How to Make Ground Turkey Taste Like Ground Beef

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Turkey burger.  The favorite!
Turkey burger. The favorite! (Image: nwtf.org)

The biggest challenge with ground turkey is trying to form it into a burger and make it taste like real ground beef! When you are using it in spaghetti, or other main dish meals, the tomato sauce and other ingredients tend to mask the fact that it is turkey. The steps below will show you how to make that turkey burger without drying it out, and use your spices to help make it taste like a real beef burger.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh ground turkey
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Sea salt
  • Various spices (your choice)
  • outdoor grill, or grilling skillet
  • cooking spray

If you are using an outdoor grill, fire it up! Charcoal is fine, but wood chips can add a really nice flavor. This method is the best way to make your turkey taste more like beef, because you get that nice, smoky barbecue flavor and aroma from the grill.

Mix the ground turkey with Worcestershire sauce and blend well with your hands. This sauce is the one extra ingredient that can make all the difference with flavor, and it also helps keep the turkey moist. Add other spices according to your own taste. A little salt and pepper is a must. You can also add garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder ... anything you enjoy. Remember, you will need more spices here than you normally use with beef to help bring out that flavor.

Form the ground turkey into small patties. If you make them too big, they are much more likely to fall apart on your grill or your skillet simply because turkey is drier than beef due to the lower fat content.

Spray the cooking surface well with cooking spray, then place your turkey burgers over the heat. Turn the turkey burgers frequently to check for doneness, but do not push down on the patties with a spatula or any other cooking tool. People often make this mistake, and all it does is push the juices out! Remember, turkey cannot be cooked "medium rare" like beef. It's not safe. So the key here is to not undercook, or overcook. Keep a close eye on it. Do not cut into it to check and see if its done either. That also makes you lose all the natural juices.

Cook the burgers until they reach a golden color. The burgers should be firm to the touch. Remove it from the heat and let it sit for at least five minutes to let the juices settle in. Now you can cut into it if you are not sure if its cooked long enough. You can always put it back on the heat if you feel its undercooked. Once you have done this a few times, you will have a routine, and you will know when its done just by looking.

The final product!
The final product!

Tips & Warnings

  • This takes practice to figure out cooking time. Just keep trying!
  • For other turkey dishes like meat loaf and spaghetti, remember, lots of spices are key to bring out the best "beef like" flavor.

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