How to add incredible flavor to boring turkey burgers.
Turkey burgers can tend to come out dry and flavorless. Adding bacon paste to ground turkey adds not only flavor but great moisture lacking in most turkey burgers.
I’ll be the first to admit, when I transitioned from a vegetarian back into a meat eater it was a slow process. I went through a phase where I was shy on beef and friendly with poultry. We ate a lot of chicken and turkey during those days.
Granted we still eat our fair share of poultry and I especially like to change it up in our family, providing a variety of proteins throughout the week.
And since one of our kids has proclaimed he’s a pesca-bacon-tarian we’ve been cooking less beef around here. Hence turkey.
But turkey burgers can be so boring and dry. We discovered years ago a magic ingredient that revolutionizes the boring turkey. Okay so it might not revolutionize it, but it jazzes it up for damn sure (can I see some jazz hands?!?!?!)
This ain’t your typical slice of bacon added to the top of a turkey burger to compensate for the lack of flavor found within the patty. Nor is it some expensive ingredient you have to buy at a specialty food store.
Nope. Bacon paste can be made easily, right at home in your food processor.
You just take uncooked bacon and mix it in a food processor until it becomes a paste, and then mix the paste into your patty.
Our favorite ratio is 2 pieces of thick cut, uncooked bacon, for every 1 pound of ground meat. That’s all you need to add a boatload of delicious flavor to your burgers. Seriously…a boatload.
Bacon paste becomes the binder and fat that not only keeps the burgers together, but also elevates the flavor of burger beyond your typical boring patty you may buy at the store.
With any kind of ground meat intended for burgers you want some fat. Ground beef is purchased typically by it’s fat content, so you’ll see things like 85/15 or 90/10. That means the ratio of meat to fat. And fat is flavor. For more flavor try out 80/20 for best results.
When buying ground turkey the same ratio rules apply, however something to consider is going to your local butcher and mixing up some white and dark meat ground to the same ratio’s you would expect from a beef burger. 75/25 or 85/15 is fantastic. If you go too lean on a burger, regardless of turkey or beef, the flavor will be muted and it is much more likely to fall apart even with binding agents.
Even with a good amount of fat in ground turkey it can still be dull tasting and dry. Which brings us to the bacon paste.
Just add the bacon paste into the ground turkey mixture and make your patties.
And as opposed to adding cooked bacon on top (which you can still do as well. I won’t ever judge for overdoing it on the bacon), adding the raw bacon paste to your burgers adds incredible flavor as well as fat (moisture) to ensure your burgers don’t dry out.
Bacon and Nutrition!
Did I mention the nutritional value of adding bacon paste? Did you know pork fat was named the #8 most nutritious food in the world by the BBC. Not lying! They claim Pork fat is more unsaturated and healthier than beef fat. So go add your bacon fat and feel no regret!
Mix & Grill
Add the rest of your ingredients to the ground meat, and mix to combine everything into patties.
If you want to add cheese (who wouldn’t?) add it in the final minutes of cooking (see notes).
Turkey Burgers with Bacon Paste
- 2 pieces thick cut bacon
- 1 pound ground turkey (a mix of white and dark meat works great)
- 1/3 cup onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper (just a few twists from your grinder)
- 4 burger buns
- Optional toppings
- Preheat your grill for indirect method (see instructions on direct vs. indirect here).
- Place two pieces of uncooked bacon in a food processor and pulse until it turns into a paste (should only take about 3-4 pulses).
- In a large mixing bowl, mix ground turkey with bacon paste, onion, Worcestershire, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and smoked paprika in a large bowl with your hands being careful to not over mix.
- Form the burgers into four equal sized patties.
- Place on grill over direct heat. Cook about 4 minutes per side for grill marks and a nice char, then transfer to indirect heat. *If you’re adding cheese do it here, when you add it to indirect heat. And then cover until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
- Remove burgers from heat and build your burgers.
I’ve written at length on what it means to be a good “burger wine”. For these turkey burgers, we kept them simple with basic toppings (tomato, onion, pickle). The bacon adds a great smokiness and savoriness that lends itself to several styles of wine. If you want something big and powerful look to New World Syrah (California and Washington make excellent examples). For something medium bodied, try Côtes du Rhône (Syrah and Grenache based blends from France). For a refreshing lighter bodied alternative, Spanish Rosé is a nice choice with its bright fresh flavors and strong acidity.
More Bacon Paste Recipes
Want to know what else you can do with bacon paste?
For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.
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