The sautéed onions and garlic in this easy turkey burger recipe are the secret to keeping them moist and juicy. Grill them up when you want a lighter, healthier burger option.
I love our house. And we love to entertain. And in the beginning, that included Fourth of July fireworks viewing from the roof. From the deck on our roof we could see the biggest fireworks display in the city. My husband Brian and I would rise with the sun and begin our prep, then all of our friends would arrive late in the afternoon and we commenced grilling. Most of the time, we kept the meats simple, the sides interesting, the desserts traditional. These turkey burgers were always on the menu.
But I once spent all day making homemade barbecue sauce from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living. Although I think everyone was having too much fun to “appreciate” it. (Oh, they thought it tasted fine, I just didn’t get the “you made that from scratch?!” reaction that I felt was completely warranted after spending a whole day making it.) There was the time Brian made Carolina pulled pork, and that year Greg even brought over a fryer and we made hush puppies. (?)
Everyone was welcome – parents, girlfriends, boyfriends, kids and neighbors – and sometimes the temperature was even pleasant enough that we could stand to be outside without drowning in pools of our own sweat. So we hosted and we toasted and we got the whole kit and caboodle up onto the roof deck to watch our patriotic dreams paint the sky.
But now, ten years on, the trees across the street have grown too tall for us to see the fireworks display. And we discovered that the developer who rehabbed our house never should have put decks on the roof. It can’t support the weight and we have the leaks to prove it. Whoops.
So this year, we are traveling on the Fourth instead of hosting a party. It’s time to discover new traditions. But for those of you who enjoyed my turkey burgers over the years, here’s a bit of nostalgia for you.
Happy Birthday America. Enjoy.
Firecracker Turkey Burgers
makes 6-8 servings
1 1/2 to 2 pounds of ground turkey
1 small onion
4-6 cloves garlic (according to your taste)
pinch or two of crushed red pepper (again, depending on your spicy tolerance)
cracked black pepper
Since turkey burgers have so little fat, I like to add moisture and flavor with onion and spices. Form them in just about the shape you would like in the end, they will not shrink very much. If you make the turkey burgers too large, they will have to cook too long and may dry out. Keep burgers about 3-4 inches in diameter and about 3/4 of an inch thick. (This way, you might even have room for two!)
Finely chop onion and garlic – if onion pieces are too large, they may still have a ‘raw’ taste in the burger after it’s cooked
Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil to lightly coat pan.
Add onions and garlic, a pinch or two of kosher salt, a few turns of cracked black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and translucent, about 3-4 minutes – do not brown!
Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
Add onion and garlic mixture to ground turkey, carefully folding in, do not overwork the meat.
Form into patties, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
(note: I like to season the onion and garlic mixture, but only season the meat right before cooking, not prior to making patties. I think this gives them a brighter flavor.)
Place turkey burger patties on the grill over medium heat and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side.
Serve with your favorite burger toppings.
- 1 1/2 to 2 lbs ground turkey
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 4-6 cloves garlic finely chopped, add amount according to your taste
- pinch crushed red pepper
- kosher salt to taste
- cracked black pepper to taste
- olive oil
- Finely chop onion and garlic.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, drizzle with olive oil to lightly coat pan.
- Once oil is hot, add onions and garlic, a pinch or two of kosher salt, a few turns of cracked black pepper and a pinch of crushed red pepper.
- Sweat onions and garlic until aromatic and translucent, about 3-4 minutes - do not brown! Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- Add onion and garlic mixture to ground turkey, carefully folding in, do not overwork the meat. Form into patties, brush with olive oil, season with salt and pepper.
- Place turkey burger patties on the grill over medium heat and cook for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Serve with your favorite burger toppings.