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 Pit Boss pellet grill/smoker. Whether you want to smoke your burgers, grill your burgers or smoke then grill your burgers, the information below will help you out. We’ll mainly be discussing cooking homemade burger patties, but I’ll also discuss how to cook frozen burgers.
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.
- Cooking Time Grilling: Typically 15 to 18 minutes
- Cooking Time Smoking: Typically 30 to 45 minutes
- Pit Boss Temp: For smoking around 225 F, for grilling 450-500 F
- Direct/Indirect Heat?: Smoking indirect, grilling direct flame
- 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.
Pit Boss Recommended Approach For How To Cook A Burger
If you browse the Pit Boss website, you may come across a couple of recipes for burgers, such as their beer can burgers, cheddar stuffed burgers or Jalapeno bacon burgers (image above).
However, Pit Boss provide little detail on the full method to cook a burger on one of their pellet grills/smokers, hence the reason for this article.
Therefore, instead of a Pit Boss video, I’m going to reference a video by Darrin from Ash Kickin’ BBQ, which I think is currently the best video out there on how to cook a burger on a Pit Boss.
There are a couple of reasons I particularly like Darrin’s video. First, he discusses using ground beef with sufficient fat to produce the burger patty, and we’ll discuss that more below.
Darrin is also measuring the internal temperature of his burger patties as they cook, and he cooks them properly and safely up to 160 F, and we’ll also discuss this in more detail below.
As Darrin’s video is focused on producing smoked burgers, we’ll also discuss below grilling and flame grilling burgers on a Pit Boss if you want to cook your burgers that way.
1: Use Ground Beef With Sufficient Fat
If you have never cooked burgers before, you may have heard terms like ’80/20′ and ‘chuck beef’ when watching/reading recipes and wondered what they’re talking about.
Well, 80/20 refers to 80% meat to 20% fat, and chuck beef is meat from a specific area of the cow, its upper chest/shoulder meat, which contains more fat than other beef cuts.
For instance, ground beef rounds contain up to 10% fat, the same as ground sirloin will. However, you get quite a bit more fat in ground chuck beef, typically between 15 to 20%.
Why is fat in a burger important? Well, it definitely helps with flavour and it keeps the meat moist as it cooks. However, with a burger patty specifically, the fat plays a key role in holding the burger patty together.
If you want to treat yourself, you could consider some ground Wagyu beef which has between 20 to 30% fat, such as that from Snake River Farms.
Snake River Farms is based in the US Northwest, and they imported some Japanese Wagyu cattle to breed with their American cattle.
Wagyu beef is delicious, however, its also expensive. Therefore, I personally think of Wagyu as a treat, not the type of beef for an every day/weekday burger.
2: Preparing The Burger Patty & Seasoning For The Pit Boss
So you have got your ground beef with a sufficient fat content of around 20%. You now need to shape it into a patty, but its important to do so gently.
You don’t want to squeeze the ground beef too much. Doing so will impact how it cooks and also restrict smoke penetration into the burger as it cooks.
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.
If you pay attention to Darrin’s video above, you will notice that his burger patties have that thumb indentation. To learn about the benefits of this method, click the link to my main burger article above.
When it comes to seasoning your burger patties, there is nothing wrong with a simple 50/50 mix of sea salt and black pepper. For a high-quality Wagyu burger, that’s all I would do.
However, there is a huge range of rubs out there you can try. You could obviously try one of the Pit Boss branded rubs, such as the Bold Burger Rub above.
Just keep in mind you are not smoking a brisket. Burgers are relatively small, so go light on the seasoning.
3. The Best Pit Boss Pellets For Cooking A Burger
Before you can choose the best pellets for cooking a burger on your Pit Boss, you first need to decide if you going to smoke (low temp) your burger or grill it at a high temperature?
The reason is, with a smoked burger, you will be able to taste the smoke and the respective smoke flavour. When purely grilling, you be able to taste very little smoke flavour in the burger.
The reason is twofold when smoked at a lower temperature. The cook is longer, so the burger can absorb more smoke. Also, at a lower temperature, a pellet grill/smoker produces more smoke.
So if your smoking the burger for a bold flavour, either a Hickory or Mesquite blend could work well. For a sweeter smoke flavour, then an Apple or Cherry blend would be more suitable.
However, if you are purely going to be grilling your burgers, then simply going for Oak pellets is a viable option. Oak pellets also produce more heat per lb than Apple pellets, for example.
Though if its high heat you want, then Charcoal pellets are what you’re after. Pit Boss do produce a Charcoal pellet blend with oak pellets, but for maximum heat, you’ll want 100% charcoal pellets.
My article on charcoal pellets goes into more detail, but there is a huge range of pellets you could choose for your Pit Boss. Also, check out my other article on the best value smoking/grilling pellets.
Pellet Usage When Smoking/Grilling A Burger
Generally, Pit Boss 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 Pit Boss
As a general method for smoking a burger on a Pit Boss, a temperature setting around 225 degrees is chosen, and the cook can take maybe up to 45 minutes.
At lower temperatures, there is obviously a smaller fire, and a smaller fire is less efficient, providing more opportunity for your Pit Boss to produce smoke.
Furthermore, cooking the burger at a relatively low temperature gives the smoke produced more time to penetrate into the burger, providing a smoky flavour.
However, some Pit Boss pellet grills also have a Smoke Setting with a P-Setting adjustment which gives the user an even greater ability to produce more smoke.
Its mainly Pit Boss models with older control panel technology, such as the Mahogany, Navigator and Sportsman, that have a Smoke Setting.
You won’t find a Smoke Setting with P-Setting adjustment on a second-generation Pro Series or a Pit Boss Platinum Series model.
However, you will find the Smoke Setting on new models such as the Competition Series and Onyx Edition, even though they feature some of the latest PID temperature control.
The point is, if your Pit Boss has a Smoke Setting, take advantage of it to produce excellent smoked burgers. If not, just run your Pit Boss between 180 to 225 degrees.
5. Grilling A Burger On A Pit Boss
In my article about burgers on a Traeger, I discuss how Traeger owners may want to upgrade to GrillGrates to get better grilling/searing performance.
However, Pit Boss owners won’t need to do that. The cast-iron porcelain coated grates found on a Pit Boss grills are excellent for grilling as they hold onto the heat, and the surface temperature can build.
Factor in the direct-flame access capabilities of Pit Boss pellet grills/smokers, and high temperatures of 500 to 650 degrees are not a problem.
However, when grilling your burgers, be careful with the direct flame access. You could end up overcooking/burning the outside of the burger before the centre is properly cooked.
6. But When Is A Burger ‘Done’ Cooking?
One of the reasons I chose to reference Darrin’s video above on how to cook a burger on a Pit Boss is that he properly cooks his burgers to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
Some may call a burger cooked to 160 degrees ‘well done’. I just call it safe to eat. Eating a medium-rare steak does not carry the same risk as eating a medium-rare burger.
With ground beef, any ground meat for that matter, there is a risk of E. coli bacteria. E.coli poisoning is a serious business and can even lead to death in some cases.
Therefore, don’t mess around when cooking burgers. Cook them until their internal temperature is 160 degrees, following CDC & FDA guidance.
Whether you pick up a Thermapen as shown above or some other accurate instant-read thermometer, it doesn’t matter. The important point is you use it.
With an instant-read thermometer, you will now know when the burgers are probably cooked, but importantly you also can stop them from overcooking and drying out.
If you use ground beef with the 80/20 mix of meat to fat, your burger will not be dry when cooked to 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
How To Cook Frozen Burgers On A Pit Boss
If you’re not making your own burger patties and you are just cooking up some frozen burgers, how should you approach the cook on your Pit Boss?
Well, I personally wouldn’t bother trying to smoke a frozen burger. Due to the thin/compressed burger patty, a frozen burger will cook pretty quickly.
Hence, a frozen burger patty won’t really have sufficient time to absorb much smoke before its cooked. Therefore, personally, I would just grill a frozen burger.
As grilling as opposed to smoking a frozen burger is the most appropriate method to cook them, that impacts the best pellet choice.
Burning Apple, Cherry, Hickory or Mesquite pellets etc is a bit of waste when purely grilling. For grilling frozen burgers, standard Oak pellets or Charcoal pellets would be the better choice.
Final Thoughts On How To Cook Burgers On A Pit Boss…
So first things first, make sure you are making your burgers with ground meat that includes sufficient fat (20% plus ideally) for flavour but also to hold the patty together and keep it moist when cooked.
When seasoning, either a basic salt and pepper rub is fine, or you can use a BBQ rub of your choosing, just remember that only a light bit of seasoning is required for a burger.
When it comes to cooking the burger, smoking or grilling is an option. However, if you want to taste that smoke flavour, you will need a longer cook at a lower temperature.
The important thing is you cook the burger patty until its internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit, its then safe to eat.
You can then toast your buns if you wish and finish the burger with whatever toppings (lettuce/tomato etc) you choose and enjoy!
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.