If you’re looking to step up your burger game and learn how to make the best burgers on a pellet grill, then you’ve come to the right place! I think we can all agree that nothing quite beats spending time with family and friends, eating burgers and drinking delicious beverages. Fortunately, it’s the best time of the year for backyard grilling, so we cooked some of our favorite burgers for your viewing pleasure and our stomach’s pleasure (sorry, no leftovers).
We made four kinds: Classic American Cheeseburger, Bacon & Bleu Cheese, Juicy Lucy, and Farmyard Burger. Below are the recipes along with beer pairings because what’s a backyard burger cookout without beer? You can drink whatever slakes your thirst, but since MAK Grills is in the middle of Beer Country, USA our favorites are all from local Oregon breweries. Cheers!
As you know, MAK loves all things USA and what’s more American than a good ol’ cheeseburger? When learning how to make the best burgers on a pellet grill, it’s important to master the basics first.
We started our burger cookout by purchasing 2 lbs. of local beef. We always recommend buying local meat, mostly because it tastes better! Also, if you know where your beef comes from and how it’s processed, you’ve got some latitude when it comes to cooking it. Our desired level of “doneness” for a hamburger is 135°F, but everyone has a different sweet spot so feel free to tweak the internal temperature (IT) to your liking. If you don’t know where your beef came from, we recommend cooking it to 160°F IT to ensure that no harmful bacteria survive the flames.
Turn on the MAK 2-Star General Grill to setpoint 350°F with the FlameZone covers on, the MAK Griddle in the back, and the MAK Searing Grate in the front. Bear Mountain hickory blend pellets were in the hopper so that’s what we used, but you can use whatever is in your hopper. Burgers aren’t as picky as other meats when it comes to what flavor of smoke they’re bathing in.
You need bacon for burgers, and that’s a fact. 1 lb. of bacon on the MAK Griddle cooks nicely while the grill is heating up. Place it in an aluminum pan in the warmer/smoker box on the righthand side of the MAK Two-Star General to keep it warm while you cook the rest of your food. It’s easiest to use metal tongs to flip food on the MAK Griddle, especially when it’s placed in the rear of the grill.
Use the grease from the bacon to sauté some onions on the MAK Griddle and place them in the pan with the bacon in the warmer/smoker box. The flavors will meld together nicely—making the finished product that much tastier! Since the warmer/smoker box will stay at around 165°F, your food will be kept at a safe temperature until you’re ready to eat.
Your setpoint alarm should sound about now, alerting you that it’s time to put the burger on. Use ½ lb. of ground beef for each of the four patties. For a Juicy Lucy burger, put two slices of Swiss cheese in the center of the patty. Season the patties with your favorite rub—if you don’t have one, MAK Chipotle Rub really highlights the natural flavor of the beef. We put four burgers on the MAK Searing Grate, but you can easily fit twice that amount.
For a Farmyard Burger, fry a fresh egg or two on the MAK Griddle, again using the bacon grease in lieu of oil. They can also go into the aluminum pan in the warmer/smoker box to keep warm (and to suck up some of the delicious bacon and onion flavor!). While the burgers finish cooking, slice up some tomato and lettuce. A burger just isn’t a burger without tomato and lettuce (and BEER!).
It was about ten minutes at 350°F to cook the burgers to 135°F internally—times may vary. Flip your patties every 1.5 minutes if you want those deep sear marks that every hamburger patty craves. During the last two minutes, use one of the half grates replaced by the MAK Griddle to toast some pub buns on the middle-upper rack position.
We put one slice of cheddar cheese each on two of the patties while the buns were toasting for our Farmyard Burger and a Classic American Cheeseburger. When everything is cooked, it’s time to build the burgers! (This is the part where true artistry comes into play.)
This one’s for the blue cheese lovers out there! Once you’ve mastered the basics, the next step for learning how to make the best burgers on a pellet grill is to get creative with the toppings. We absolutely love the combination of flavors found in this burger. The moment you sink your teeth into it, you’re greeted with the sharp bite of the blue cheese followed by the saltiness of the bacon and tang of our whiskey sauce. It’s pretty hard to beat, especially when paired with the right beer! Simply follow the same steps you would for the classic burger, then at the end switch up the toppings.
This burger is very similar to a classic burger, except WAY better because the patty is filled with cheese. Like our mentality about bacon, we feel that most things are better with cheese too! You’ll have to be a bit more cautious when grilling these guys since the cheese filling can make it a bit more difficult to cook it all the way through. One of the best ways to judge if it’s fully done is to make sure it’s reached the right IT and to cook up a test burger, cut it in half and check for any raw spots on the inside.
General Tip: Let it sit on the counter for 15-20 minutes before drinking, it makes the flavor stand out!
So there you have it! You’re now certified by MAK to teach others how to make the best burgers on their pellet grill. If you’re more of a wine person, check out our wine and smoked meat pairing guide.