When you’re searching for and trying out new grilling recipes during the summer, most of the time it’s about finding an idea and tweaking it until you’re satisfied. Admittedly, Chels is better at sticking to recipes than I am, but that could be because she handles most of the baking (such an exact science!), while I handle most of the grilling (anything but exact!). However, when Chels came across this recipe at Tracy’s Culinary Adventures back in January, it looked amazing just the way Tracy had made it! Now that we’ve made it a couple of times (once in the winter with a grill pan and once in the summer on the actual grill), we have made one or two changes to keep things interesting. I would recommend making this recipe mulitple times in both ways – keep things in the Asian vein by following Tracy’s recipe word-for-word, and then add a little Mexican fusion by trying our twist!
No matter how you make it, the star in this recipe is the spicy lime mayo. We’ve subbed out the sirracha sauce for pureed chipotle peppers (this is easy to do, but I’ll be posting a quick tutorial later on for those of you that haven’t tried it before) to add our southwestern flair, and I have to say, the result is pretty tasty. It’s simple, too! Put a quarter cup of mayonaisse in a small bowl, cut a lime in half, zest half the lime into the bowl, juice the same half in, and whisk in a teaspoon of the pureed chipotle peppers, and you’re in business! Go ahead and throw the mayo in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
Now, while the sauce/mayo may be the star of the show, the burgers are also something special. Due to their preparation, they stay very moist and have a wonderful flavorfulness to them that can be tough to coax out of turkey (which has a tendency to dry out and become a bit flavorless when grilled). Since we went with chipotle peppers in the mayo, we had to tone down the “Asianess” of the burger patty prep just a little bit to avoid conflicting flavor profiles. Also, I use a a little over a pound (about 20 ounces) of ground turkey for this recipe, for two reasons – Foster Farms sells ground turkey in 1.25 lb packages, and the burgers cook down significantly as the moisture evaporates. Now, grab a couple of cloves of garlic and your favorite mincing knife, and we’ll get started.
You’ll want to start by throwing the minced garlic in a decent-sized bowl – you’re going to need to manhandle all that ground turkey in there, and you don’t want to run out of room. Add a half tablespoon each of soy sauce and rice wine vinegar to the garlic, followed by a half teaspoon of ground ginger and a full tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Stir the mixture once or twice with a spoon to mix the ginger in, and then add the turkey. Using your hands, knead and mix the ingredients completely into the turkey, so that the whole mixture is deeply moist and the garlic is present evenly throughout the meat.
Now, if you’ve read many of my previous burger posts, you know that I love my burger press. I use it everytime I make burgers, and it works just as well with turkey as it does with the beef it was designed for! In this case, your patties are going to come in right around 5-ish ounces apiece, but again, they will cook out a decent amount of that moisture and shrink up a bit, especially if you’re planning to cook them on an outdoor grill.
As I mentioned earlier, you can grill these outdoors or indoors on a grill pan – they are a great way to warm up the winter months! Regardless, you’re going to have about 8-10 minutes in total grilling time. Like chicken, turkey is very important to cook thoroughly, and it’s usually pretty easy to tell when these guys are ready to be served. However, if you’re not quite positive, use a grilling thermometer, and get the inside of the patties to the USDA’s minimum recommendation of 165 degrees. At this point, it couldn’t be simpler!
Toast your choice of buns very lightly, and slice a tomato relatively thickly (it’s your only other ingredient!). The tomato is moist, the mayo is moist, and the burgers are moist, so you don’t need any other condiments. Tracy pours the mayo over the patty and then puts the tomato on top. I actually prefer to put the tomato on top of the burger, and then pour the mayo over the whole thing, but to each his (or her) own! Put the top on, and you’re in business. Enjoy!