bbq bourbon turkey burgers

Every September, I excitedly ask Patrick what he wants for his birthday dinner. I should have learned by now. He ALWAYS answers with, “turkey burgers.” This year was no different- but I don’t blame him. These are insanely delicious. It has become one of those meals where I silently eat until my fingers are sticky and I contemplate whether propriety would step aside and permit me to lick my plate. Sorry (not sorry), vegetarians.

A great way to enjoy these as leftovers is for breakfast with a fried egg, avocado, and hot sauce. You could even make one into a breakfast sandwich with any leftovers.





Conveniently, you do not need a barbecue to make these! A cast iron pan works quite well. Especially if the barbecue you have in your backyard is now home to a creature you would never want to dine with. Not that I would know from personal experience.


For those of you who prefer to stick with beef, try substituting ground beef for turkey and send me a lovely message on how you liked the result. For the vegetarians who feel left out, I wonder what would happen if you substituted black beans for the ground turkey?


makes four 1/4 lb. burgers

1/4 cup finely diced sweet onion (about 1/4 of a medium onion)
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tablespoons BBQ sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire
2 eggs*
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 lb ground turkey (I recommend at least 6% fat if you can find it- the burgers will hold together better)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon celery salt

Pictured above: I enjoy these burgers with cheese (of course), tomato, avocado, onion, my favorite hot sauce, and arugula on a brioche bun.

Mix together all ingredients except turkey and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Fold in your turkey until combined.

Form meat into patties put in fridge for 15-30 minutes.

To cook in a cast iron pan:

Heat pan to medium heat and put 1T oil in the pan to lightly coat the entire surface.

Place patties in pan, dust with celery salt**, and cover with lid. Cook for approx. 12 minutes, then flip and cook for another 10. Patties should be dark golden brown and meat thermometer should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are using cheese, add it to the patties at the end of cooking and cover for 2 minutes off the heat.


Oil your grill to prevent patties from sticking. Preheat grill to high heat, approximately 450 Fahrenheit. Dust patties with celery salt** and grill for 10 min on first side until dark golden brown, and 8 min on next side, adding cheese at the end if desired.

The patties will keep for a couple days in the refrigerator.

*updated 8/2017: I’ve tested with 1 and 2 eggs and prefer 2. The patties seem to hold together better on the grill and in the pan.

**The cooking world is divided on the topic of when to salt your turkey/beef when making burgers. I’ve sided with one of my favorite cookbooks, Twenty Dinnerswhich explains that salt dries out your burgers if mixed into the meat. If you dust your burgers with salt right before cooking, you can achieve an ideally salted burger with a moist inside. In reference to my recipe, I recognize that Worcestershire contains a fair amount of salt, but it also adds a bit of liquid to the burgers, so I like to think that they cancel one another out in the overall process.

2 thoughts on “bbq bourbon turkey burgers

  1. Hi Alicia! So Becca LOVES turkey burgers. I am so excited to try your recipe to change it up a bit!! Love everything about your website!


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