What did I do wrong?

Smokinbro

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I tried to smoke burgers last night for the first time. Used grass feed beef, smoked 2 hours at 180, no issues with temp or anything. Meat was prepped with a combo of Worcestershire and Meat Church Holy Cow seasoning. I didn't flip the burgers during the smoke and the side facing down ended up with an extremely tough "crust", tough enough to make it difficult to cut with a knife, the rest of the meat was fine (although had a wicked after taste that I attribute to the grass feed). Any ideas?
 

Slimpicker

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if you're not gonna turn them then put them on the upper shelf...
I don't think it I would even be tempted to NOT flip them
 
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Smokinbro

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if you're not gonna turn them then put them on the upper shelf...
I don't think it I would even be tempted to NOT flip them
That's my first thought too, obviously would flip them on a grill but new to Traeger and was following their recipe and since it didn't call for a flip as well as the indirect method of cooking, I thought they would be fine.
 

Fisty

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I haven't tried to do burgers on mine yet. Burgers IMO need to have a sear on them. I ended up ordering a Grill Grate for burgers & steaks. Should be here by Friday. Looking forward to having a ribeye done correctly on the Traeger.

I'm sure like anything else, it's all about trial & error. Gut instinct...
 

GrillMeister

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Rule of thumb for cooking meats that I follow is:

Lean meats = Hot & Fast
Fatty meats with lots of connective tissue = Low & Slow

Grass fed tends to be on the leaner side of things for hamburger. 2 hours was way too long in my opinion.

If you want smoke, then I recommend a smoke bath at 165 for 30 minutes, then crank it to 400 and cook till internal temp is 140.

Personally, I do burgers all the time on my Ironwood. I set it at 375 and put the burgers on. Once I see blood rising to the top, I flip them and watch the internal temp with my Thermapen. When it hits 140, I pull em for serving. This is only for fresh ground beef. Anything frozen, I'll cook to 155 internal before removing from the grill. They'll hit 160 just sitting in the foil pan in the kitchen.
 
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Smokinbro

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Rule of thumb for cooking meats that I follow is:

Lean meats = Hot & Fast
Fatty meats with lots of connective tissue = Low & Slow

Grass fed tends to be on the leaner side of things for hamburger. 2 hours was way too long in my opinion.

If you want smoke, then I recommend a smoke bath at 165 for 30 minutes, then crank it to 400 and cook till internal temp is 140.

Personally, I do burgers all the time on my Ironwood. I set it at 375 and put the burgers on. Once I see blood rising to the top, I flip them and watch the internal temp with my Thermapen. When it hits 140, I pull em for serving. This is only for fresh ground beef. Anything frozen, I'll cook to 155 internal before removing from the grill. They'll hit 160 just sitting in the foil pan in the kitchen.
I am going to try this. My grill is right next to my Traeger and I totally use it for high heat, searing, etc. So I was going to smoke and then finish each side for 2 minutes each at 400 degrees. Appreciate the thoughts going to try again and mine them smoke them shorter, etc.
 

Walleye Hunter

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I don't do grass fed beef but when I do burgers on my Traeger, I don't flip them and have not had a hard crust on them.
 
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Smokinbro

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I don't do grass fed beef but when I do burgers on my Traeger, I don't flip them and have not had a hard crust on them.
I am wondering if the Worcestershire reacted weird of if the W + the Seasoning reacted but then I would not have expected it to be on one side only. Trial and error.
 

Walleye Hunter

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I am wondering if the Worcestershire reacted weird of if the W + the Seasoning reacted but then I would not have expected it to be on one side only. Trial and error.
I mix A-1, eggs, garlic salt and oregano in my burgers and haven't had a problem. Do you have a drip tray installed? It almost sounds like you don't and they disperse the direct heat from the pot.
 

Russells

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I agree with everyone, smoking for 2 hours seems way too long for burgers. I would also limit to 30 minutes smoke then raise temp if you wanted to do that route. I have used Worcestershire on my burgers and no issues. I now use a marinade that I believe is local to the south (Dales), which also works well. I do mine at 400 and turn once but I prob don't really need to, they always come out great. It is a bit of trial and error until you get your process down. Also note, which others have noticed, my Traeger is running at a higher temp than what the readout shows (about 20 degrees hotter). I just cooked some ribs at 275, which came out way over done. I should have monitored the meat temp better.
 

Steven Sedlmayr

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Always monitor the meat temp. While 140 is a little low for me, I like mine about 145. (yes, those few degrees really do mean something). He is right about only 30 minutes smoke at max. Maybe even 15 to 20 would do. And monitor internal temp!!!! That is so important. Keep initial temp between 180 and 220 for the smoking at the max. Pull meat when it heats 145 and let rest. It should hit about 155 after a few minutes. We wrap ours in foil for a few seconds and let rest so it reabsorbs the moisture.
And a not a bad thing to put a pan of water while you are smoking so as not to dry the meat out.
You should only salt and pepper them. No need for anything else. We cook grass fed beef all the time. It is actually a bit fattier if they prep it right.

Then put a near 30 second sear or so on both sides of the meat. No need to burn it. Causes carcinogens. BTW, putting rosemary on it while grilling cuts down on carcinogens by about 80% or more.

When cooking meat to different temps what you are doing is causing different levels of drying of meat, which means loss of moisture. That is why low and slow means something, still not bad to keep it moist.
By cooking to 180 for two hours you dried out the surface towards the heat and caused it to form carcinogens. That is also why you flip them, to prevent moisture loss from each surface. It forms a crust to prevent other loss of moisture in the rest of the meat, but it still does.

Almost all professional bbq people keep meat moist also by adding moisture to the cooking area. It also helps keep max heat at 212 degrees because of the conversion of water to steam enthalpy. Change of phase and all. This is why pros all show putting a pan of water somewhere in the cooking area when cooking low and slow.

For great hamburgers you would like a nice juicy moist hamburger with a nice surface finish and a bit of smoke. With really good meat, like grass fed, you do not want to hide flavor with anything else. That is why establishments put spices and juices on their cuts, to hide the cheaper cut of meats and the flavor.

It is again, simple. Set smoker to smoke, monitor internal temp of meat (140-145), pull when hit that temp, give it a very quick sear, rotating 90 degrees once, and then flipping. Probably no more than 30 to 60 seconds per side.

Frozen is a little different, but I would let thaw before hand. Season with salt and pepper and put in refrigerator for hour or two.
 

captgadget

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I haven't tried to do burgers on mine yet. Burgers IMO need to have a sear on them. I ended up ordering a Grill Grate for burgers & steaks. Should be here by Friday. Looking forward to having a ribeye done correctly on the Traeger.

I'm sure like anything else, it's all about trial & error. Gut instinct...
I like my Grill Grate so I hope you do as well.
 

Slimpicker

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I took the Aluminum Grills from a "down draft" stove top when I remodeled a kitchen... They work pretty good as a grill grate substitue
 
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Smokinbro

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I mix A-1, eggs, garlic salt and oregano in my burgers and haven't had a problem. Do you have a drip tray installed? It almost sounds like you don't and they disperse the direct heat from the pot.
Yes, drip tray is installed with the liner and heat shield is above the fire pot. It's a head scratcher for sure. I was monitoring the temp with the probe and never got above 135 degrees.
 

mullhaupt

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Maybe try this, I smoke at 165 for 30 minutes turn up to 350 for 10 more minutes then flip for 10 minutes flip for 5 minutes then flip add cheese 5 more minutes every one loves it
 

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I have done burgers and they turned out okay. Agree that fast and furious is best for burgers. I never put anything other than salt and Pepper (in generous amounts at the last minute on the burger right before I cook it - nothing in the meat patty. My next test is gonna be a smoked batch of burgers at 165 super smoke - for 30 minutes / then rest them while I take the Traeger to 450 with a cast iron pan on grates for the sear to bring to temp. I am not a med rare dude on burgers ... I can go med well and enjoy
 
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caddz

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adding salt to the interior of the patty will totally destroy your burger's texture.... it will be like a store bought frozen patty IMHO
 

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