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 Weber pellet grill/smoker. Getting high temperatures for grilling/searing burgers is not a problem on a Weber SmokeFire pellet grill. However, you may want to consider smoking your burgers at a lower temperature to get more smoke flavour. Right, let’s get into this!
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- Cooking Time Grilling: Typically 15 to 18 minutes
- Cooking Time Smoking: Typically 30 to 45 minutes
- Weber Temp: For smoking around 225 F, for grilling up to 600 F
- Burger Internal Temp When Done: 160 F (we’ll discuss this)
- Best Pellets For Burgers: Oak, Hickory, Mesquite, maybe Charcoal pellets
Weber Recommended Approach For How To Cook A Burger
While there are various burger recipes on the Weber website, such as Chorizo burgers, for instance, there is very little information at all provided on how to make the best use of a Weber SmokeFire pellet grill/smoker.
Pretty much all of the Weber recipes are written around the Weber kettle using charcoal or a Weber gas grill. Therefore, with this article, we’re talking specifically about the SmokeFire pellet grill.
One method you could follow is the video below from Just Grillin Outdoor Livin, where they produce some burgers on the Weber SmokeFire EX4 at medium to high heat (385 F).
The method in the video above is neither smoking the burger on a lower heat (180 to 225 F), or grilling/searing burgers at up to the grill’s maximum temperature of 600 degrees.
Therefore, below we’ll discuss how to cook burgers via both methods on a Weber SmokeFire. You could even start by smoking the burgers and then finish the cook off at a high heat for a crispy outer texture and a nice grilled taste.
1: Enough Fat In Your Ground Meat Is Important
While cooking with pellets can impart great flavour into your food, when it comes to burgers, fat means flavour. Therefore, using ground meat with sufficient fat is where the flavour train starts.
Ideally, you want 20% fat or more in your ground meat to make burger patties. Partly for flavour but also to make sure the burger stays juicy when properly cooked.
Not all ground beef contains sufficient fat for the ideal burger. For instance, ground beef made from rounds or sirloin will only contain up to 10% fat.
However, ground beef from the chuck, which is the upper chest/shoulders of the cow, it contains 15 to 20% fat. Hence, if you can get ground chuck beef, it will make better burgers.
Wagyu cattle are originally from Japan, and their beef contains a higher-than-average fat percentage. As well as burgers, Wagyu beef can make an excellent smoked brisket.
There are now US-based farms, such as Snake River Farms, that imported Wagyu cattle from Japan and bred them with their own cattle for the higher fat content within their meat.
Wagyu beef is really tasty, however, its also pretty expensive. Therefore, I treat Wagy as my treat meat for special occasions.
2: Preparing The Burger Patty & Seasoning For The Weber
When you are working the ground beef or other meat into a burger patty, you don’t want to be too rough and make the burger patty too dense as that will limit smoke penetration.
You can get burger patty presses which can be good for making patties of a consistent size, but again, don’t put too much pressure down on the burger patty.
You then want to push your thumb down into the centre of the burger patty. Why? Well, I explain it more in my main article on how to cook a burger on a pellet grill/smoker.
Now its time for seasoning. Personally, I like to keep it simple with a bit of sea salt and black pepper. However, alternatively, you can season with one of the many BBQ rubs.
If you want to go down the BBQ rub route for seasoning your burger patties once you have found one to suit your personal preferences, please bear something in mind.
You are not cooking a smoked brisket, with burger patties, they only need a little bit of seasoning, so go light when sprinkling the BBQ rub.
Also, think about what, if any BBQ sauces you want to put on your burger patty when making up the burger and will that sauce work well with your chosen BBQ rub?
3. The Best Weber Pellets For Cooking A Burger
Ok, let’s say you’re planning ahead here, and you’re not just going to cook your burgers with any pellets which you just have lying around.
So first off, your starting point is deciding if you are going to be smoking your burgers or grilling your burgers because when grilling don’t worry about smoke flavour.
Grilling will cook the burgers so quickly that there isn’t really sufficient time for the burgers to absorb much smoke. However, when grilling, a pellet grill also isn’t producing much smoke anyway.
Pellets produce more smoke when the fire is small and the pellets are smouldering. So when grilling and the fire is burning very efficiently, not much smoke is produced.
If you are going to smoke your burgers at a lower temperature for a cook time of up to maybe 45 minutes, then you have some decisions to make.
If you prefer a stronger/bolder smoke flavour, then either the Hickory or Mesquite pellet blends may be more suitable to suit your flavour preferences.
However, if you are looking for a lighter smoke flavour, then either the Apple or Cherry blends would probably be a better option.
When it comes to grilling, then Weber does produce a general GrillMaster blend which would be perfectly suitable, but there are also other brands of pellets you could use.
Check out my article on the best value smoking/grilling pellets to review over 24 brands of pellets now on the market in various flavours to suit pretty much any personal preference.
Pellet Usage When Smoking/Grilling A Burger
Generally, Traeger’s 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.
As the Weber SmokeFire Gen 1 and the SmokeFire Gen 2 both feature twin-wall insulation on the sides of the grills, pellet usage is a little bit below the industry average.
4. Smoking A Burger On A Weber
To get as much smoke flavour into the burger patties as possible, the pellet grill/smoker needs to be set to a temperature of around 225 degrees or below.
Some pellet grills/smokers have a dedicated smoke setting which can increase the amount of smoke produced by deliberately making the pellets smoulder.
While more smoke is produced, it should be noted that you will see wider temperature swings than normal on the control panel while a smoke setting is in use.
On the Weber SmokeFire, the smoke setting is called SmokeBoost, and it will operate between 160 and 200 F to produce additional smoke for cooking your burgers.
The SmokeBoost setting can be set between 15 minutes up to 2 hours. You could use the SmokeBoost function to cook the burgers up to their target temperature of 160F.
However, as the SmokeFire is an excellent pellet grill, you could also take advantage of its grilling capabilities after initially smoking the burgers.
You could smoke the burgers up to an internal temperature of around 140 F and then turn the SmokeFire up to its maximum temperature to sear the outer surface of the burger.
That way, you would get smokey flavour inside the burger patties, and on the outside of the burgers, you would have that great Maillard reaction, as I discuss here.
5. Grilling A Burger On A Weber
In some of my associated ‘how to cook a burger’ articles on other brands, such as Traeger and Z Grills in particular, I’m discussing methods to improve their grilling/searing performance.
These include using GrillGrates to improve cooking surface temperature and using 100% charcoal pellets to increase heat output.
While you could follow that advice for grilling burgers on a Weber SmokeFire, its not that you cannot grill without them, far from it.
The Weber SmokeFire essentially provides direct-flame access all the time. This can provide good grilling performance, but you also need to clean it frequently to avoid a grease fire situation.
There are a couple of things I would keep in mind though, about purely grilling your burgers. First off, as noted above, when discussing pellets, you will get very little smoke flavour in the burgers.
Second, you do have to be careful not to overcook or even burn the outside of the burger patties while the centre of the burger has not reached the crucial 160 F.
6. But When Is A Burger ‘Done’ Cooking?
I’m going to be very clear here. Don’t cook burgers to how they ‘feel’ when you touch them, as some have stated. You simply want to look for a certain internal temperature, 160 F.
Now, you may come across some websites/YouTube videos stating they prefer to cook their burgers medium-rare or even rare. Don’t do that, its not worth the risk.
Cooking burgers or any food made from ground/minced meat is not the same as cooking a steak, for instance. Ground meat carries a specific increased risk of E. coli bacteria.
Typically, E. coli bacteria will just make you sick, which you obviously want to avoid. However, in some cases, E. coli bacteria poisoning has even led to deaths, so don’t mess about.
The only properly cooked and safe burger to eat is one that has been cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit following advice from the CDC and FDA.
Your Weber pellet grill/smoker does have meat probes which are good for monitoring the internal temperature of larger cuts of meat etc. However, they’re not ideal for burgers.
For burgers, you really want an instant-read thermometer with a thinner needle so you can test the temperature without breaking up the burger.
The Therampen in the image is one of the model popular/accurate models currently on the market, but there are other brands etc.
How To Cook Frozen Burgers On A Weber
While I would always encourage you to freshly prepare your own burgers, I get it. Sometimes you just need a meal prepared as quickly as possible.
Along those lines, I would also encourage you to just grill frozen burgers on your Weber SmokeFire pellet grill/smoker, don’t bother trying to actually smoke them.
Why? Well, frozen burger patties are typically pretty thin and dense. Hence, they are going to cook quickly with little time for smoke absorption.
Furthermore, due to the density of the frozen burger patty, the smoke will struggle to penetrate. So even if you did smoke it at a low temperature, you may struggle to taste the smoke at all.
Final Thoughts On How To Cook Burgers On A Weber…
By owning a Weber SmokeFire, you own one of the most capable pellet grills on the market in terms of high-temperature grilling/searing.
However, just remember to keep up regular cleaning of your SmokeFire. You don’t want a grease fire ruining your experience and your food.
If you are going to smoke your burgers, take advantage of the SmokeBoost function, it will make a difference in how much smoke your Weber SmokeFire produces.
When grilling, as the SmokeFire can get the grate to 600 degrees, be careful not to overcook/burn your burgers before the centre has reached that all-important 160 F.
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.