How to Make a Really Delicious Turkey Burger
I’ve often thought of turkey burgers as a relic of the 90s, a relic of an era when fat was enemy number one and Snackwells reigned (and this was the realm of artificially sweet terror). But some people just don’t like red meat, and others have medical reasons to avoid it. Some people may love the idea of a turkey burger, but they could never make a truly delicious one.
However, there are only three things you need to do to make your turkey burger tasty: you have to increase the fat (quite a bit), season it with monosodium glutamate (that extra bit of glutamate makes a huge difference), and damn it .
How much fat does a turkey burger need?
One of the biggest problems people face when consuming these burgers is that they tend to dry out during cooking. Adding wet ingredients prevents the hamburger from sticking together, which means you need to use binders (like bread crumbs and eggs) and I just don’t have time for all that.
A little fat does go a long way, however, and keeps the turkey burger from turning into a washer. The dark minced meat has enough turkey, so ask the butcher if he has it behind the counter. If not, just buy the pre-packaged ground turkey with the highest percentage of fat (usually 85/15). If all you can find is super lean, you can add some fat to yourself. A tablespoon of Schmalz, lard, or bacon fat per pound of meat will keep your burger moist and flavorful, especially if you’re using unfiltered bacon fat.
Season the turkey burger with MSG (and salt)
Monosodium glutamate is the easiest way to shape the meaty and savory umami shape and is definitely what you need for ground white meat turkey. Salt is also needed, because everyone needs salt.
You don’t need a lot of MSG – just a few shakes. Start by dividing the turkey into four-ounce balls, but don’t turn them into patties just yet. Season the outside of each of your turkey balls with three to four pinches of salt and four shakes of MSG from a MSG shaker. (Don’t have a MSG shaker? Get yourself a little panda. They’re on Amazon , but you’ll find them much cheaper in Asian grocery stores and sometimes Walmart.) Now it’s time for the awesome.
You gotta smash your turkey burgers
There is no point in making a thick turkey burger. It will take longer to cook, which will give it more time to dry, and unlike thick boo meat, you can’t even cook it to a good medium rare. (Some people argue that you shouldn’t even do this with ground beef, but others live a little more dangerous.) Anyway, I’ve always preferred thin, chopped burgers over thick steaks. The crunching creates a large surface area, which means that most of the meat is browned, and the browned turkey mince is the only turkey mince that has any flavor.
If your goal is to achieve maximum flavor with crispy, sharp edges, it is best to crush it quickly in a very hot skillet. Basically, you want it to look like this:
Heat a cast iron or stainless steel skillet over high or high heat. You don’t want your hotplates to be as hot as possible, but you want them to be nearly in place. When the pan is hot enough – use the water drop method to test – add about a teaspoon of animal fat or vegetable oil to it and wipe it off with a paper towel. Take a seasoned piece of turkey meat, place it in a skillet and smash it hard with a large spatula. Let it simmer until the edges are browned (at least two minutes), then scrape and turn over the burger and place a slice of American cheese on top. Let it simmer for a couple more minutes, then transfer directly to the bun, sprinkle with seasoning and top with the filling. You just made a turkey burger which is delicious and rare.