Savory Free-Range Turkey Meatloaf Burgers

Ready for a tasty Spring weekend meal?  This could add some thrill to your grill!  (Or some lovin’ to your oven!)  Witness: Savory Free-Range Turkey Meatloaf Burgers!

Serve it UP, people!

Serve it UP, people!

Oh yeeaaaah, so you think you know how to make a burger, huh?  Well think again, my friends.  Here is a burger that is healthier, better to the environment and nicer to animals, (I mean, if we’re going to eat turkeys, might as well eat HAPPY TURKEYS, right?  At least, they were happy before we slaughtered them…)  And hey – this burger is way YUMMIER than regular burgers!!  Get ready for the free-range turkey meatloaf burger.  CAN I GET A “UNGH”?!!  (Or would that be “an” UNGH?)

Serves: 2

Big knife
Measuring spoons
Measuring cup
Small plate
Small mixing bowl
Medium frying pan
Spatula/kitchen tongs
Broiler pan & tin foil
Basting brush (fancy) 0r paper towel (less fancy)

1/2 lb free-range ground turkey
2 slices of a large yellow onion, chopped (think of a regular burger with one hunkin’ slice of onion on top, so this is for two burgers)
1 tsp dried thyme
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp tomato paste
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 egg
Extra virgin olive oil
Ketchup or A1 sauce

Okay, so this one’s a little more work than, say, adding basil and a bell pepper to your Thai leftovers, BUT it is so worth it, believe me.  And hey, we found one more way to use that tomato paste and ground turkey from the chili we made the other night, so that’s pretty great.

(As I mentioned, I really like leftovers.)

Okay, so basically, you’re getting the stuff that flavors the meat ready, then you’re adding it to the meat, then you’re off and broiling.  (Or off and grilling…)  Pretty simple.

First note: leave the turkey in the fridge until you need it.  It gets soft and slimy quickly (don’t I make it sound appetizing?) so you want to keep it together as long as possible.  Next note: tear off a piece of tin foil and line the bottom of the broiler pan.  This just helps clean-up later.

Then, turn a burner on your stove top to medium-low and pour a couple circles of olive oil into the frying pan, letting it heat for 30 seconds.  Add the chopped onions, a pinch of salt, a pinch of pepper, and the tsp of thyme.  Stir it all around for about 6 minutes, until the onions are soft and clear, but not brown.  Add the Tbsp Worcestershire sauce and tsp tomato paste and mix it all in well, then turn off the heat and transfer the mixture to the small plate to let it cool.

Meanwhile, stir-up the egg in the mixing bowl with your fork and add the 1/4 cup bread crumbs, mixing them together.  Add the onion mixture and the ground turkey, (yes, you can take it out of the fridge now), and fold it all together with your hands.  YOUR HANDS WILL BE TOTALLY GOOEY AND GROSS RIGHT NOW, BUT BEAR WITH ME.  As I said, the turkey always gets gooey.  Like, I-can’t-believe-this-will-ever-solidify-into-something-resembling-a-burger gooey.  This is also why we’re about to put it back into the fridge again!  BUT FIRST, scoop half the mixture out and form a burger with your disgusting slimy hands.  Do the same with the rest of the mixture and then put the two “burger forms” on the plate and return them to the fridge while you…


…heat the oven to 425º.  Once the oven is heated, grease the top “grill” of the broiler pan with olive oil, using your fancy basting brush or just a bunched-up paper towel, and place the burgers on top.

Now, my latest experience with these burgers had me doing 8 minutes on the first side, 6 on the second (since it’s partly cooked already), then 4 on the first again, then I flipped it one more time, smeared ketchup on the top of one and A1 on the top of the other, (up to you), and cooked them another 2 minutes.  So that’s what I’m going to suggest for you, but REALLY what I suggest, is that you keep an eye on your own burgers and if you think they’re done sooner, or need more broil time, use your discretion!  And I’ve never made these on a real grill outdoors, since we live in a tiny Hollywood studio apartment, sniff sniff, woe-is-me, so if you DO make them on your fancy grill in your fancy backyard, I can’t really tell you the cook time.  Again, use your own judgement, trust your punky chef instincts!  (And ok, cut into them with a knife if you’re still not sure.)  They should be a little blackened, a little crumbly, but also slightly glistening in that glorious way that, like the giant mushroom to Alice down in Wonderland, undeniably says EAT ME.  And then, with your spatula, you scoop or scrape, or just lift the burgers off the broiler, SERVE and ENJOY!

Yumminess of the A1 variety...

Yumminess of the A1 variety...

This may seem obvious, but turkey is not beef.  Just because you like your hamburgers rare, DOES NOT mean you can have your turkey burgers rare.  This is POULTRY, people.  So it will be grey inside, all being well.  But the onion/spice/tomato/Worcestershire mixture will keep it moist and really flavorful, so be not afraid of the grey!

Also, the hardest part of this whole recipe is cleaning the broiler afterwards – I wish I had a good answer for this.  One answer is to double the recipe, so at least you get more bang – ahem – more burgers for your buck.  Then it doesn’t feel quite so bad when you’re scraping the broiler tray with steel wool afterwards.  Another way to combat the crud is to place a sheet of tin foil on TOP of the broiler tray, but then you have to cut “slices” into it, along the grooves of the tray, so the juices can run out while the burgers are cooking.  This is time-consuming and also awkward, as the tin foil will still slide around so the slices you cut won’t necessarily match-up with the slits on the tray itself.  Lastly, you can probably just spray the whole thing with PAM, or some other non-stick cooking spray, before you start and be free of the crud issue entirely, but I’ve never used that stuff.  Call it paranoia, disinterest, or just stupidity, but something about PAM just screams “toxic” to me.  Much the way margarine screams “toxic” to me.  (This from the woman who cleans her toaster oven with Windex… I guess we all have our “things.”)

Anyway, these free-range turkey meatloaf burgers are so great, you won’t really mind the cleaning, I swear.  Plus, that could be all you have left to clean at the end, because while the burgers are broiling, you can be cleaning the bowl, plate, knife, frying pan, measuring spoons and cup you just used.  SO EFFICIENT, aren’t we?  I LOVE it!

And you can make a whole MEAL out of this recipe, as we did, with some grilled asparagus topped with melted shaved Parmesan, and some Cabernet-infused baked BRUSSELS SPROUTS!  Oh yes, I DID just say that.  I am a recent convert to the world of brussels sprouts, and the world is GOOD, people.  But stay tuned for those side dishes in the next couple of posts, and for now, SAVOR THE BURGER YUMMIES!  UNGH!

The whole nine yards.  That was a good night.

The whole nine yards. That was a good night.

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