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 REC TEQ pellet grill/smoker and their recommended methods. We’ll discuss smoking, grilling or smoking and then grilling your burgers. We’ll also discuss the additional recommended kit by REC TEQ for grilling/searing burgers. Right, let’s get into this!
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
- RECTEQ Temp: For smoking around 225 F, for grilling 450-500 F
- 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.
REC TEQ Recommended Approach For How To Cook Burgers
On the REC TEQ website, there are various burger recipes, with the classic example of reverse-seared burgers, as seen above, well suited to a pellet grill/smoker.
What reverse-searing means is you start the cook at a low temperature for smoke infusion, and then you finish off the cook at a high grilling/searing temperature.
Reverse searing is an excellent approach for burgers with a pellet grill/smoker, as it takes advantage of the full capabilities of cooking/smoking with pellets.
In terms of a REC TEQ burger video, I’ve referenced their video below on how to produce a massive bacon cheeseburger, hence a sharing burger that you would cut up like a pizza.
While you may want to try and cook a huge sharing burger, as shown in the video above, its more likely you are interested in learning how to produce and properly cook small individual burgers.
Therefore below, I’m going to go through the key steps of preparing the burgers, choosing your pellets, smoking the burger or grilling/searing your burgers.
I’m also going to encourage you to cook your burgers to a higher internal temperature than that recommended by REC TEQ in their recipes, and for good reason.
1: Make Burgers From 80/20 Ground Chuck Beef Or Similar
While you may not want to produce a massive 6 lb burger pattie as shown in the video, the advice you do want to follow is to use 80/20 ground chuck beef for your burger patties.
The 20 refers to 20% fat content within the ground beef, with chuck meat coming from around the shoulders of the cattle and typically containing 15 to 20% fat.
You can use ground beef rounds or sirloin for your burgers, the problem is though that the fat content will only be up to 10%, and you will need to add fat for the best burgers.
If you make burgers with a fat content of less than 20%, you will typically struggle to form the burger patties, and they may fall apart. You could also end up with dry burgers once cooked.
You may have heard people going on about how great Wagyu beef is and wondered what all the fuss is about. Well, Wagyu beef contains 20 to 30% fat. Hence it can make some great burgers.
Wagyu cattle are originally from Japan and were produced after many generations of selective breeding. There are now US ranches such as Snake River Farms in the US Northwest that have imported some Wagyu cattle.
From personal experience, I can tell you Wagyu beef is the best I’ve ever tasted. I can also tell you its the most expensive meat I’ve ever purchased.
Therefore, I see Wagyu beef as my treat meat which I get for special occasions such as Birthdays etc.
2: Preparing The Burger Patty & Seasoning For The REC TEQ
Another piece of good advice from the REC TEQ video above is to not overwork the ground meat as you are forming the burger patties. Otherwise, you may end up with tough burgers.
Also, if you press/squeeze the ground beef too much to make the burger patties, the smoke from the REC TEQ will struggle to penetrate. So simply pat your burger patties into shape.
What you’ll also want to do is push your thumb down into the centre of each patty. I know that might seem odd, but as shown in my main how to make a burger article, its for good reason.
Pushing your thumb down into the centre of the burger patty will stop it from expanding into a ball as it cooks. Hence, its easier to put toppings and the bun onto the finished burger patty.
You’ll want to season your burger patties before they go on the REC TEQ, and there is nothing wrong with just going with a little bit of sea salt and black pepper, my personal preference.
However, you could also apply some BBQ rub. With REC TEQ’s own Heffer Dust as well as salt/pepper, there is some chilli, garlic, onion, and paprika in there for additional flavour.
Though I do want to remind you with burgers, you only need a little bit of seasoning. Its not like with a smoked brisket where you will be applying lots and lots of rub.
3. The Best REC TEQ Pellets For Cooking Burgers
So you want to choose the best pellets for your REC TEQ when cooking burgers. Well, first, you have to decide whether you are smoking or grilling your burgers.
If you are going to smoke them, then either the Mesquite blend for a bold smoky flavour or the Apple or Cherry blends will provide you with a lighter/sweeter smoke flavour.
However, if you are purely going to be grilling burgers on your REC TEQ, I would just go with the Ultimate Blend, which is mainly Oak (red and white) with some Hickory in there too.
When grilling, very little smoke is produced because your REC TEQ will be burning the pellets as efficiently as possible to create as much heat as possible.
Therefore, when purely grilling, don’t worry about smoke flavour as not only is little smoke produced, but the burgers are cooking so quickly that they have little time to absorb the smoke.
However, if you smoke your burgers over a longer period of time at a low temperature or reverse-sear them, then smoke flavour comes into play, and your choice of pellets is more relevant.
Now, there are many more pellet flavours/blends on the market, which you can review in my BBQ pellets article. Therefore, don’t just limit yourself to using only REC TEQ pellets.
For instance, if you want to get grilling results with the highest grate surface temperatures, then you may want to consider some 100% charcoal pellets.
Pellet Usage When Cooking/Smoking Burgers
Generally, most pellet grills/smokers on a low and slow cook will consume between 1 to 2 lbs of pellets per hour. For grilling, pellet usage will be up to maybe 4 lbs per hour.
As REC TEQ pellet smokers are not twin-wall insulated, I would definitely recommend an insulated blanket to keep pellet consumption down during the colder winter months of the year.
4. Smoking Burgers On A REC TEQ
When it comes to smoking burgers on your REC TEQ, once you have chosen the best pellets to suit your personal smoke flavour preference, what temperature do you want to set the REC TEQ?
Well, the typical advice for smoking burgers is to run the REC TEQ around 225 F. However, you do also have a smoke setting on your REC TEQ should you want to use it.
The REC TEQ smoke setting is called ‘Extreme Smoke’, and what it will do is cycle the fan on and off to deliberately let the pellets smoulder to produce additional smoke.
It’s important to note though when using Extreme Smoke, you should expect wider temperature swings than normal, as the PID algorithm will not be working as it normally would.
You could purely smoke your burgers up to an internal temperature of 160 degrees. However, you could, at around 140 F, then up the temperature of the REC TEQ to Full.
You could then finish off your burgers by grilling them, hence the reverse-sear method discussed above. This way, you get a nice smoky burger but with grill marks and that nice texture/flavour.
5. Grilling/Searing Burgers On A REC TEQ
What REC TEQ pellet grills/smokers share in common with grilling burgers on a Traeger or a Z Grill, for instance, is the lack of direct-flame access.
However, you do have REC TEQ models, particularly the Bullseye and Bullseye X, which can be set from 700 to 1,000 degrees F. Hence, grilling/searing is not a problem.
Though in general, REC TEQ does recommend their ‘Sear Kits’, which are basically GrillGrates which are aluminium panels which can provide a hotter surface than the wire grates.
If you are going to be smoking then grilling (reverse-searing) your burgers, you may not want to go with the 100% charcoal pellets and choose a different pellet blend for an alternative flavour.
However, if you are purely grilling/searing your burgers and you want the highest grate surface temperatures possible, then there is no better option than charcoal pellets.
Though when grilling/searing burgers, you need to be really careful not to burn the outside of the burgers before the internal temperature has reached 160 F.
6. But When Is A Burger ‘Done’ Cooking?
I’ve browsed quite a few of the burger recipes on the REC TEQ website, and they recommend cooking burgers to an internal temperature as low as 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Please don’t do this.
No reference is made to the significant dangers of not cooking ground meat properly to avoid poisoning from E. coli bacteria. Its potentially very serious, even deadly.
Therefore, I would very much encourage you to follow CDC and FDA guidance and cook your burgers to an internal temperature of 160 F, whether you smoke or grill them.
While you need to make sure your burgers are safe to eat (160 F), at the same time, you don’t want to overcook them and dry them out. Therefore, you want to get an instant-read thermometer.
I really do think a good/accurate instant-read thermometer is an essential tool for any smoker/grill owner. Cooking ‘to touch’ or any such advice like that is just not realistic.
I get it. If you have developed enough experience, you may eventually be able to tell when things are done cooking by the density/tenderness of the meat etc.
But that’s a true skill that is learnt over a long period of time. Therefore, its not something that can be recommended. What can be recommended is a great tool such as an instant-read thermometer.
How To Cook Frozen Burgers On A REC TEQ
No frozen burger will compete with the taste/texture of a homemade burger from 80/20 chuck beef or Wagyu beef. But sometimes, you just need to cook some simple/quick frozen burgers.
So that brings up the question of how should you cook frozen burgers on your REC TEQ pellet grill/smoker? Well, the answer is simple, just grill them.
Frozen burger patties, by their very nature, are going to be thinner and denser than freshly made burger patties. As a result, they will cook quickly, and smoke will struggle to penetrate.
As a result, there isn’t really any point wasting your time and the additional pellets trying to smoke frozen burgers. Its highly unlikely you will be able to taste the smoke.
Therefore, just grill frozen burgers, but do so carefully, making sure the outside is not overcooked/burnt before they have reached an internal temperature of 160 F.
Final Thoughts On How To Cook Burgers On A REC TEQ…
If you’re looking for lots of different burger recipes, there are lots of ideas on the REC TEQ recipe pages. However, as I’ve said above, please cook your burgers to 160 F.
When it comes to your choice of REC TEQ pellets, Ultimate Blend is suitable for smoking or grilling and they are the better choice for grilling over the Apple or Cherry blends.
The Extreme Smoke setting on your REC TEQ can help to provide a boost of smoke flavour. When it comes to grilling, you may want to consider some GrillGrates, and/or some charcoal pellets.
I’ll leave burger toppings and the choice of buns etc up to you. The main emphasis of this article is to give you the best advice on smoking and grilling your burger patties on your REC TEQ.
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.