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The Best Juicy Smoked Burgers on the Traeger Grill

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This is the BEST Traeger burger recipe! Smoky, juicy, and full of flavor, this recipe is a twist on an old retro classic burger recipe. We use tender lean ground beef with the addition of some other ingredients for flavor and texture to make the BEST smoky burgers you will ever have. You’re going to love them!

This is a close up view of the Traeger burger patties on the grill grates, half with melted cheese.

Whenever we are having company for a backyard BBQ, my husband and I have a go-to burger recipe that gets TONS of compliments every time!

This particular recipe is based on an old classic–you can see the original here on a site called Yesterdish— a site devoted to rescuing America’s lost recipes. I’m not totally sure where it originates other than it came out of the recipe box in North Carolina.

I make a few key changes to the ingredients. First of all, I scale the recipe down to two pounds of ground beef.

While the retro recipe is great when we are serving a large crowd, for a regular old Friday night, it’s too many burgers! 2 lbs makes the perfect amount for a family with a few patties for leftovers.

Next, I use a few simple pantry staples to recreate the Lipton Onion Soup Mix.

My version also omits the hot sauce–I bet adding a shake of Tabasco would be delicious, but I want to make sure I keep the burgers kid-friendly.

But best of all, I give you instructions to make these juicy burgers right on your Traeger grill for the ultimate smoky flavor!

This is a pretty easy recipe, and kids love it, too. My middle son asks us to make these all the time!

Traeger Burgers are the Best Burgers

Cooking burgers on the Traeger brings this classic American favorite to the next level. The Traeger gives optimal flavor, moisture, and tenderness to the patties.

You have far more options to influence the flavor of your burgers on the Traeger than you do with a charcoal or a gas grill. I love giving the burgers a blast of smoke at a lower temperature for 20-30 minutes for that perfect flavor, but then being able to finish on high heat so you can get dinner on the table quickly.

Why These Burgers Are PERFECT

This Traeger burger recipe is incredibly juicy, moist, and full of flavor, even without using high-fat beef.

Ingredients

To make this smoked Traeger burger recipe, you need:

  • Ground Beef – I use grass-fed beef at 85/15. What’s great about this recipe is this perfect blend of ingredients suits lean ground beef very well, so you do not need a high-fat burger mix to keep them juicy! This works great with 85/15, 90/10, and 93/7.
  • Apple Sauce​ – I know what you’re thinking… “what the heck is that for?” You’ll just have to trust me. 😉
  • Crushed Ritz Crackers – I’m not normally one to throw crushed packaged crackers into a meal, so you’re just going to have to trust me here that it’s worth it. Use a gluten-free Ritz-style cracker if needed, but don’t leave these out!
  • Beef Boullion – I use Better than Bouillon beef paste. This is part of what is needed to recreate the Lipton onion soup mix in the burgers. It enriches the beef flavor beautifully. See the recipe card for other bouillon suggestions.
  • Spices – Dried minced onions, garlic powder, onion powder, and Montreal Steak Seasoning.
  • Worcestershire Sauce

As for equipment, you need a Traeger Pellet Grill (or any other pellet grill brand). A burger press is helpful, but not necessary.

These are the ingredients needed to make the Traeger burger recipe on a white backdrop.

Instructions

This is a Trager pellet grill with the hood open as it heats up on a wooden deck.

1. Heat Up the Traeger

Preheat your Traeger–turn it on to the “Smoke” setting with the lid open until you can see the smoke. Then close the lid and turn the Traeger temperature to 180°F.

(Yes, my Traeger is OLD and non-aesthetic. Haha. But just goes to show how well these things hold up over time!)

This is a large white bowl with all the ingredients and a blue spoon.

2. Combine Ingredients

While the Traeger heats up, make the burger mixture. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands to make sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

This is a food scale and plate with burger patties being portioned and pressed.

3. Make the Hamburger Patties

Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal portions (due to the weight of the meat and the other ingredients, each patty weighs about 4.8 ounces). Use a burger press or two plates to flatten the patties until they are about 1/2 inch thick.

Set patties on a tray (I like to put a square of parchment paper between each patty) so they’re ready to bring out to the grill.

This is a person placing the raw burger patties on the grill grates.

4. Smoke Burgers

When the Traeger reaches 180°, place patties directly on the grill grates. Close the lid and let them smoke at 180° for 30 minutes.

This is a metal spatula flipping the burger patties on the Traeger grill.

5. Turn Up the Heat

After 30 minutes, turn the heat up to High (450°). Let the burgers cook 4-5 more minutes while the Traeger heats up, then open the lid and flip the burgers over. Close the lid and let them cook for another 4 minutes.

This is a close up view of the Traeger burger patties on the grill grates, half with melted cheese.

6. Add Cheese if Desired

Burgers are done when the internal temperature is 160°F. See notes. Turn off the grill and remove burgers (unless you want to add cheese–for cheeseburgers, turn off the grill, add a slice of cheese to each patty, then close the lid and let the burgers sit in the residual heat of the grill for a few minutes to get the cheese melty, then remove when the cheese is to your liking).

We love using cheddar cheese or pepper jack for burgers.

That’s it! Making burgers on the Traeger is a little different than making them on a charcoal grill, but they are pretty easy. 

Traeger Burger Tips

Due to the chemical reaction from the smoke, the burgers may still look pink even at 160°. I recommend checking the internal temperature with a digital meat thermometer to be certain they are done. On average this takes 8-10 minutes after turning the heat to High, flipping halfway through.

I recommend using hickory, mesquite, or an all-purpose blend/signature blend wood pellets for these burgers. However, burgers are pretty versatile so any pellet you have should work just fine.

Burger Topping Ideas

Load up your burger with your favorite condiments. Some of our family’s favorite toppings are:

  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (yellow or whole grain mustard)
  • Dill Pickles
  • Saurkraut (bonus that sauerkraut is good for the gut!)
  • Barbecue Sauce
  • Bacon
  • Fried Egg
  • Avocado Slices
  • Chipotle Aioli
  • Heirloom Tomato Slices
  • Red Onions or White Onion Slices

As for me, I’m a classic American cheeseburger kinda gal, so ketchup, mustard, and pickles is all I need. YUM!

This is a grilled Traeger burger on a bun on a plate with crinkle fries and side salad.

Substitutions

Need Gluten Free?

While this Traeger burger recipe isn’t gluten-free as written, it is very easy to make gluten-free if needed!

If you cannot eat gluten, use a gluten-free Ritz-style cracker. You can find some made by the Simple Mills, Lance, and Fit Joy brands.

You could also use gluten-free bread crumbs or ground oats instead of the crackers, but the crackers really give an amazing texture & flavor to these burgers.

Worcestershire sauce is often not gluten-free because it can contain barley malt. However, there are brands of Worcestershire sauce available that ARE gluten-free, so make sure you read the labels. 

Alternatively, you can use tamari or a gluten-free soy sauce (not all soy sauce is gluten-free–be sure to read the label).

You Can Use the Lipton!

If you’d rather stick close to the original recipe and use a pack of onion soup mix, you would use about half of the packet, then omit the dried minced onion, beef bouillon, garlic powder, and onion powder from my recipe.

Nutrition Info

Note: The nutritional info given here is an estimate based off of my chosen brands of ingredients as estimated by my macro-tracking app of choice. Your stats may vary.

This recipe makes 8 patties. For one patty, the info is as follows: 

  • Calories: 295
  • Protein: 20 grams
  • Fat: 21 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams

Other Traeger Recipes

Try out these other delicious Traeger recipes this summer:

Leave a Comment & Review!

You’re never going to want to make any other burger recipe again! I want to hear how much you love these burgers or any questions you may have about making them. Feel free to leave a comment & review–I reply to each one!

This is a close up view of the Traeger burger patties on the grill grates, half with melted cheese.
Print Recipe
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Traeger Burgers

These delicious, smokey burgers are perfect for a quick weeknight meal or summer BBQ!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: burger recipes, traeger burgers, traeger recipes
Servings: 8
Calories: 300kcal
Author: Holly Lee
Cost: $10

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 2 lb ground beef I use 85/15 for burgers
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup Ritz crackers, crushed about 20 crackers
  • 1 tsp Better than Bouillon Beef Base or 1 tbsp bouillon powder or 1 crushed bouillon cube
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp Montreal Steak Seasoning

Instructions

  • Preheat your Traeger–turn it on to the "Smoke" setting with the lid open until you can see the smoke. Then close the lid and turn the temperature to 180°F.
  • While the Traeger heats up, prep the meat mixture. Add all of the ingredients to a large mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with your hands to make sure all ingredients are evenly incorporated.
  • Divide the meat mixture into 8 equal patties (due to the weight of the meat and the other ingredients, each patty weighs about 4.8 ounces). Use a burger press or two plates to flatten the patties until they are about 1/2 inch thick. Set patties on a tray (I like to put a square of parchment paper between each patty) so they're ready to bring out to the grill.
  • When the Traeger reaches 180°, put the burgers directly on the grate. Close the lid and let them smoke at 180° for 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, turn the heat up to High (450°). Let the burgers cook 4-5 more minutes while the Traeger heats up, then open the lid and flip the burgers over. Close the lid and let them cook for another 4 minutes.
  • Burgers are done when the internal temperature is 160°F (see notes). Turn off the grill. For cheeseburgers, add the cheese and close the lid and let the burgers sit in the residual heat of the grill for a few minutes to get the cheese melty. Then remove.

Video

Notes

Due to the chemical reaction from the smoke, they may still look pink even at 160°. I recommend checking for doneness with a digital thermometer, but on average this takes 8-10 minutes after turning the heat to High, flipping halfway through.
I recommend using hickory, mesquite, or an all-purpose blend/signature wood pellet blend for these burgers. However, burgers are pretty versatile so any pellet you have should work just fine.

Nutrition

Calories: 300kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 107mg | Potassium: 356mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 17IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 3mg

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