I find myself wanting a burger lots of times throughout the summer. In fact, pretty much every day. Winter, summer, really no matter what season it is, very few things in this world satisfy me like a great burger.
However, I am now engaged and am in the process of losing weight to prepare for said wedding. I’m not saying that these turkey burgers are “health food” but they are definitely a bit healthier than your average beef burger. Not only that, these burgers can blow the doors off your traditional burgers, flavor-wise.
Turkey is a great substitute for beef because when it’s ground, it can yield the same results as regular beef burgers. There are a few glaring differences though, such as beef is quite a bit more flavorful than turkey. Also, the fat content of most commercially-produced ground turkey is usually skewed to the leaner side. The typical fat to lean meat in a regular beef burger is 80-20. Most commercially ground turkey that is readily available for sale is listed at 90-10. That is not nearly a high enough fat content to ensure that you get a totally flavorful burger.
Not too many places in Chicago serve turkey burgers, but the ones that do almost always do a little something special to the burger in order to make it sing a little bit more. In our case, we are going to serve our turkey burgers with one of the most flavorful salsas I have ever made: a roasted tomato salsa.
If you read my blog on Pork Chili Verde, you already know how I feel about salsas. If you didn’t, here’s the scoop: I love them! Green, red, it really doesn’t matter to me. I love them all. In this case we are making a roasted tomato salsa using the grill. I love the char that the vegetables get from being directly over the flame, they also soften a little bit, and the flame takes some of the bite out of the raw onion and jalapeño. I’m not saying that you have to have these turkey burgers with this salsa but if you do, you’ll be happy that you did.
Cheese also plays a big role in these burgers. In this case, I chose to go with pepper jack cheese. It has just a subtle kiss of heat and it melts really well.
If you wanted the same melt without the heat you could easily use a Monterey Jack or even Chihuahua cheese. Whatever cheese you choose, these burgers will be incredible regardless.
If you are interested in learning how to cook a traditional burger, be sure to catch our Beef on the Grill class on the patio at our Lincoln Square location. Among other dishes, you'll learn how to make BLT Burgers (Bacon, Arugula and Sun-Dried Tomato Aioli) with Grilled Sweet Potatoes.
Southwest Turkey Burgers
2 pounds of ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced
2 Tablespoon cilantro, rough chopped
Salt to taste
6 slices, pepper jack cheese
Thinly sliced onion
Your favorite burger buns (I used a soft brioche bun)
1. Combine ground turkey, diced onion, diced jalapeno, cilantro, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
2. Use your hands to gently combine all ingredients. Be careful not to overmix as this will lead to tough burgers. Form into 8 ounce patties.
3. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.
4. Grill the burgers until they are nicely marked on both sides and the juices run clear. You can also use an instant-read thermometer if you aren’t sure. The minimum internal temperature for ground turkey is 165.
5. Top your burgers with pepper jack cheese and close the lid until the cheese has melted, about 1-2 minutes.
6. Place shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and sliced onion on the bun. Place a turkey burger on top.
7. Top with your freshly-made roasted tomato salsa (recipe below).
Roasted Tomato Salsa
10 medium-sized tomatoes, cut in half and cores removed
1 yellow onion, cut in half and peeled
1 jalapeno, top removed, cut in half, and de-seeded (Leave the seeds in if you want some extra heat!)
Salt to taste
2 Tablespoons grapeseed oil
1. Heat your grill on high for 10 minutes.
2. Place all ingredients on a sheet pan.
3. Coat all the vegetables with the oil and season generously with salt.
4. Grill until all the veggies are charred and have softened a bit, 10-15 minutes.
5. Remove all the veggies from the grill and place back on the sheet pan.
6. Place all your grilled veggies in a food processor and puree until no chunks remain.
7. Serve on your turkey burgers and on the side with your favorite tortilla chips.