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Old 06-03-2017, 08:53 PM   #1
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Turkey Burger Help.

My son got a small charcoal grill for his birthday a few weeks ago. Today, he decides to invite some friends over and makes turkey burgers.

He's never grilled before. He had some frozen ground turkey he defrosted for the burgers. I believe it was 85%.

From what I heard, it was a disaster. The grill grates were spaced wide apart. 1-1/2 ". The burgers were "very" moist and fell thru the grill rack. The recipes I've seen on-line call for 93% turkey.

Any idea's what went wrong? Any idea's how to stiffen up the burgers? I know the grills not the greatest, but he's happy he got it. If he's really interested in grilling, I could get him a better grill and trade with him. I know I had a cheap grill years ago, and I got it to work for what I wanted.

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Old 06-03-2017, 10:27 PM   #2
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How did he make his burgers?
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Old 06-04-2017, 03:03 AM   #3
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So, sorry to hear this.

As Jennyema asked, how did he make the burgers ?

I believe it has something to do with the excessive moisture from the frozen turkey ground meat.

However, I could be " off base " ..

Have a lovely day.
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Old 06-04-2017, 09:30 AM   #4
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Hint: Make it out of beef.

You will need to mix something into the turkey.Bread crumbs will soak up some excess water. Blend your turkey with beef or pork will help.

Ground turkey is too soggy for a grill grate. A grill pan will work.

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Old 06-04-2017, 04:28 PM   #5
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I add 1 egg to each pound of ground turkey along with seasoned bread crumbs to make my turkey burgers. That helps to hold them together. I don't measure the crumbs because it's different each time I make them depending on the moistness of the meat. I just keep adding until I get the consistency of a beef burger. We like the flavor the seasoned bread crumbs add to the turkey without overpowering the taste. He might also try searing them in skillet first to get them set then put them on the grill.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:20 PM   #6
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How did he make his burgers?
No idea. He became a bit defensive when I asked him. He's in his first apartment since January, and he wants to do everything on his own. Only thing I found out was that he put a "pat" of garlic butter in the middle of the burger.

Jabbur.....Like your idea of searing them. Have to mention that to him.
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Old 06-04-2017, 07:48 PM   #7
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Lets see now, he became defensive about having a clear disaster after not only grilling for the first time, but loosing face in front of his friends. Sounds like a typical young man on his own for the first time to me. I have two sons of my own and I love when they ask my cooking advice, but if they didn't ask me, I wouldn't give it.
Buy him a grilling cookbook with recipes.
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Old 06-12-2017, 10:58 AM   #8
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Hint: Make it out of beef.

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Heh, heh This is what I'd do. I don't think I've ever made a turkey burger in my life, so I couldn't even start to offer advice.

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Lets see now, he became defensive about having a clear disaster after not only grilling for the first time, but loosing face in front of his friends. Sounds like a typical young man on his own for the first time to me. I have two sons of my own and I love when they ask my cooking advice, but if they didn't ask me, I wouldn't give it.
Buy him a grilling cookbook with recipes.
This ^^ A good grill guide will keep your "opinions" out of the conversation unless he asks, but might set him on the right path.
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Old 06-12-2017, 12:54 PM   #9
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.... he wants to do everything on his own. ...
If that is what he wants to do let him. Just let him know that you are there for him. Otherwise wish him luck. He will either come to you or will find place like this to look for advice.

P.S. Nothing wrong with turkey or even chicken burgers if done right.
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Old 06-12-2017, 01:07 PM   #10
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Hint: Make it out of beef.

You will need to mix something into the turkey.Bread crumbs will soak up some excess water. Blend your turkey with beef or pork will help.

Ground turkey is too soggy for a grill grate. A grill pan will work.

CD
You can make a very tasty burger by making patties with 50/50 beef (90/10) and unsmoked bulk andouille. The fat content of the andouille makes up for the lower content in the beef. These burgers are one of the reasons we hold back some bulk andouille.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:44 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by milford View Post
My son got a small charcoal grill for his birthday a few weeks ago. Today, he decides to invite some friends over and makes turkey burgers.

He's never grilled before. He had some frozen ground turkey he defrosted for the burgers. I believe it was 85%.

From what I heard, it was a disaster. The grill grates were spaced wide apart. 1-1/2 ". The burgers were "very" moist and fell thru the grill rack. The recipes I've seen on-line call for 93% turkey.

Any idea's what went wrong? Any idea's how to stiffen up the burgers? I know the grills not the greatest, but he's happy he got it. If he's really interested in grilling, I could get him a better grill and trade with him. I know I had a cheap grill years ago, and I got it to work for what I wanted.
It isn't about how he made the turkey burgers or how to make turkey burgers. There are 100 different ways. His problem was you can't realistically cook them on a new grill with 1 1/2 inch spaced grill lines, IMO. What likely happened is the low fat burgers stuck to the unseasoned grate and when he went to flip them, they refused to go on the spatula, instead pushing into a pile and then falling through the grate. Most of us have been there at one time or another. There is a learning curve to grilling.

Options: Probably a simple grill pad would work well. Non-stick, no flare ups, still lets smoke through, allows him to grill anything including vegies without losing it. Or get a grill overlay with tighter spacing. Or a new grill. Frankly, I would buy him the pad first. They are reusable, easy to clean, can be cut to any shape, and 3-5 of them might run $10. If he decides he really likes grilling, then you can move up.
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Old 06-15-2017, 09:51 AM   #12
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https://www.amazon.com/Grilling-Mat-...charcoal+grill
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Old 06-15-2017, 10:56 AM   #13
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Milford, I have two suggestion, neither of which are specific to turkey.
  1. Encourage him to persist.
  2. For the foreseeable future, secretly eat before dining at his apartment.
My hunch is, it's not so much wanting to learn on his own as not wanting to be told what to do. Between the iterweb, tv, and books by "celebrity" chefs anybody who wants to learn to cook will be able to pretty easily.
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Old 06-15-2017, 12:02 PM   #14
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I made turkey meatballs that kept their shape during oven baking. It was 4 lbs of ground turkey, 8 slices of bread processed into crumbs (2+ cups), 3 eggs, seasonings. They browned on the bottom and the top without flipping them. Once they began to cool, they were solid and easily cut in half with a knife.
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Old 06-15-2017, 01:21 PM   #15
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What gets me about that is the "safe to 500°F". I know that my grill gets hotter than that on the grate. I can run the thermometer up to 500°, and that is located in the hood. I don't want anything on my grill that I have to use that sort of caution with.
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Old 06-15-2017, 03:28 PM   #16
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What gets me about that is the "safe to 500°F". I know that my grill gets hotter than that on the grate. I can run the thermometer up to 500°, and that is located in the hood. I don't want anything on my grill that I have to use that sort of caution with.
Well then, you can certainly tell if you are going to want to cook at 500+. Few folks cook at 500+ except to sear steaks or burgers or other similar cooks. When doing that, I wouldn't use the pads

Also, I was talking about the OP's son. I doubt that a very cheap grill will get that hot and he can always cook indirect.
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Old 06-15-2017, 04:40 PM   #17
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Well then, you can certainly tell if you are going to want to cook at 500+. Few folks cook at 500+ except to sear steaks or burgers or other similar cooks. When doing that, I wouldn't use the pads

Also, I was talking about the OP's son. I doubt that a very cheap grill will get that hot and he can always cook indirect.
But.... wouldn't you want to put somewhat of a sear on a turkeyburger? Typically, grilling is done hot and fast, BBQ is slow. Cooking the ground turkey more slowly may work on the mats, but it won't be much different from just doing it in the oven. No maillard reaction from hot grill or hot sear.

The real mistake by the OP's son is using ground turkey and expecting it to cook like a beef burger.
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Old 06-15-2017, 06:42 PM   #18
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But.... wouldn't you want to put somewhat of a sear on a turkeyburger? Typically, grilling is done hot and fast, BBQ is slow. Cooking the ground turkey more slowly may work on the mats, but it won't be much different from just doing it in the oven. No maillard reaction from hot grill or hot sear.

The real mistake by the OP's son is using ground turkey and expecting it to cook like a beef burger.
450 is fine for burgers. If you don't think so, heat an electric fry pan to 450 and add some burger. I don't think he will only cook turkey burgers
either. The suggestion of a pad was just a cheap baby step. A second baby step I mentioned would be a grill overlay. lots of options other than 1 1/2 inch grill spacing. And the advantage of the mat is no seasoning required.

And the Maillard reaction kicks in for grilling at any temp above 350, it just takes longer.
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