I merely suggested to my brother that we do some turkey burgers in addition to the beef burgers he was planning to grill for our family lunch.
Judging by the horrified look on his face, you would have thought I asked him to put mayonnaise instead of cream in his coffee. Despite what he thinks, ground turkey is not artificial.
He really had nothing to worry about. I jazz up turkey burgers with enough goodies that make them no less unhealthy than an all-beef patty.
Part of my arsenal is ground turkey made from white and dark meat that has more fat than the skinless breast ground turkey. Why? Fat = flavor.
No matter what I throw into the mix, turkey burgers are not going to taste like beef burgers. Because, um, they’re NOT beef burgers – they’re turkey burgers.
I happen to love the taste of turkey, so to me, turkey burgers – if juicy and moist – are fantastic. I think that’s where the T-burgers have gotten a bad rap. If you don’t treat the turkey burger with TLC, the result is a dry, tasteless hunk of protein.
One last thing: if you’re switching to turkey burgers for health reasons, do not follow this recipe. On the other hand, if you are looking for an alternative to beef burgers, then this recipe is for you.
Jalapeno Cheddar Turkey Burgers with Guacamole
Makes 4 burgers
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey meat (not lean)
2/3 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 jalapeno, finely chopped (remove seeds for less heat)
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Guacamole (recipe here)
1. Heat the grill to medium high (375-400°F).
2. Mix all the ingredients together until the jalapeno and cheddar are well distributed throughout the meat. Divide the mixture into four equal portions, about 7 ounces each. Form into patties about 1/2 to 3/4 inch thick. (The patties will be very soft, and a little hard to handle.)
3. Oil the grill with vegetable oil. Place the patties on grill and close the lid. Cook until grill marks are very visible and the edges begin to dry, about 6 minutes. Loosen the burgers with a wide spatula and flip and turn the heat to medium. Cook until just done (see note below), about 6 to 8 more minutes. Remove from grill and rest for 5 minutes before serving.
4. Spread guacamole on bun, and garnish with any other accouterments you like. We added green leaf lettuce, ripe tomatoes and grilled onions, and served the burger on a wheat bun.)
(NOTE: The USDA states turkey should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F for food safety. I’m not one to argue – in public – with the feds. Food poisoning is no laughing matter, so it is wise to err on the more done than less done side.)