Turkey burgers can be bland and dry, but they don’t have to be.
“These are good,” a dinner guest told me last Saturday, halfway through his turkey burger. The compliment was high praise, particularly because the guest is a very picky eater.
Turkey burgers do require a bit more finesse than do beef burgers, but the result can be delicious. I’ll be making them Labor Day weekend.
A No-Carb Binder
I don’t make turkey burgers with breadcrumbs or eggs; when I add those ingredients, I feel like I’m making turkey meatloaf patties. Also, breadcrumbs add carbs to the burger; I definitely want to save carbs for a bun.
Instead, I add 1/4 cup of grated cheese to each pound of lean ground turkey. Adding such a small quantity of cheese (reduced fat is OK) doesn’t add substantial calories or saturated fat, but it does add a subtle flavor and works as a carb-free binder.
Grated Onion is Better than Chopped
I add finely grated onion to ground turkey burgers, rather than chopped onion.
This works for two reasons: Those who don’t like chunks of onion in their food can still enjoy the flavor. (People who think they hate onion also enjoy the flavor.😉) Also, finely grating the onion releases a lot of onion “water” that I add to the burger, which increases moisture.
Other Add Ins
Dijon mustard, a bit of Worcestershire, fresh ground pepper and finely chopped fresh parsley are great add ins. The parsley adds a surprising amount of flavor and freshens up the appearance of the burger.
Burger Thickness Matters
If a turkey burger is too thick, the outside will get dry and brown long before the center of the burger is done, resulting in an unappetizing, rocklike burger. Instead, I make larger, flatter patties so that the inside will cook quickly.
After forming the burgers, I place on a parchment-paper lined plate, loosely cover and put the plate in the fridge for a few hours. The long chill time firms up the burgers.
When ready to grill, mist the burgers on both sides with olive oil cooking spray, then gently slide burgers onto the grill. The burgers cook quickly and are done when an instant read thermometer reaches 165 F. Beware of overcooking turkey burgers!
Moist Burgers With Turkey Breast
Ground turkey breast is pricey, but can make a surprisingly good burger that has zero saturated fat. Use ground turkey breast and substitute a tablespoon of olive oil for the cheese.
Enjoy a turkey burger!