Monday, May 30, 2011

Turkey Burgers (That actually taste good)

I'm a huge fan of burgers, but I haven't eaten beef or pork for about 8 years now. Of all the foods I've given up, a good juicy hamburger might be the one I miss the most. Baby back ribs are right at the top, too. I haven't found any sort of substitute for ribs. If any of my readers know of one, please let me know. 

There are some decent burger substitutes out there; boca burgers are pretty tasty, healthy and convenient, but they really don't measure up to a real hamburger. After some searching, I found an amazing recipe for flavorful, juicy turkey burgers at offthebroiler.wordpress.com. The author of the recipe does a great job explaining the keys to a good turkey burger. One is to make sure that you use 93% percent fat free ground rather than the 99% fat free ground turkey. With the 99% fat free there is just too little moisture to have a really good burger. 

Another key is make sure that your burger is very well-seasoned. Ground beef has a lot more flavor on its own than ground turkey and doesn't need to be dressed up as much. Additionally, ground turkey needs to be cooked longer than ground beef to ensure that it's safe. Offthebroiler's recipe has a great blend of seasonings for the burger which really kick it up a notch: diced onions, minced garlic, fresh lemon zest, French mustard, parsley, salt and hot sauce. On previous occasions I'd skipped the fresh lemon zest. I added it this time, and it added even more flavor to an already great burger. I added a few new seasonings of my own: crushed red pepper flakes, basil and ground pepper.

Now, obviously the best turkey burger is the Ron Swanson burger, as described on the amazing NBC show Parks and Recreation. Ron's version is a fried turkey leg inside of a five pound grilled hamburger. I can't decide whether this is the best or worst idea for a food product I've ever heard. It sounds like it might kill me, but it might be totally worth it. After it was described on the show a few weeks ago people actually started posting complete recipes for this monstrosity of a meal. You can check on of them out at this link: http://eater.com/archives/2011/04/25/the-ron-swanson-turkey-burger.php.
(An epic burger and an epic mustache.)

And now for my burger....

Start by seasoning the ground turkey with diced red onions, minced garlic and fresh lemon zest.
Next, add Dijon mustard, a dash of hot sauce, some soy sauce, salt, pepper, basil and parsley.
Craft the meat into 5 or 6 ounce patties.
Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add some cooking spray. Add the burgers to the pan and cook about 6 minutes per side, or thoroughly cooked through.
Remove from the grill and serve on a toasted bun with you favorite fixins. I served mine with some corn on the cob and Old Bay waffle fries on the side.

The results:

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