camp Chef Slide 'N Grill'
If your Camp Chef has ‘Slide ‘N Grill’, it can produce excellent seared burgers: Image – CampChef.com

If you own a SmokePro SG or Woodwind, you have the option of direct-flame access, which can provide temperatures at the grate of around 650 degrees, great for grilling/searing burgers.

If you own a Camp Chef Apex, you obviously have a full-width array of propane burners under the grill grate, which is very handy indeed to quickly go from smoking to grilling.

Therefore, you really have the best setup for reverse-searing burgers as you don’t have to move them around the grate or onto a separate propane Sear Box/SideKick accessory.

6. But When Is A Burger ‘Done’ Cooking?

I really enjoy smoked burgers, but I also like the nice tasty crust of a burger when the Maillard reaction has done its thing. However, you do have to be careful grilling and particularly flame-grilling burgers.

You obviously don’t want to overcook/burn the outside of the burger before the center of the burger is properly cooked. Not only for taste/texture reasons but for food safety reasons as well.

A properly cooked burger will have an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. This is following CDC/FDA advice to avoid food poisoning from E. coli bacteria.

Therefore you need a proper means of testing the internal temperature of the burger to know when its safe to eat (160 F) but also not overcooked at the same time.

Instant Read Thermometer For Burgers
To properly cook burgers, you’ll want an instant-read thermometer: Image – Thermoworks.com

An accurate instant-read thermometer is an essential tool for the modern BBQr to cook great food that is also safe to eat, the Thermapen above being an example, but there are others.

Some may call a burger cooked to 160 F ‘well done’, but its really just safe to eat. Don’t worry about a burger being cooked to 160 F and being dry, as long as you have at least 20% in your burger patty.

How To Cook Frozen Burgers On A Camp Chef

Ideally, you’ll be cooking your own homemade burger patties, but I get it, we’re all busy people, and therefore sometimes that means cooking frozen burger patties.

However, if that’s the case, don’t both trying to infuse smoke flavour into a frozen burger patty, you’re likely to be unsuccessful. It makes far more sense to just grill a frozen burger.

How To Cook Frozen Burgers On A Camp Chef
While these frozen Angus beef burgers are better than the average, don’t bother trying to smoke them: Image – Walmart.com

A frozen burger patty is dense. Therefore it will be hard for the smoke to penetrate the burger. Second, they are thinner than a homemade burger patty, and they are going to cook quickly with less time for smoke penetration.

In fact, if you own the Camp Chef Apex or the propane Sear Box/Side Kick, it probably makes the most sense to just use propane to cook frozen burgers and save your pellets.

Final Thoughts On How To Cook Burgers On A Camp Chef…

Depending on which Camp Chef you own, there are several different ways to approach cooking burgers. Some models have direct-flame grilling, some can cook on propane as well, and some can even produce additional smoke with wood chips/chunks.

Whether you choose to smoke, grill, or smoke then grill your burgers, the most important factor is you get the internal temperature of the burger patty at 160F for food safety.

As long as there is sufficient fat in your ground meat, you won’t have dry burgers. They will still be tasty and succulent even when cooked to 160F.

You can then toast your buns and add any toppings/sauces to suit your own personal preferences. When it comes to making up a burger, there are just so many options.

That’s it! Thanks for reading. I hope you found the above information and videos above useful on how to cook a burger on a pellet grill/smoker.

Please check out my Wood Pellet Grill/Smoker Guide to learn more. However, I’ve also produced an FAQ section below, which you may also find useful.

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

A to Z List of Pellet Grill/Smoker Brands

Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.

Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.

A to Z List of The Best BBQ Wood Pellets

A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.

In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.

Chris - PelHeat.com

Hi, I’m Chris. I started PelHeat.com back in 2007. This website is intended to be an educational resource on BBQ pellets, pellet grills & smokers. I hope you find the information useful.

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