Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers
If you are able to purchase boneless, skinless turkey thighs,
substitute 1 1/2 pounds for the bone-in thigh. To ensure the best
texture, don’t let the burgers stand for more than an hour before
cooking. Serve the burgers with Malt Vinegar–Molasses Burger Sauce
or your favorite toppings.
1(2-pound) bone-in turkey thigh, skinned, boned, trimmed, and cut
into 1/2-inch pieces
1tablespoon unflavored gelatin
3tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
6ounces white mushrooms, trimmed
1tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch baking soda
2tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
Kosher salt and pepper
6large hamburger buns (home made potato buns)
1. Place turkey pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat
until very firm and hardened around edges, 35 to 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over chicken broth in small bowl and let
sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Pulse mushrooms in food
processor until coarsely chopped, about 7 pulses, stopping and
redistributing mushrooms around bowl as needed to ensure even
grinding. Set mushrooms aside; do not wash food processor.
2. Pulse one-third of turkey in food processor until coarsely
chopped into 1/8-inch pieces, 18 to 22 pulses, stopping and
redistributing turkey around bowl as needed to ensure even grinding.
Transfer meat to large bowl and repeat two more times with remaining
3. Return 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) ground turkey to bowl of food
processor along with softened gelatin, soy sauce, and baking soda.
Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed.
With processor running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 10 seconds;
leave paste in food processor. Return mushrooms to food processor
with paste and pulse to combine, 3 to 5 pulses, stopping and
redistributing mixture as needed to ensure even mixing. Transfer
mushroom mixture to bowl with ground turkey and use hands to evenly
4. With lightly greased hands, divide meat mixture into 6 balls.
Flatten into 3/4-inch-thick patties about 4 inches in diameter;
press shallow indentation into center of each burger to ensure even
cooking. (Shaped patties can be frozen for up to 1 month. Frozen
patties can be cooked straight from freezer.)
5A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large
chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top
coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of
grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent
completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
5B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill
until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn
off other burner(s).
6. Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush 1 side of patties with oil and
season with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties, brush with
oil, and season second side. Place burgers over hot part of grill
and cook until burgers are well browned on both sides and register
160 degrees, 4 to 7 minutes per side. (If cooking frozen burgers:
After burgers are browned on both sides, transfer to cool side of
grill, cover, and continue to cook until burgers register 160
7. Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. While
burgers rest, grill buns over hot side of grill. Transfer burgers to
buns, add desired toppings, and serve.
HOW WE BUILT A BETTER BURGER
Swapping out lean, bland commercial ground turkey for freshly ground
turkey thighs (we use a food processor) was only our first step
toward a juicier, more meaty-tasting burger.
1. Grind Dark Meat: Turkey Thighs contain more fat and flavor than
lean white meat.
2. Mix in Mushrooms: They add moisture and flavor, and lighten the
texture of the meat.
3. Add Baking Soda: Just a pinch tenderizes the meat by raising its
4. Add Gelatin: Gelatin acts like a sponge, holding up to 10 times
its own weight in water.