As part of our Memorial Day weekend grill-fest, we decided to cook up a mess of hamburgers on Saturday. But instead of the more traditional beef burgers, I decided to give turkey burgers a go.
I’ve only ever made turkey sliders before, not hamburgers, so I was a bit nervous. Hubby had never eaten a turkey burger before (well, except for when I made the turkey sliders), but he was game to give it a go.
The nutrition labels on lean (at least 93/7) ground beef and lean (93/7) ground turkey are quite similar. Four ounces of lean ground beef is 170 calories and has 8 grams of fat (3 of them saturated fat). Four ounces of lean ground turkey is 160 calories and has 8 grams of fat (2.5 of them saturated fat).
So why use turkey instead of beef?
Primarily because lean ground turkey is more affordable than lean ground beef. Current nutritional thinking is also that eating poultry (an animal with 2 legs) is healthier than eating an animal with 4 legs (with, of course, eating a “no legged” animal — i.e., seafood, the healthiest), although I don’t know if that’s a fair and applicable comparison when using lean (93/7 or greater) ground beef.
The key to a successful turkey burger is adding in lots of finely diced/minced vegetables. In addition to adding in some extra veggie nutrition, the vegetable keeps the burger moist and also makes the texture more like that of a traditional beef burger. I use my little mini chopper to whiz up the vegetables nice and fine. You don’t really taste the vegetables, either — you have just enough in there to give moisture and texture.
I seldom have ground turkey breast because it’s so expensive (I only ever have it if I find it on sale), but you can certainly make these burgers out of ground white meat turkey, too. If making with ground white meat turkey — which is virtually fat-free — I would suggest upping the amount of veggies. I think I would also include some lean ground turkey sausage as part of the meat mixture, as well.
When you shape the patties, they will seem over-sized in comparison with beef burgers, but you have to remember that you have a lot of veggies in the mixture and so the patties will shrink more when you cook them. The patties I made looked gargantuan in their raw state, but they were the perfect size after they were cooked.
HINT #1 ABOUT (GRILLING) BURGERS: To help your burger “keep it together” on the grill, freeze the patties for an hour or few beforehand — that will greatly reduce the likelihood of your patty crumbling on the grill.
HINT #2 ABOUT (MAKING) BURGERS: Wear disposable gloves when shaping the patties. 🙂
We grilled our turkey burgers, but if you don’t have a grill or if the weather’s not conducive to grilling, that’s just fine — you can broil or bake them in the oven, cook them in a non-stick skillet, or — best of all! — grill them on your stovetop in a grill pan, if you have one. (A grill pan is an awesome pan to have in your pantry — when the weather’s too hot, too cold, or otherwise not conducive to grilling outdoors, a grill pan enables you to enjoy grilled food without having to put a toe outside your door.) Oh, and of course, if you have an electric grill — such as a George Foreman grill — you can cook them that way, too! 🙂
Hubby said he thought these were the best burgers he’s had in a long while. 🙂
“I Can’t Believe They’re Turkey Burgers!” Patties (Makes 9 patties)
- 3 pounds lean (93/7) ground turkey (or use 2 1/2 pounds ground turkey for 8 burgers)
- Seasonings to taste: garlic powder, coarse ground black pepper, Worcestershire sauce, and some steak sauce (while I’m usually an A-1 kinda gal, with turkey, I usually lean more towards Heinz 57-style steak sauce)
- Finely diced/chopped trio of vegetables: 1 carrot, 1/2 onion (I used red onion, but yellow or white will work, also), and about 4 to 6 ounces mushrooms (or 1/2 a bell pepper or a stalk or two of celery)
- Empty meat into a medium to large-sized bowl.
- Season to taste with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, coarse ground black pepper, and a couple of healthy shots of steak sauce. (I usually put one pound of meat in the bowl at a time and sprinkle seasonings on each pound of meat as I go.)
- Add in finely diced/chopped trio of vegetables.
- Lightly mix meat together to distribute seasonings.
- Divide mixture into 9 equal portions. (I use a food scale, but I’m a bit anal retentive and compulsive with such things. 😉 )
- Shape into patties. Depress the center of each patty a bit; this will help promote even cooking.
- IF GRILLING, place on waxed-paper lined cookie sheet or platter and place in freezer to freeze for a bit before grilling. Two (or more) layers of patties, separated by waxed paper, is just fine.
- Grill (or broil or bake or skillet/griddle fry) to desired doneness. (Given that turkey is poultry, you’ll want to make sure they are cooked through.)
- If desired, grill the buns, as well: spread the “sandwich side” (the “inside”) of each bun with a bit of light margarine — I like to use calcium-enriched Shedd Spread — and grill or toast.
- Dress as desired and enjoy! Store leftovers in the ‘fridge.
These are so yummy, you’ll find yourself humming “Turkey in the Straw” and dancing a little jig! 😉