Growing up I was a huge burger fan. Didn’t matter where I got my burger, as long as I got my fix. Burgers were like pizza, really, in that a good burger is “great”, and a bad burger and “still pretty good.” Sure, some were better than others, but as a kid, the one thing I shied away from was a turkey burger. At the time, I felt turkey just couldn’t satisfy that ultimate crave that a beef burger can quash.
Older and wiser, I must admit that I was wrong. As I aged and began to seek out healthier food alternatives, turkey appeared everywhere I looked. Turkey is lower in fat and calories than beef, so from a health perspective, it is the more intelligent choice. But what about taste? After years of choosing turkey over beef, I’ve found a number of ways to bring the flavor back to the burger when working with turkey.
Still, I’m the first to admit that one can’t simply step from Camp Beef into Camp Turkey and instantly expect the same Satisfaction Quotient. Satisfaction Quotient, you say? Yes, for a burger to truly satisfy, it must follow this quotient:
Flavor + Moisture + Crave Kill = Satisfaction.
Flavor is obvious. Beef tastes so good! There is nothing like red meat. Period. What about moisture? Beef burgers are juicy with all that delicious fat, which also heavily influences flavor, but that fat is also what isn’t super good for you if you indulge too much. Finally, Crave Kill. When you’re dying for a burger and you finally get one, are you happy with that burger? Did it stop the overpowering crave to chow? Or did it leave you feeling sad and wistful? A typical turkey burger won’t Kill the Crave the way a beef burger can.
After years of opting for turkey burgers at home, I’ve found many ways to up the Satisfaction Quotient at mealtime when choosing turkey. I’ve addresses all three factors – Flavor, Dryness and Crave Kill, at least for me and those who have indulged. Some quick secrets that work for me.
Flavor: You can obviously spice up your beef with seasonings and more, but beef has such a distinctive flavor on its own that you often don’t need to do much, and when you do add seasonings, they wind up competing with the beef rather than enhancing it. Turkey is superior in this way in that is more of a blank canvas. Turkey does not have power flavor, and highlights your chosen seasonings and flavors. One of my favorite additions to a turkey burger is roasted chili pepper. When you roast your chili peppers and add them to the meat mixture, the flavors stand out far stronger than with ground beef. Try Cajun seasonings as well and compare a homemade Cajun Turkey Burger to a Cajun Beef Burger. The Cajun flavors stand out stronger with the turkey.
Dryness: I have two options for you – Stuffing or Ricotta. A simple way to add moisture to your burger is to include a small amount of ricotta cheese into the mix. The cheese doesn’t affect the flavors of your added seasonings, but keeps the end result very moist. Alternatively, try various cream cheese mixtures as fillings for your turkey burgers. Take a bit and you’ll not only enjoy a creamy burst, but a flavor burst as well.
Crave Kill: The combinations of flavor additions will help for sure, but it’s the fat content that truly kills that crave we often seek. It is simple to add a bit of fat to your turkey burgers without breaking your scale. A single slice of bacon could make a huge different, either as a topping or in combination with the turkey meat. Try adding just a bit of beef to your turkey mixture, or go heavier on the cream cheese. Just be sure to measure out the amount of fat and fat calories if you are trying to avoid overindulgence in that area.
We have a number of turkey burger recipes online to help kick start your turkey burger meals. Before long, you’ll be craving turkey over beef just as I do. You’ll notice the obvious chili pepper focus. I’ve said it a million times – chili peppers make EVERYTHING better. Turkey included.
Turkey Burger Recipes
- Chipotle Turkey Burgers
- Habanero Turkey Burgers
- Italian Stuffed Turkey Burgers
- Stuffed Buffalo Turkey Burgers
- Summertime Anaheim Burgers
- Turkey Burgers Stuffed with Cream Cheese and Chocolate Habaneros
Enjoy! If you enjoy these recipes, we hope you’ll enjoy some of our cookbooks as well. Check them out: Chili Pepper Madness Cookbooks