Serious Eats: Recipes

Asian Turkey Burger with Sriracha Mayo: A Turkey Burger That Doesn't Suck

You may remember when The Burger Lab attempted, skeptically, to create a turkey burger that didn't suck last year. And there was success! (Thanks to the wonders of umami.) This week, our Grilling man Josh Bousel also tried his hand at an un-sucky turkey burger... —The Mgmt.

[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

20100506-asian-turkey-burger-small.jpgTurkey burgers, why?

That's the question I always ask myself when someone rolls up to a cookout with a whole mess of them. All too often turkey burgers end up being dry, tasteless patties that pale in comparison to their beef counterpart. So if you're an all-purpose meat eater, why bother?

While pondering the question further, I came to a clear and concise answer that got my mind whirling with the excitement of possibilities—they're a blank slate just waiting to take on any flavor.

Turkey itself is somewhat tasteless, so it takes on flavors introduced to it quite well, like when flavor brining a Thanksgiving bird. Solving the taste portion in this recipe by adding a slew of Asian ingredients in with the meat, there was still the pesky dryness—a result of using a lean meat containing less than 20% fat.

A good solution would be to grind your own turkey thighs, possibly with the skins still on, to get the fat content to around the 20% mark that keeps the meat moist while cooking. However, on the day I went shopping, no thighs were available, but a 85% lean ground turkey was, so I went with that, adding some breadcrumbs to help retain moisture from the added liquids and act as a binder.

All mixed together into what felt like one giant meatball, I formed patties, grilled them until cooked through, then placed them on a bun with some Bibb lettuce, tomato, and Sriracha mayo. The whole thing was like taking a journey deep into flavor country. Everything mixed with the burgers was coming through, and they remained incredibly juicy. In the end, it changed my question from "Why turkey burger?" to "What burger's next!"

Asian Turkey Burgers

About the author: Joshua Bousel blogs about grilling on his blog, The Meatwave, and appears weekly here on Serious Eats.

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