Adding A Few Unexpected Ingredients Transformed This Turkey Burger

Photo: Courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.
This summer, I'm grilling up a batch of basil turkey burgers inspired by one of my favorite menu items from Burger Lounge. Flavored with tons of fresh basil, these burgers are laced with two secret ingredients: fish sauce and sugar. Fish sauce provides some much-needed umami without imparting a fishy flavor. The sugar balances out the fish sauce. Stacked with lettuce, tomato, mayo, and ketchup, the finished burger packs a pleasant basil punch followed by an incredibly satisfying savory finish.

I do love a good cheeseburger. But from time to time, I like to opt for a healthier alternative. Turkey burgers can often be such a disappointment, but the addition of fish sauce and basil really punch up the flavor, making this burger just as tasty and juicy as a beefy counterpart.

In this recipe, I’m using a freshly ground turkey thigh instead of the pre-packed ground turkey typically found at the grocery store. Store-bought ground turkey is usually made with turkey breast, which is not as fatty or flavorful as turkey thigh. You can certainly use store-bought ground turkey here (I’ve done it and it’s still tasty) and ground chicken also works well. But once again, freshly ground chicken thigh will be tastier than ground breast meat.
Photo: Courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.

Fresh basil is a must — dried won’t cut it.

Related: The Cocktail You Need To Be Serving This Summer

Serves: 4 burgers

2 lbs ground turkey (preferably freshly ground turkey thigh with some fat)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil
2 tbsp fish sauce
2 tsp sugar
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Vegetable oil, for brushing
Toasted buns, for serving
Toppings: lettuce, tomato, ketchup, and mayonnaise

1. To a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey, basil, fish sauce, sugar, and several turns of freshly ground black pepper. Season with 2 to 3 pinches of salt. Using your hands or a set of forks, gently mix the meat until everything is evenly incorporated. Do not overmix, as that will result in tough burgers. Form the mixture into 4 patties (about 1/2 pound each).
Photo: Courtesy of Kitchen Konfidence.

2. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill over medium-high heat. Brush the burgers — and the grill — with vegetable oil. Grill the patties over direct heat for about four minutes per side, or until cooked through. Let rest for a few minutes before building the burger with your toppings. I like to cook the burgers to 155°F. The temp rises to 160°F as they rest.

3. Stack up the burger as follows: bottom bun, mayo, burger patty, tomato slice, lettuce, ketchup, top bun. Enjoy immediately!

Next: Never Go Back To Ordinary Dipping Sauce Again With This Charred Onion And Bacon Dip

More from Food & Drinks


R29 Original Series