Monday, August 12, 2013

Coffee Chipotle Crusted Turkey Burger


That's how I feel turkey burgers have become. Now, don't get me wrong, they have potential. A majority of patties that you get served in a restaurant, or order because you want a lower fat option for your meal however, have lost all hope. In my opinion, processed veggie burgers have more outright flavor. Which, for me to say that...  is a cry for help.

What do we do though? This is still a viable option for tasty foodstuffs. When done right, ground turkey really can be a good option for lightening things up a bit. So, we go to the promised land of flavor; the pantry, to create this: Chipotle and Coffee Turkey Burger. I have seen the delicious light.

 The 5 elements of a naked burger. Cheese wasn't invited. 

Here, we pull out the big guns of
taste. Bold. Strong. In yo' face. All the things that ground beef has, but ground turkey is just too much of a wimp to bring on its own. That's why the we raid the pantry, to give the turkey some back up. It's like ground turkey is the girl in the movie that needs her glasses taken off, and hair let down to show how she really could be the prom queen, or whatever. Let's let this ground turkey's hair down.

Coffee; it's not just for breakfast, lunch, and Starbucks. It can be an intense blast of flavor for your savory enjoyment. It brings an edge to white meats that don't quite have their own game. Then, we bring in some chipotle. It's smoke, heat, and rich flavor rolled into one ingredient. Throw in some bacon, beer, and more spices to the party, and we are talking business.

Burger Meat
4 strips thick cut bacon; raw, minced as fine as humanly possible
1/2 sweet onion diced
1 T. & 2 t. tomato paste
1/2 c. pilsner beer
2 lbs. ground turkey (7% fat 93% lean)
1 egg yolk
2 T. cornmeal
2 T. kosher salt
1/2 c. chopped fresh cilantro
2 t. cumin
2 t. smoked paprika
2 t. ground black pepper
1 T. Mexican oregano
Spice Rub:
4 T. cornmeal
3 T. dark roast ground coffee
1 T. and 1 t. ground chipotle powder
1 T. smoked paprika
2 t. cumin
1 T. kosher salt
pan spray


  1. In a small saute pan, start to cook your bacon on medium heat, taking care to break it up as it cooks, separating the pieces. Cook until brown and crispy. Don't eat, unless you feel like cooking more bacon. 
  2. Take the bacon out, leaving the fat, and start sauteing the onions, sweating them until they are translucent, and starting to caramelize. Remove from fat, and add to bacon. Drain most of the fat from the pan.
  3. While the onions are cooking, mix all of the spices thoroughly with the ground turkey, except the spice rub ingredients. If your onions still aren't done, mix your spice rub ingredients together as well. 
  4. Now, in this next tricky step, we are making a pincage with the tomato paste. Put the paste in the pan with the remaining fat coating the bottom. Turn the heat up on the pan to medium-high, and start to brown the tomato paste. Spread it around the pan, making dark spots, and then continually scrape them using a flat edged wooden spoon or a spatula. 
  5. Once the paste starts to get dark, deglaze with about 1/4 of the beer. Get all the dark tomato paste mixed with the bulk, and repeat the process until the beer is gone. Kill the flame. 
  6. Mix the bacon, onions, and tomato paste into your burger meat thoroughly. Now, take a very small amount (less than 1 T. of meat mixture) and test the seasoning level. Don't forget to sprinkle a bit of the spice rub on the outside of your mini-patty. Cook it in a pan on medium heat, until fully cooked, and taste. 
  7. Adjust the seasoning in the mix if you desire. If not, start making patties baby. I like bigger burgers, so I measured out 5 oz patties, close to 1/3 lb. If you want smaller patties, like 4 oz. or quarter pounders, you can do that too. 5 oz will get you about 8 patties, 4 oz will be more like 10. 
  8. Dip your hands in some cold water before making the patties, they will be easier to manage. Roll each one and pat flat. Coat each side in your spice rub, making sure the patty is all covered. These burgers could be grill material if you had a grill with narrow grates. If not, I recommend a griddle, or cast iron pan. 
  9. Heat your pan/grill to almost smoking on medium-high heat. Spray with pan coating, and start to sear your burgers. Heat a toaster oven, or regular oven to about 300 degrees. With these burgers, you don't want any pink in the middle, for reals. 
  10. Once the burgers start to darken on one side, flip and sear the other side, while turning the heat down to medium. Slowly darken the other side, and transfer to a oven safe baking sheet. Cook until the internal temperature registers at a nice and safe 170 degrees F.
Get your favorite bun, some heirloom tomatoes, baby arugula, and maybe some of this Guajillo pepper aioli, and have at it. We add fat back to the turkey with the bacon and egg yolk, giving it moisture. We add mouth-feel by adding in the cornmeal, and that deep, dark beefy flavor with the coffee and caramelized tomato paste.
Assembled, and ready for tasty, tasty action. On yo' tastebuds. 

This turkey burger on the outside resembles a beefy all-American burger. And the flavor is just phenomenal, complex, and delicious. Don't pass up on this one, we just un-lamed the turkey burger.