Like most people, Liz and I are always interested in healthy alternatives when cooking or grilling. Ground turkey meat has become a ground beef substitute in many recipes such as tacos, chili and yes, grilled burgers. Not all the time mind you, but some of the time.
The challenge when grilling turkey is the consistency and texture of the meat. If you make patties and place them directly on the grill grates, there is a good chance the meat will fall through the grates, which isn't cool. An alternative is to use a cast-iron skillet, which is an excellent alternative, but sometimes you want your burger to get kissed and slightly charred by the charcoal or gas flame, and if that's the case I've come up with the solution. In terms of seasoning, I treat turkey burgers the same way as I treat a ground beef burger. This recipe will result in three nice-sized burgers.
GRILLED TURKEY BURGER
1 pound ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Coarsely ground black pepper
Combine the meat, the egg and the oil in a bowl. Get in there with your hands and really mix it thoroughly. Kind of gross, but someone has to do it. Might as well be you. Cut three pieces of wax paper that are large enough to hold a flattened patty. Pull 1/3 of the meat and create a patty on the first piece of wax paper. Season the top of the patty with salt, pepper and garlic. Pull the second 1/3 of the meat and create a patty on the second piece of wax paper and season the top.
Then, do the same thing with the third patty. Here's the secret. Stack the patties one on top of the other with the wax paper between each patty and place on a plate. Now, place them in the freezer for 20 minutes or so. This will stiffen up the patties perfectly. Oh, and don't forgot to frequently wash your hands when handling raw turkey.
Remove the patties from the freezer and place your hand under the wax paper of each patty and flop directly on the grill over the flame. Pull the wax paper off of the patty. See? The patties are firm enough to not leak through the grate! Now, season that side of the patty (remember we only seasoned the top of each patty) with salt, pepper and granulated garlic.
Allow to cook for five to six minutes and then flip. Cook for another three to four minutes. Pull the patties to the side of the grill and add your favorite slice of cheese. Close the lid and let the cheese melt. We serve the burger on a thin whole wheat "sandwich slim" as well as a sliced tomato, pickles and lettuce. Give these burgers a try!
Dave Lobeck is a financial advisor by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and grilling questions at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.