Easy Turkey Burgers


Why This Recipe Works: The average turkey burger—lean, dry, and seasoned with simple salt and pepper—is a poor stand-in for an all-beef burger. We wanted a turkey burger that grilled up juicy and full of flavor to help even the playing field. We took a close look at the ground turkey sold in supermarkets and found several kinds: ground white meat, ground dark meat, and generically labeled 93 percent lean ground turkey. We went with the 93 percent lean turkey, which our tasters liked and which is widely available. For extra richness, we added mild ricotta cheese, which kept the burgers moist without adding any off-putting flavors to the meat. We found that a little bit of Worcestershire sauce and Dijon mustard gave the burgers a pleasant tang and avoided the dreaded blandness usually associated with this healthful option. A two-level fire allowed us to sear the burgers over high heat and then cook them through at a lower, gentler temperature, for a final product that could hold its own against any all-beef burger.

Serves 4

Be sure to use ground turkey, not ground turkey breast (also labeled 99 percent fat-free). We prefer the richer flavor and softer texture of whole-milk ricotta here, but part-skim or fat-free will also work. Because these burgers are made of ground poultry, be sure to cook them through completely in step 4. If you like, toast the hamburger buns on the grill while the burgers rest.

1 1/4 pounds 93 percent lean ground turkey meat
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 hamburger buns

1. Break turkey into small pieces in bowl and add ricotta, Worcestershire, mustard, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, lightly knead mixture until thoroughly combined. Divide meat into 4 portions. Working with 1 portion at a time, lightly toss from hand to hand to form ball, then gently flatten into 1-inch-thick patty. Press center of patties down with your fingertips to create 1/4-inch-deep depression.

2A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4 1/2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour two-thirds evenly over half of grill, then pour remaining coals over other half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

2B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.

3. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place burgers on grill (on hotter side if using charcoal) and cook, without pressing on them, until well seared on both sides, 5 to 7 minutes, turning as needed.

4. Slide burgers to cooler part of grill if using charcoal, or turn all burners to medium if using gas. Cover and continue to cook until burgers register 160 degrees, 5 to 7 minutes, flipping them halfway through cooking. Transfer burgers to platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on buns.

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