Summer time is my favorite season for eating. I love that smell of meat and vegetables sizzling on the grill. Growing up, it was made very clear that the grill belonged to the men of my family. It was an art and a club. My husband was welcomed into the boys club the first time he came over to my parents’ house. I, however, remained dumb in the area of mastering the grill. Fast forward to last year when I realized that if we wanted to have that delicious charred taste and eat at 5pm, Mamma was going to have to learn a thing or two. Truth be told, I burn everything, but between my husband and Food Network, I hope to be competent by the time I’m 40 (that’s 12 years).
One of the items on our go-to list is a full-flavored turkey burger. Technically it can be made inside on the stove but, my favorite way is on the grill. I know what you are thinking, your husband will choke down a turkey burger? Guys, it’s better than that, he asks for it! I first found it in an issue of Real Simple. I’m pretty sure I still have it somewhere around here. I put my own spin on it here and there to make it work for my family.
First thing is to gather up your ingredients. You’ll need some ground turkey. Let’s stop right here for a second. Ingredient numero uno, allows you to give yourself a pat on the back. By substituting turkey for beef, your burger is healthier. You will be adding swiss cheese to said burger, but you are still ahead of the game for the
mouth-watering typical cheddar, bacon, beef burger. The rest of the flavor comes from the garlic, salt, pepper, paprika and liquid smoke.
I like to measure everything out so that the risk of cross contamination is limited. So take your swiss cheese and chop it into tiny little pieces until you reach 3/4 cup. This is best to do when it is cold and with a sharp knife. I think ground turkey tastes really blah, that is why you absolutely must add your spices.
Now it is time to get your hands messy. Dump all of the ingredients, except the liquid smoke, into a bowl. But I almost forgot the garlic! I learned a very helpful trick from Rachel Ray four years ago. How do I know it was four years ago, you ask, because I only had one child who was a baby and I would watch the Today Show every morning and Rachel Ray came on after that. Anyway, I was watching her make some dish that had garlic in it and she grated it instead of chopping. This revolutionized my use of garlic. So mix all of those ingredients together until they are well combined.
When everything is incorporated, form your hamburger patties and make a well in the middle. My father-in-law shares my love for liquid smoke. He is the one who inspired this little twist. He added it to our burgers and it was amazing! I started adding it to these turkey burgers because, like I said earlier, I think the flavor of turkey on its own isn’t so impressive. And to be honest, I don’t really like any meat to taste like meat. So sprinkle the liquid smoke into the wells on top of the patties.
Now take the burgers out to the grill and fire it up! This will cook very quickly, and with the cheese added to the meat, will get a little smokey. I like to heat the grill and then reduce it to medium high. The beautiful music of the grill will start to play as soon as you put the burgers on the hot grate: sizzle sizzle sizzle. Cook on each side for a few minutes, be sure to check them to make sure they aren’t burning. If you are checking with a thermometer, the internal cooking temperature of ground turkey is 165 degrees. It is very easy to over cook these and they will become tough. So don’t abandon your post at the grill, just hang out with your dinner creation until it is ready.
I like to put that beautiful turkey burger on a whole wheat bun. You can add whatever toppings you like, but I recommend stone-ground mustard, avocado and grilled onion. We also usually pair these with sweet potato fries or tots. So as you start to plan out your week, try adding this simple, healthy-ish meal to your schedule. And I cannot speak for all men and children, but I can tell you, my man and children eat this and like it. Happy Grilling!
1 1/4 lbs Ground Turkey
3/4 c. swiss Cheese, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp paprika
Liquid smoke to taste
Combine all ingredients, except for liquid smoke, in a bowl and mix with hands until incorporated. Pat out into patties and sprinkle with liquid smoke. While that is soaking in, heat up the grill.
Grill on medium high for about five or six minutes on each side or until internal cooking temperature reaches 165 degrees. Serve and enjoy!