BBQ Burgers Fit For A Kaiser (Roll)

BBQ Burgers Fit For A Kaiser (Roll)

Unless you grind your own meat, medium-rare burgers are nearly a thing of the past given the proliferation of food-borne illnesses like E. coli. The challenge now is to cook a burger to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F without drying it out. I use two techniques: The first is to cook the burger using indirect heat, a forte of Traeger pellet grills; the second is to make a slight depression in the top of the patty which accumulates the meat’s juices like a small pond.

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  • 2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20 or 85/15 (lean to fat ratio)
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (see note)
  • 2 teaspoons Traeger Beef Rub, or substitute your favorite barbecue rub
  • 1 cup mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann’s)
  • 1/4 cup Traeger Barbecue Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 kaiser rolls, split
  • Lettuce leaves
  • Sweet onion slices
  • Tomato slices
  • Dill pickle chips


Make sure the meat is well-chilled before handling. Combine the ground beef, cheese, and beef rub in a medium bowl. Wet your hands with cold water, and mix gently. Divide the meat into four equal portions. Rewet your hands with cold water, and form each portion into a patty about 4 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick. (Try not to overwork the meat.) Using your thumbs, make a shallow wide depression on the top of each burger.

Combine the mayonnaise and the barbecue sauce in a shallow bowl and refrigerate until serving time.

Brush the cut sides of the kaiser rolls with the melted butter.

When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 425 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.

Arrange the burgers directly on the grill grate, depression-side down. Cook for 8 minutes, then flip. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes more, or until an instant-read meat thermometer (put the probe through the side of the burger) registers 160 degrees F.

Meanwhile, lightly toast the buns, cut sides down. Watch carefully as buttered bread can easily burn.

Spread the cut sides of the buns with the mayonnaise sauce. Put a burger on each bun bottom, and top with lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickle. Finish with the top of the bun. Serve immediately.

Note: Feel free to substitute another good melting cheese for the Parmigiano-Reggiano such as gouda, Monterey jack, pepper jack, Cheddar, Romano, asiago, etc.