It's a Keeper: Southwest Turkey Burgers

I wish I could say the picture at left was fuzzy because I was being artsy, but that would be a lie. Actually, the picture at left is what happens when I decide to take a picture after having a beer while cooking AND a beer while eating. At least I remembered to take a picture! Yesterday we had a barbecue to celebrate Northern California's jump from Winter to Summer (without stopping at Spring). We invited some good friends over, fired up the barbecue and had a great afternoon.

The fuzzy picture is of the main course: Southwest Turkey Burgers. Seriously, these are the best turkey burgers ever, (although, Rachael's Turkey Burgers with Guac are outstanding too). These burgers are amazingly full of flavor. I served them with a fruit salad and one of my favorite Bobby Flay salads: Avocado Salad with Tomatoes, Lime, and Toasted Cumin Vinaigrette. Here is the recipe for the burgers, with my comments in brackets:

8 slices turkey bacon or turkey bacon with black pepper or applewood smoked bacon
1 1/3 pounds ground turkey breast, the average weight of 1 package [I used free range turkey breast for the first time and could not tell the difference.]
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large shallot or 1/4 red onion, finely chopped [I went for the shallot - less food in ziploc bags (the other 3/4 of the onion), the better]
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, optional – parsley may be substituted
1/2 small bell pepper, green, red or yellow, seeded and finely chopped [Take the time to really chop it into small pieces so that it is easier to incorporate into the burgers].
1 serrano or jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons, 2/3 palm full, ground cumin
1 to 2 teaspoons cayenne hot sauce, several drops (recommended: Tabasco)
2 teaspoons grill seasoning blend (recommended: Montreal Steak Seasoning by McCormick)
Vegetable oil or olive oil, for drizzling
1/2 pound deli sliced pepper jack cheese [1/2 pound was way too much if you only want one slice on each.]
4 crusty kaiser rolls, split [I used yummy whole wheat rolls.]
1 cup sweet red pepper relish, found on condiment aisle – pepper jelly may be substituted [No sweet pepper relish in my store, so I used hot pepper relish. It turned out to be pretty mild.]
Red leaf lettuce [I forgot to add the lettuce, but I don't think it made a difference.

Chop your garlic and veggies.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat until crisp. Wipe excess grease from pan and return skillet to heat. [I cooked the bacon in a skillet and cooked the burgers on the grill outside (okay, well, my husband cooked them on the grill outside.]

While bacon cooks, combine turkey meat, garlic, shallot or onion, thyme, cilantro or parsley, bell pepper, serrano or jalapeno pepper, cumin, hot pepper sauce, grill seasoning or salt and pepper. Divide mixture into 4 equal mounds then form meat into patties. Drizzle patties with vegetable oil to coat. Cook in skillet over medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes on each side. Place sliced cheese over the patties in the last 2 minutes of cooking, use 1 or 2 slices for each patty, as you like.

Pile cooked cheeseburgers into buns. Spread sweet relish or jelly on bun tops and set red leaf lettuce into place, using the relish or jelly as glue. Top cheeseburgers with 2 slices of cooked, crisp bacon or turkey bacon and lettuce. Then serve with tortilla chips, tossed salad and/or spicy o-nuts [these looked too high maintenance for me, so I stuck with the salads listed above].



  1. Instead of relish, combine equal parts Pico de Galo and Mayo and use that as a sauce and the burger would be perfect. Nice recipe though.

  2. No way, Anony! I hate hate hate hate hate mayo and I love that relish!

  3. Hey, I also LOVE this recipe. I just made it (for the 3rd time), but I used a regular white onion because I didn't have shallots or red onions, and for the relish I used BBQ on the top part of the roll and a touch of mayo on the bottom and it turned out great. The mayo really wasn't necessary, but the barbecue was a nice touch. It really is an excellent burger :-)


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