Also See: Turkey Burger Redux (Click)
Ah yes, the Turkey Burger. For those of us approaching our middle age, it can be a painful reminder that the “party is over”. Whether it’s watching your fats, your cholesterol, or whatever the hell your doctor says is now wrong with you, the Turkey Burger has become something akin to the meat equivalent of Methadone for aging hamburger fiends now having to moderate their intake of whatever they can’t eat anymore. And of course, most of the storebought turkey burgers out there sorely lack the flavor of their beefy counterparts, so its an insult to injury having to eat them in the first place.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Turkey Burgers CAN taste good, but we have to dispell the notion that they are taking the place of beef or should try to taste like beef burgers in the first place. No, to make a Turkey Burger taste good, it requires some outside the box thinking.
You too can make a tasty Turkey Burger. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.
First lets talk about seasoning, because God knows, ground turkey needs it bad — it has almost no flavor character whatsoever, being a very lean white meat. We also have to approach it from the perspective that turkey is poultry — it will never be red meat, it can’t ever possibly taste like red meat, and to approach it from a red meat seasoning perspective is just plain asinine and self-defeating.
What we’ve got above is some chopped red onion (shallots would work really nice too) and some gremolata, which is a finely chopped mixture of lemon zest, parsley, and garlic. Alternatively, you could take the Latino approach and make some sofrito and use that as your seasoning base too. The key here is to really, really kick up the flavor level in the meat, because it’s really going to need it. I’ve also added some fresh rosemary from our herb garden, which is another good herb for use in poultry. A little bit of herbes de provence would be nice too.
Here we’ve got two pounds of supermarket ground turkey (try to buy the not so fat-free grade, like the 7 percent fat version — if you buy the 99 percent stuff, hit it with a small dollop of bacon fat or some olive oil in order to prevent it from drying out on the grill) to which we have added our seasoning base, a nice dollop of French mustard, some Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper, a hit of Soy Sauce, and the secret ingredient…
Hot Sauce. I like Crystal, but you can use any favorite hot sauce you’ve got. Give it a few nice shakes.
Here we’ve mixed up all the meat, herbs and spices, and portioned out the burgers into 5oz-6oz portions. I’ve also set aside four more pre-formed burgers that I put in the freezer for the next time I want some turkey burgers.
I also have a couple of portobella mushroom caps which have been cleaned, and coated with olive oil and seasoned with salt. We’re going to throw these guys along with the turkey burgers on the grill.
Turkey burgers, after being grilled six minutes on each side, cooked through. Unlike beef, you need to cook poultry until its completely done, because foodborne illnesses and bacterial nasties are not your friends. This is why we have so painstakingly seasoned these burgers, because we don’t have the luxury of eating medium-rare meat and letting the natural juices really speak for themselves.
Burger assembly. Coat each side of your toasted burger bun (I’ve gotten some whole wheat buns here) with a small amount of mayonnaise. Then lay the burger, some portabella slices (to act as a contrasting meat texture and to add some juiciness) some fresh red onion slices, ripe tomato, and pickles. Enjoy.
Serve with a nice salad on the side.