Sunday, July 15, 2012

Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers

I haven't posted in a month. I've been meaning to, I've been kind of disenchanted with the whole food blogging thing lately. Not really sure why, but I just haven't been able to dig up the motivation to write about my recent dishes. I have not had a lot of feedback about my blog from the vast reaches of the internet either, so I guess I'm feeling discouraged.

Nontheless, I am pressing forward. I'm trying to remind myself of the purpose of even starting Butter Than Toast. I don't keep up this blog for popularity- while it would be wonderful and it's natural to want to be liked, I need to remember it's still just a few months old, and I don't do any advertising other than Pinterest. More importantly, it's to practice my cooking skills, as well as photography. I'm not a pro at cooking by any means- I get stressed out with time management and frustrated that things didn't turn out the way I had imagined in my head, but I can whip up a pretty decent meal, in my opinion. My photography and writing need work, I think. Foodgawker crushed me this week when they rejected my first picture submission- one of my own and my last post before this- the impromptu Grown-up Macaroni and Cheese. The feeling of being rejected over something I care greatly about is something to which I am sure everyone can relate, but still, it's never fun.

What else to do but get back up on the proverbial horse, right? I had seen this recipe for turkey burgers in this month's Cook's Illustrated, and was intrigued with how hard the author worked to create the perfectly moist and tasty burger. Having never had a turkey burger myself, I thought it might be a great opportunity to try something new and continue practicing photography.

I was so excited- I even told Travis I was going to do ALL of the grilling myself this evening, something I usually reserve for him since he is much more skilled at it than myself. But in an effort to continue pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, I was determined to do it!

And I did, until I reached on top of the refrigerator for the hamburger buns leftover from our 4th of July party. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but I am sure you can imagine they had been rendered completely useless. I forget that breads go bad more quickly in the Okinawa humidity. I mean, it's only 96% humidity every. single. day! UGH. The hot dog buns had been spared, but the shaped patties were already on the grill... Luckily I've been loving these Bagel Thins lately and have been using them for everything, so they substituted nicely. Yet another lesson in the importance of mise en place.

Despite the bread setback, the burgers turned out well! Both Travis and I traditionally stick to chicken or beef, but we'll definitely be eating these again. The extra patties froze nicely, and can be tossed onto a hot grill without thawing first, which makes impromptu grilling more possible. I made just a few modifications which improved convenience and flavor in my opinion, but you can find the original recipe at the included link.

Juicy Grilled Turkey Burgers
slightly adapted from Cook's Illustrated

1.5 pounds ground turkey
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons low-sodium chicken broth
4 ounce can of white button mushrooms, drained
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Pinch baking soda
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 large hamburger buns

Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Pulse mushrooms in a food processor, about 7 pulses, until coarsely chopped. Combine gelatin and broth in a small bowl and let soften, about 5 minutes. Add the gelatin, soy sauce, baking soda and powders to the processor and pulse to combine well.

Add in about 3/4 cup of ground turkey, process for about 2 minutes until smooth, then drizzle in oil for additional 10 seconds or so. Return processor contents to mixing bowl, combine with the rest of the ground turkey and use hands to evenly combine.

Divide meat mixture into 6 balls. Flatten into 3/4 inch thick patties, about 4 inches in diameter; press shallow indentation into the center of each burger to ensure even cooking. Lay on waxed paper, firm in freezer about 20 minutes.

On a gas grill, preheat for 15 minutes, then leave primary burner on high and turn off the rest. Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush both sides of patties with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place burgers over hot part of the grill and cook until burgers are well browned on both sides and register an internal temperature of 160°. This should take about 5-7 minutes per side. Transfer burgers to a plate and rest for 5 minutes. While burgers rest, toast buns over hot side of the grill. Transfer burgers to buns, add desired toppings and serve.


  1. Don't be discouraged! It will take a while to get a "following" but definitely keep at it. Your pictures are absolutely amazing and your food all looks delicious! Have you shared your blog on facebook with your friends and family? I also joined Tasty Kitchen and that helped me get more people to check out my blog.

  2. Thanks Ashley! It's nice to hear from a fellow blogger a reminder that things take time. I've been meaning to join Tasty Kitchen, that needs to move up on the priority list :) I'd like to pick your brain about the blogging world sometime soon. Tea and cookies with Hazel Mae?? :)

  3. Keep on bloggin' ;) Great recipe! Cheers!


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