Let’s be honest: There is nothing exciting about a turkey burger. The fitness craze invaded the burger world, and it wasn’t long before ground turkey was being substituted for everything.
While turkey can be a lower-calorie, lesser fat option to use instead of ground beef, veal or pork, turkey often lacks the unique flavors of red meats. And if a turkey burger is over-cooked, you’re left with a dry, tasteless patty of gray, unattractive meat.
But I still believe in the health value of using lean meat like turkey for a burger, especially for pregnant women and their families. So, I have two tricks to making sensational turkey burgers for this special recipe.
Start with a Brine
Turkey craves flavors but needs some help before hand to allow it to absorb as much flavor from the seasonings as possible. A simple brine helps bring about more moisture and flavor into the meat. The brine helps the meat stay moist and breaks down any tough muscle fibers that would make the turkey burger patty dry, dense, or chewy.
Note: This brine can be used on any cut of chicken or turkey and I use it regularly before I cook any kind of poultry.
Have fun with seasoning!
The seasonings in this burger are a wonderful combination of flavors that taste delicious but are subtle enough to not overpower the meal (or cause heartburn or belching later!). Feel free to add your own combinations of seasonings or experiment with the amounts to create different flavor profiles.
With the combination of brining and seasonings, you have the best turkey burger…ever! This burger pairs well with multiple condiments or side dishes, including green salads, simple pasta salads, roasted vegetables or fruits. Try it as a main meal, or a simple lunch. Eat it alone or pair it with a multigrain roll, pita bread, or freshly made croutons. The possibilities are endless!
The Best Turkey Burger
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ cup water
- 1-pound ground turkey
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Vegetable spray
- Optional: 1 egg for binding
- To brine: Place the turkey in a bowl. Sprinkle with baking soda. Pour water over turkey, mix lightly to coat. Do not submerge the meat in water–the water and baking soda mixture will just coat the meat. Cover lightly with plastic wrap or foil. Set aside for 30 minutes-1 hour.
- After the turkey has brined, drain any excess water and transfer turkey to a large bowl.
- Add all remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine. To avoid a dense burger, do not squeeze the mix tightly while combining and avoid over-mixing. An additional egg (if using) may be needed to keep the mix combined.
- Split the mix into 4 equal portions. Pat each portion into a burger patty. Place patties in the refrigerator to set, 30-45 minutes.
- Preheat the grill, skillet, or grill pan over medium-high heat. Spray with vegetable spray.
- Cook each patty 4-6 minutes per side until no longer pink or the temperature reads 160 degrees.
- Assemble on a toasted multigrain roll or over tossed green salad. Suggested toppings: pesto (see my recipe for Perfect Pesto!), diced tomatoes, fresh guacamole, cheese (Monterey Jack, Fontina, or white cheddar), ketchup, Greek yogurt, hummus, or lettuce (Bibb, Romaine, or a mesclun mix).
Featured photo by Victoria Shes