Grilled Turkey Burgers

July 3, 2012

I consider very few of Chris Kimball’s recipes complete failures, but this recipe is an utter waste of time. It’s not that the burgers taste bad, rather it’s like eating nothing. The only real flavor came from the sauce (which was good). It was like eating a blank canvas, seasoned with a little soy sauce and malt vinegar. While ground turkey may be a healthier alternative to ground beef, I’d suggest fasting for the day over wasting your time and money in making these burgers. I can give it just 1-star, on the strength of the burger sauce.

It looks good, but has very little flavor. Trust my words more than my photo..


  1. 2-1/2 pounds of turkey thighs yielded 1-1/2 pounds of ground turkey. Each patty weight about 1/4-lb.
  2. The best part of these burgers was the Malt Vinegar-Molasses Burger Sauce. I cut the sauce recipe in half and still had leftover sauce.

Rating: 1-stars.
Cost: $8.50.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium/High.
Start time 4:15 PM. Finish time 6:00 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original recipe is here. The original sauce recipe is here. The descriptions of how I prepared the recipe today are given below:

1 (2-pound) bone-in turkey thigh
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
3 tablespoons chicken broth
6 ounces white mushrooms
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch baking soda
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Kosher salt and pepper
6 large hamburger buns

  1. Remove the skin, de-bone the turkey and trim away any excess fat. Cut turkey into 1/2″ pieces, and place in a single layer. Put in freezer for 45 minutes.
  2. Pour broth into a small bowl and sprinkle unflavored gelatin. Allow it to soften for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Quarter mushrooms and add to bowl of a food processor. Pulse 7 times until coarsely chopped. Set mushrooms aside. There is no need to wash food processor.
  4. When turkey is ready, put one-third of turkey about 20 times; the turkey should be chopped into 1/8″ pieces. Empty into a large bowl, then continue grinding process in two more batches.
  5. Take 1/2-cup of the ground turkey and put it back into the food processor. Add softened gelatin, soy sauce and baking soda. Process for 2 minutes; scrape the sides of the food processor as necessary.  Then drizzle oil into the food processor as it is running. Continue processing for 10 seconds.
  6. Add mushrooms back to food processor and pulse 4 times to distribute. Empty mixture back into large bowl with the rest of the ground turkey and mix with your hands until it is uniformly mixed.
  7. Spread some vegetable oil on your hands. Divide into 6 evenly sized balls. Use your hands to pat them into 3/4″ patties, and then press a shallow indentation in the center of each patty, which will prevent the center from becoming too thick during cooking. Season with salt and pepper
  8. Ignite a chimney start filled with about 6 quarts of charcoal. When coals are ready after about 20 minutes, pour them out over half the grill. Open bottom and top vents completely. Because the burgers are so lean, it is critical that you clean the cooking grate, and also that you season the grate with vegetable oil.
  9. Use a pastry brush to cover one side of the patties with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the grill (with the oiled side down) directly over the coals. Brush the second side of the burgers with oil.
  10. Cook for 6 or 7 minutes per side until they are well browned. If the internal temperature has not reached 160-degrees, move them to the cool side of the grill until they reach the appropriate temperature.
  11. Allow the burgers to rest for 5 minutes while you toast the buns briefly over the hot-side of the grill.

Malt Vinegar-Molasses Burger Sauce Recipe:

1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons malt vinegar
1/4 teaspoon molasses
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

  1. Whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until combine.

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