Memorial Day Recipe: Turkey Burgers

May 27, 2011

Turkey-burger-1 
When I think of my dad’s cooking, there are certain signature dishes that always will come to mind. Cedar plank salmon, homemade red sauce and stuffed artichokes are among them, but the number one dish that reminds me of my dad is his turkey burger.

You can pretty much find a turkey burger on most restaurant menus these days, but I have to say that my dad’s is really the best I’ve had. After lots of trial and error, and “doctoring up” the recipe, he has come up with technique that impresses anyone who tastes this burger. In fact, this recipe is so good that he converted himself from a pretty serious beef burger person to a strictly turkey burger person. With Memorial Day coming up, I thought this was a perfect recipe to share so you can still get your grill on but not compromise health for flavor. 

As we know, turkey is a healthy alternative to ground beef or pork because it has less fat — but in order to reap those benefits you have to be a smart shopper. When you are buying ground turkey, make sure you are choosing a package that says lean ground turkey breast; otherwise you might be buying turkey that includes dark meat and skin, both of which add fat.

Because ground turkey has less fat than ground beef or pork, it has a tendency to easily dry out and lose flavor when it’s cooked. However, my dad's recipe has a secret ingredient that keeps the moistness of the burger without any added fat.
 
To make this burger you will need one package of lean ground turkey breast, some grill seasonings (we use Grill Mates Montreal Steak seasoning), Worcestershire sauce, a fermented liquid of your choice (beer, wine or balsamic vinegar) and the secret ingredient, oatmeal.This recipe only has a few ingredients!

Once you've assembled your ingredients, preheat your grill to high heat. In a large mixing bowl, combine turkey, 1-2 tablespoons of seasoning, a couple splashes of your liquid and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. Then add about ¼ cup of oatmeal. We use Quaker Oats Old Fashioned oatmeal. The reason for adding oatmeal is that it will absorb the natural juices from the recipe that otherwise would get lost during grilling. This allows for a turkey burger that is still juicy and not dried out at all. Putting oatmeal in this recipe will also add dietary fiber and whole grains to your burger. You shouldn’t be using so much oatmeal that you can taste it in your burger, but just enough to do the job of catching juices that would otherwise escape.

Once you have mixed all the ingredients together, you can form individual patties. This recipe can make about 5 good-sized burgers or 6 smaller burgers. Before you put the burgers on the grill, use your thumb to make a slight indentation in the middle of your burgers. This will help the patty cook evenly.

Put your burgers on the grill and lower the heat to medium. This will let the oatmeal absorb the liquid without cooking the burger too fast. Grill for about 25 minutes, or until cooked through, and flip the patties at the halfway mark.

Serve your burgers on a whole grain bun or bread, with plenty of fresh toppings like avocado, lettuce, tomato and onions.

Enjoy and Happy Memorial Day!