Grind your own turkey thigh for great tasting, juicy burgers

This photo provided by America's Test Kitchen shows juicy grilled turkey burgers. This recipe appears in the cookbook "Master of the Grill." Carl Tremblay/America's Test Kitchen via AP

Most turkey burgers are dry, bland, or loaded up with flavor-blunting fillers. To create juicy, well-textured turkey burgers, we ditched store-bought ground turkey in favor of a home-ground turkey thigh, which boasts more fat and flavor.

To ensure that our turkey burger recipe delivered maximum juiciness, we incorporated a paste made from a portion of the ground turkey, gelatin, soy sauce and baking soda. The gelatin trapped moisture within the burgers while the baking soda helped tenderize the meat by raising its pH, and the soy sauce added savory umami flavor.

Finally, we added coarsely chopped raw white mushrooms to keep the meat from binding together too firmly. To top the burgers, we created a variety of sweet and savory sauces that complemented the rich dark meat of the turkey.

JUICY GRILLED TURKEY BURGERS

Servings: 6

Start to finish: 1 1/2 hours

To ensure the best texture, don't let the burgers stand for more than an hour before cooking. If you like, toast the hamburger buns on the grill while the burgers rest. Serve with one of our burger sauces (recipes follow) or your favorite toppings.

1 (2-pound) bone-in turkey thigh, skinned, boned, trimmed, and cut into ½-inch pieces

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin

3 tablespoons chicken broth

6 ounces white mushrooms, trimmed

1 tablespoon soy sauce

Pinch baking soda

2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus extra for brushing

Kosher salt and pepper

6 hamburger buns

Place turkey pieces on large plate in single layer. Freeze meat until very firm and hardened around edges, 35 to 45 minutes. Meanwhile, sprinkle gelatin over broth in small bowl and let sit until gelatin softens, about 5 minutes. Pulse mushrooms in food processor until coarsely chopped, about 7 pulses, stopping and redistributing mushrooms around bowl as needed to ensure even grinding. Set mushrooms aside.

Pulse one-third of turkey in now-empty food processor until coarsely chopped into 1/8-inch pieces, 18 to 22 pulses, stopping and redistributing turkey around bowl as needed to ensure even grinding. Transfer meat to large bowl and repeat 2 more times with remaining turkey.

Return 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) ground turkey to bowl of again-empty food processor and add soy sauce, baking soda, and softened gelatin. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly drizzle in oil, about 10 seconds; leave paste in food processor. Return mushrooms to food processor and pulse to combine with paste, 3 to 5 pulses, stopping and redistributing mixture as needed to ensure even mixing. Transfer mushroom mixture to bowl with ground turkey and use your hands to evenly combine.

With lightly greased hands, divide meat mixture into 6 balls. Gently flatten each ball into 3/4-inch-thick patty. Press center of patties down with your fingertips to create 1/4-inch-deep depression.

For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).

Clean and oil cooking grate. Brush 1 side of patties with oil and season with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties, brush with oil, and season second side. Place burgers on hotter side of grill and cook until well browned on first side, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip burgers and cook until well browned on second side and meat registers 160 F, 4 to 7 minutes more. (If cooking frozen burgers: After burgers are browned on both sides, transfer to cooler side of grill, cover, and continue to cook until burgers register 160 F.)

Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve on buns.

Malt Vinegar-Molasses Burger Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup mayonnaise

4 teaspoons malt vinegar

1/2 teaspoon molasses

1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in bowl.

Apricot-Mustard Burger Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup mayonnaise

5 teaspoons apricot preserves

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard

1/4 teaspoon sugar

Whisk all ingredients together in bowl.

Chile-Lime Burger Sauce:

Makes about 1 cup

3/4 cup mayonnaise

2 teaspoons chili-garlic paste

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 scallion, sliced thin

1/4 teaspoon fish sauce

1/8 teaspoon sugar

Whisk all ingredients together in bowl.

Nutrition information per serving of turkey burger without sauce: 331 calories; 88 calories from fat; 10 g fat (2 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 119 mg cholesterol; 737 mg sodium; 23 g carbohydrate; 1 g fiber; 3 g sugar; 38 g protein.

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