A turkey burger is a curious beast. On the one side- yay, healthier than beef! But also… now I feel compelled to top it with all kinds of less-healthy fixin’s? Three steps forward, two steps back. I’m okay with that.
Turkey burgers can be sort of a hard sell for me. I always think they’re going to be great- I love poultry- but cooked up into a patty… turkey burgers often dry out and underwhelm in comparison to their beefy cousin the (curiously named) hamburger. Deeply “meh.”
Salmon burgers? Love ’em. Different beast entirely. Veggie burgers? Same thing. Maybe it’s that ground turkey and ground beef are similar enough so, cooked up, they can’t help but be compared to each other. A turkey patty is the plain sister standing next to the classic beauty (a term, it should be noted, I generally hate and not just because I am, myself, the Plain Sister. Damn you, Megan, and your stunning good looks!)
Ah yes, but here’s the rub: that plain sister is actually stunning in her own right if you take the time to look. Get to know her. What makes her shine? Maybe it’s less obvious, but she’s pretty darn wonderful, too.
Smokiness. Smokiness from the grill… from a drop or two of liquid mesquite… from delicious melted cheese… from a saucy chipotle pepper. She smoulders, this burger. Never overly smoked, just the right amount.
Adding fat to this burger helps. Yes, we must cook our poultry all the way through, but we can retain juiciness by adding a little fat: cheese. Oats help, too. The oats in this burger don’t only act as a binding agent, they also help retain moisture. As the meat cooks, the oats hold on to moisture in a way the lean meat doesn’t on its own. Problem solved.
In testing this recipe, I originally added the barbecue sauce into the turkey patty mixture, but the flavour was lost and the patties fell apart. Drizzle it on top after the fact, it’s more flavourful and your patties will brave the barbecue in one piece.
Top it all off with an onion ring because- hey, we might as well. Fresh onion rings, crispy on the outside, add texture and a punch of flavour. All of a sudden this burger is looking very, very good…
I often talk about ‘gilding the lily’ and beauty in simplicity. This is not the time for that. Stack it high!
I used pretzel buns for this recipe since I am a nut and decided I wanted to spend a hot summer’s day in the kitchen, but don’t feel like you have to, any bun will work. If you doooo feel like making your own buns, I used the same recipe from my German Smokies in Fresh Pretzel Buns post, but rolled the dough into rounds instead of tubes (and added sesame seeds for fun).
Finally, if you feel like really going for the gold and making everything from scratch, we’ve got you covered. Homemade barbecue sauces are surprisingly easy and delicious. We love these two:
|Smoky BBQ Turkey Burgers with Chipotle Mayo|| |
- 1.5 kg ground turkey
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ tsp liquid smoke
- ¼ cup Applewood smoked cheddar, grated
- Salt and pepper
- Chipotle Mayo:
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobo, coarsely chopped
- ⅔ cup mayonnaise
- Onion rings:
- 2 large sweet onions, cut into rings ~1/2 inch wide
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ~3/4 cup lager beer
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- ⅔ tsp kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 4 hamburger buns**
- Sliced Applewood smoked cheddar
- Your favourite barbecue sauce***
- Mix all burger patty ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Form into 4 (rather large) patties, trying not to overwork the meat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge.
- In a small mixing bowl, combine chipotle mayo ingredients. Set aside.
- Now, the onion rings (if you're making them yourself- no judgement if you buy them pre-made)... Fill a heavy Dutch oven or cast iron pot with a few inches of oil and heat on medium-high until it reaches 365° to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.
- Cut and separate the onion slices into individual rings (the centres, which don't make good rings can be saved for another purpose).
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the flour, cornstarch, salt and pepper together. Whisk in just enough beer to make a smooth paste, working the mixture as little as possible. Whisk in more beer (about ½ cup) until the batter is smooth and creamy, about the consistency of pancake batter. Using tongs, dip an onion ring into the batter and flip to coat completely, shaking excess batter back into the bowl. Drop the ring into the oil and repeat, working in batches so as not to crowd the pot. (Allow the oil to come back up to temperature before continuing with another batch.)
- Fry until golden, flipping occasionally, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the rings using tong, and transfer to the prepared sheet pan to drain. Season with additional salt.
- Fry burgers in a pan or cook on a barbecue until the meat is fully cooked through. In the final minute of cooking, place slices of smoked cheddar overtop and cover to melt.
- Spread a layer of chipotle mayo on each of the buns. Top with a burger and a glug of barbecue sauce and top with a couple onion rings. Serve immediately.
** I made fresh pretzel buns because I'm a nut. That recipe can be found here: http://bit.ly/1EHuecq
*** Oh yeah, more notes! Use a glug of whatever barbecue sauce you like. If you don't have any in the cupboard never fear- making your own is a snap!
Recipe here: http://bit.ly/1kXX6sg
and here: http://bit.ly/1EdtXCO