Above: If you don’t wish to grill them, the burgers can be cooked in a lightly oiled skillet or under the broiler for roughly the same amount of time. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
BY KATIE WORKMAN
It really is time for all of us to get over our hesitation about turkey burgers. I get that people are nervous about turkey burgers being dry and flavorless, but that really isn’t necessary.
Avoiding a dry, tasteless turkey burger — or any type of burger, for that matter — is easy. Start by not overcooking them. Kind of obvious, but true. Get the burgers off the grill as soon as they hit 165 F. And during cooking, never press down on the patties with the spatula. That squeezes out all the delicious juices no matter what meat you are using.
With turkey burgers, it also helps to use a mix of dark and light ground turkey, which adds a bit more fat and flavor. Ground turkey labeled “93 percent lean” will have enough dark meat mixed in to keep it moist and delicious. I try to avoid 99 percent lean ground turkey, which can produce those tasteless burgers we all fear.
You also can add an ingredient or two to the meat to help keep them juicy, plus lend a boost of flavor. Play around with all kinds of ingredients, from ketchup and mayonnaise to shredded apple and sauteed onions. A touch of olive oil doesn’t hurt either, both as a juiciness enhancer and a flavor booster. In my recipe, the oil is used along with barbecue sauce and the mild heat of chipotles in adobo sauce to add both flavor and moisture.
Chipotles packed in adobo sauce usually come in small cans. I used them pureed in this recipe. Just dump the entire can in a food processor or blender, then puree until smooth. Leftovers can be frozen in small amounts (ice cube trays are handy for this) and kept on hand for future recipes.
If you don’t wish to grill them, the burgers can be cooked in a lightly oiled skillet or under the broiler for roughly the same amount of time. There is a sauce that goes along with these burgers, but you are welcome to use plain old mustard or ketchup if you prefer. I wish for world peace, and for more people to like turkey burgers. Today I’ll start with turkey burgers.
CHIPOTLE BARBECUE TURKEY BURGERS
Start to finish: 20 minutes
For the sauce:
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon pureed chipotles in adobo
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
For the burgers:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup finely chopped scallions
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons pureed chipotles in adobo
1 pound 93 percent lean ground turkey
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
4 hamburger buns
Sliced red onions
Romaine lettuce leaves
Heat the grill to medium-high.
To prepare the sauce, in a small bowl mix together the mayonnaise, chipotles and a hefty pinch each of salt and pepper. Set aside.
In a small skillet over medium, heat the olive oil. Add the scallions and saute for about 4 minutes, or until the scallions are softened. Transfer to a large bowl, then add the barbecue sauce, breadcrumbs and pureed chipotles. Stir well, then add the turkey and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Using your hands or a spoon, mix well, but try to handle the meat gently. Form the mixture into 4 patties, pressing slightly to create indentations at the center of each.
Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and have reached an internal temperature of 165 F.
Place the cooked burgers on the bottom halves of the buns, then top with the sauce and layer on onion, tomato and lettuce.
Nutrition information per serving: 440 calories; 200 calories from fat (45 percent of total calories); 22 g fat (4.5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 90 mg cholesterol; 800 mg sodium; 33 g carbohydrate; 2 g fiber; 10 g sugar; 26 g protein.