Confession: I don't really like hamburgers.
I mean, I wouldn't kick them out of bed, or anything, but one of the side effects of my 10+ years as a vegetarian is that I'm still not wild about beef, even after several years as an omnivore.
Except for the beef part, though, I like everything about hamburgers. I like the buns. I like the condiments and toppings. I like grilling. I like french fries as a side dish.
In an effort to enjoy these better parts of burgerdom, I have eaten a lot of turkey burgers. Many turkey burgers, unfortunately, are gross. A bad turkey burger is a terrible, terrible thing. Gray and rubbery, bland and sad, a bad turkey burger can ruin a meal.
In my many experiments, I have discovered a few keys to creating perfect turkey burgers:
Add ins: Turkey burgers benefit tremendously from mixing some things in with the meat to add flavor. I use dijon mustard, Worcestershire, and cheese. Ariel posted another great recipe last week with some different mix-ins, including liquid smoke.
Cooking technique: Because turkey burgers have to be cooked all the way through (no "medium rare" with poultry, my friends,) they can't be cooked with the same "sear over high heat and leave the middle pink" approach that works so well with beef. A medium-low fire for a longer time works wonders. I recommend a medium low fire for 8-9 minutes per side if you're grilling. (See below for indoor directions)
Meat quality: I cannot emphasize this enough; it makes a huge difference. If at all possible, go to a place that grinds its own turkey. It makes a huge difference. I use ground turkey breast (instead of thigh) from Whole Foods.
So if you've got turkey burgers on your Memorial Day BBQ menu- try these tips with your turkey burgers. I promise you won't be disappointed.
(Another) turkey burger recipe:
- 1 1/4 lb ground turkey breast
- 2 tsp dijon mustard
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta, goat, or ricotta cheese
- 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper (optional)
Mix ingredients together; form into 4 patties. Grill 8-9 minutes per side over a medium low fire. To cook indoors, preheat a dry frying pan for 4-5 minutes over medium heat. Swirl with oil. Cook patties without moving for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook 3-4 minutes more. Turn heat to low, partially cover the pan, and cook 8 minutes more. Serve.