Ground turkey is bland and dry. It needs help to become a succulent burger, which is why turkey burgers always have a lot more ingredients in them than burgers made from beef or pork. The secret to this one is apple butter, which gives the turkey a darker color and adds spices that make the meat taste richer. The burgers are also stuffed with sautéed pear, which releases moisture into the burgers as they cook.
Prep: 10 minutes
Grill: About 18 minutes
(8 minutes for stuffing ingredients, 10 minutes for burgers).
Gas: Direct heat, medium-high (425° to 450°F)
Clean, oiled grate
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch charcoal bed (about 3 dozen coals)
Clean, oiled grate on lowest setting
Direct heat, light ash
12-by-12-inch bed, 3 to 4 inches deep
Clean, oiled grate set 2 inches above the fire.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– Clean grill screen
– Long-handled spatula.
– Because these burgers have a slightly sweet flavor, it is best to keep your garnishes savory: sautéed onions and mushrooms, a leaf of romaine lettuce, some baby spinach, or a few slices of sweet pickle.
– If you want to add cheese, make it something that goes with fruit; an imported Swiss, some crumbled blue, or a sharp Cheddar work well.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
Four ½-inch-thick slices onion
1 Bartlett pear, peeled cored, and cut into 8 wedges
1 tablespoon canola oil
6 fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1½ pounds ground turkey
2 tablespoons apple butter
½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Oil for coating grill grate
4 hamburger buns, split.
1. Heat the grill as directed.
2. Put the grill screen on the grill to get hot. Coat the onion slices and pear wedges with the 1 tablespoon oil and put them on the grill screen. Grill until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side for the onion and 3 minutes per side for the pear.
3. Chop the grilled onion and pear into small pieces and mix with the sage and a pinch each of the salt and pepper in a small bowl; let cool.
4. Using your hands, mix the turkey, apple butter, poultry seasoning, parsley, and remaining salt and pepper in a separate bowl until well blended; do not overmix. Using a light touch, form into 8 patties no more than ½ inch thick.
5. Put a portion of the pear-sage mixture in the center of each of 4 patties; top with the remaining patties and press together, taking care to seal the edges well. Refrigerate the burgers until the grill is ready.
6. Brush the grill grate and coat it with oil. Put the burgers on the grill, cover, and cook for 9 minutes, flipping after about 5 minutes, for medium-done (150°F, slightly pink). Add a minute per side for well-done (160°F).
7. To toast the buns, put them cut-sides down directly over the fire for the last minute of cooking.
8. If serving the burgers directly from the grill, serve them on the buns. If the burgers will sit, even for a few minutes, keep the buns and burgers separate until just before eating.