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Wild turkey burger Field & Stream

When chef Charlie Palmer, restauranteur and author of the Remington Camp Cooking cookbook, makes burgers at a BBQ, he likes to offer a variety, just in case one of his guests is off the red meat. Your friends might not be so inclined, but mixing things up is still a great way to keep things interesting. Switching out turkey for the standard beef or venison also gives this spring’s gobbler a way to shine on the grill. Here’s a few of Chef Palmer’s ideas for spicing up your burgers, along with a turkey-burger recipe that’s perfect for meat ground from either thighs or the breast.

For every pound of ground meat—beef, turkey, chicken, venison, or a mix—add the following:

• ½ cup minced red onion along with 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs
• Minced chile peppers to taste and chopped cilantro
• 1 tablespoon roasted garlic puree
• ½ cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons dark beer, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon minced onion, and ¾ cup fresh bread crumbs
• Form a burger around a 1-inch cube of cheddar, Jack, Brie, or any other cheese you like


Serves 6

  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 serrano or other hot green chile (or to taste), stemmed, seeded, and minced
  • ¼ cup minced red bell pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. minced shallots
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tsp. ground chile powder (not seasoned chili powder)
  • ¼ tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil to brush on patties
  • 6 large brioche buns, split and toasted

For the Guacamole

  • 2 large avocados, pitted, peeled, and mashed
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • ⅓ cup chopped, seeded, and peeled tomato
  • 2 Tbsp. minced red onion
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. serrano chile minced, seeded
  • Salt


  1. Make the guacamole: Combine the avocado with the lime juice, tomato, onion, cilantro, and chile. Season with salt.

  2. Combine the turkey with the egg using your hands to blend. Add the chile, bell pepper, shallots, garlic, chile powder, and cumin. Again, using your hands, mix well to blend. Season with salt and pepper.

  3. Preheat and oil the grill or preheat a nonstick stovetop grill pan over medium-high heat.

  1. Form the ground-meat mixture into 6 equal mounds (so they cook evenly), and shape each into patties. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the outside of each with oil.

  2. Place the burgers on the grill and grill for 6 minutes. Turn and grill for another 5 minutes for well done. Place a burger on each bun, top with guacamole, and serve.