With burger season upon us, everyone from the NY Times to your neighbor Toby is giving out advice on how to make the perfect burger: grind the meat yourself, add lots of salt, don’t squish your patty into the grill, squish your patty into the grill. But over time (and without Toby’s help) I’ve figured out some very easy ways to create the most delicious burger possible. Tips that doesn’t require a manual or a grinder. In this case, I am focusing on turkey burgers because they are arguably a healthier alternative to beef and can be just as delicious (with the exception of a beef burger from In and Out which no turkey burger can touch). So here are my five tips for a perfect turkey burger:
First: I use dark turkey meat instead of white. You can do a combination of the two, if you’d like, but I use all dark meat and it makes a big difference with giving more flavor and moistness to a burger that could end up on the dry side when it’s just white meat.
Second: I add a combination of ricotta cheese and Greek yogurt to the mixture. If I have 1lb of meat then I mix together about 1/4 cup of ricotta (you can use whole milk or part skim) and 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt (I use 2%) and add it to the meat, gently combining.
Third: I add a good dash of worcestershire sauce. This is not a radical addition, but I know a lot of people don’t think of using it and it gives turkey meat especially an added boost of flavor.
Fourth: To make the patties (usually hockey puck size) I mold the meat into a ball and insert a small sqaure of cheddar cheese, rather than putting the cheese on top of the patty while it cooks. This keeps my griddle clean and it’s just a nice surprise when you take that first bite (I give credit for this tip to my relatives in the Twin Cities, because they are the ones who introduced me to the famed local burger the Juicy Lucy, which contain a molten core of cheese).
Fifth: Once I have my patties gently formed I place them on a baking tray lined with wax or parchment paper and chill them for a bit before cooling so they firm up and are less likely to crumble on the griddle.
And last bonus tip: any of the regular condiments will do, but I like to also make a sauce to put on top that is a version of Russian dressing that I learned from a deli in my old hometown: mayonnaise, pickle relish, sweet chile sauce, salt and pepper. The measurements are basically to taste.
Add lettuce, tomato, avocado (if the kiddies like) and I promise you’ll have a perfect turkey burger.