Thursday, August 14, 2014

16 Burgers of Summer: Western Turkey Burgers

Good evening everyone! Summer is winding down and so is our 16 burgers of summer series. Tonight marks the 11th entry to the summer long series that has featured a myriad of ways to cook up everyone’s favorite “on the grill” classic. Tonight, we dip into a territory that some people simply detest (honestly, I’m a bit surprised it took us this long to get here) the dreaded TURKEY BURGER!

Bum bum baaaaa

Why is the turkey burger so detested? I have a theory that involves the frozen variant found in many grocery store meat sections. Somewhere along the line, nearly everyone has tried one of these pre formed patties and nearly everyone has had the same experience.


That’s because the common prepackaged turkey burger is just that. Straight up plain ‘ol turkey. Turkey isn’t quite like chicken; it doesn’t carry the day on its own natural flavor. Turkey is, in fact, bland. That’s why you slow roast it on Thanksgiving and serve it alongside gravy and other veggies. It’s why sliced deli turkey is frequently accompanied by cheese, mustard or mayo. Yet, when folks take plain old ground turkey and turn it into a plain burger, they’re ‘disgusted’ with how bland it is.

You’ve got to help it along a bit to get the true potential of turkey to show itself. Tonight’s recipe will do just that. Inspired by a Bobbly Flay recipe, tonight’s dish will truly change the way America sees turkey burgers!

Or, it won’t. But you’ll have a tasty dish to try either way.

The Recipe: Western Turkey Burgers
Recipe Inspired by: Bobby Flay’s Cheyenne Burger

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 4)
1 Pound Ground Turkey (90%-92% lean)
8 Slices Hickory Smoked Bacon
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Ancho Chile Powder (Pinch)
French Fried Onions
Sharp Cheddar Cheese

A brief note before we begin. This marks the third time a Bobby Flay recipe has been adapted for our burger series and this is the third time that I’ve entirely discarded his recipe in order to make my own. While I enjoy his concepts, his execution is overly cumbersome and needless complex for my liking. This is coming from the guy who likes to make everything from scratch if possible – so when a recipe has too much for ME, you know it’s gone a bit “off the rails”.  (Tonight’s recipe, for instance, has you making up your own fried onions along with the BBQ sauce – the sauce I can support – as we make our own too – but deep frying the onions? No thanks. Sure, frying your own onions would be a bit healthier, but we’re not using the fried onions as breakfast cereal – a small handful will do you no harm. He also didn’t season the turkey…which is sort of odd).

To begin, add the ground turkey into a large bowl along with the cayenne and ancho powder. Mix well, until the seasoning is evenly combined into the meat. Then, break the meat into four equal sized balls and work those balls into patties.

Turkey is a bit “stickier” than standard ground beef, so we don’t actually need to add binders like we do in our standard burgers. No eggs or breadcrumbs in this dish – but that doesn’t mean we can skip the refrigerate step. Place the patties on a plate and allow them to rest in the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes. This allows the meat to tighten up and makes things much easier to grill.

Speaking of the grill, preheat it to 500 degrees, clean the grates and turn off all but one burner. Lower that burner to medium (300 degrees) and then place your burgers directly over the remaining burner. Cook for 5 minutes per side, or until the meat is cooked through. Just before removing your burgers from the grill, top them with the sharp cheddar cheese and allow the cheese to melt slightly.

While your burgers are cooking, fry up your bacon slices and set them aside.

Once the burgers are cooked through, begin assembling your burgers. Add as much BBQ sauce as you desire to the bottom of a bakery fresh bun. Next add one slice of bacon (split in half) and top with the burger. Top the burger with another slice of bacon (split in half) and finish the whole thing off with a small handful of the French fried onions. Serve and enjoy!

The Results:

Once you try this burger, you’ll never think of turkey burgers as bland again. The seasonings alone bring the turkey burger to life as the ancho and cayenne add a touch of heat and complexity to the normally neutral turkey. Bacon, sharp cheddar and BBQ sauce make ANY burger better, so it should come as no surprise that they pair very well with our seasoned turkey as well.  This burger may not change America’s mind when it comes to turkey burgers (we simply don’t have that far of reach) but it will absolutely provide you with a great weeknight meal to enjoy during these waning weeks of summer.

That’s all we have for you this evening. Stop back later this week as Maggie shares a brand new recipe that blends brilliant flavors with some veggies that are hitting their peak this time of year. Until then,


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