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Spicy Grilled Turkey Burger with Coleslaw

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Recently my father announced he had a cunning plan . He found a grilled turkey burger recipe that he wanted to try, but rather than just use any old ground turkey, he would make half the burgers with ground dark meat (his favorite) and half the burgers with ground white meat and see if he preferred one over the other. I complicated the test further by suggesting that we use regular Tabasco sauce with the white meat turkey burgers and chipotle Tabasco sauce with the dark meat burgers, thinking that the stronger flavor of dark meat would hold up well to the chipotle. Dad took the test a step further and decided that we would have half as much chili sauce in the white meat burgers. Clearly we weren't aiming for a perfect scientific study.

The good news is that both sets of burgers turned out great. With the white meat turkey burgers, since we had less chili sauce, the turkey flavor was more pronounced. With the dark meat burgers, the chipotle sauce added a lot of kick to the meat. Both burgers were flavorful, filling, and paired very well with the spicy coleslaw, sweet pickles, and tomatoes. 3 thumbs up on this one.

INGREDIENTS

Turkey burgers:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (white meat, dark meat, or a mixture)
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 to 3 teaspoons of hot chile sauce such as Tabasco sauce (amount depends on how spicy you like your foods), or Tabasco Chipotle sauce
  • 2 green onions, minced, white and green parts
  • 4 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or more to taste
  • 4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted
  • Sweet pickle slices
  • 1 tomato, cored and sliced

Coleslaw

  • 2 cups shredded cabbage
  • 1 cup loosely packed arugula, watercress, or just another cup of shredded cabbage
  • 10 basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

METHOD

1 Prepare your grill (either charcoal or gas) for direct high heat. Or right before cooking, heat a griddle or large cast iron frying pan on the stovetop.

2 Combine the turkey, bread crumbs, mayonnaise, chives, green onions, Worcestershire sauce, chili sauce, basil, salt and pepper in a large bowl and work the mixture with your hands to just mix. Do not over mix or the burgers will be tough. Form the mixture into 4 1-inch thick patties.

3 Season both sides of the patties with salt and pepper. Grill them for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the internal temperature of the patties reach 170°F on a meat thermometer. Turkey burgers should be cooked through, not rare. Toward the end of the cooking, put the buns on the grill to toast for about a minute. Remove the burgers from the grill to a platter, cover and let rest for 5 minutes.

4 Assemble the coleslaw. Whisk the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, sugar, red pepper flakes together in a small bowl. Add to the cabbage, arugula, and basil in a larger bowl right before serving.

5 Assemble the burgers by placing each burger on a bottom bun, and stacking a tomato slice, some pickles, and a bit of coleslaw on top, and then topping with the top bun.

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