Southwestern Turkey Burgers (a Keelty Labs original recipe)

You will need: One pound of ground turkey; one yellow onion; one green pepper; one large clove of garlic (or more, to taste); four potato hamburger rolls; one Haas avocado; one tomato; salt, pepper, and spices; panko or other breadcrumbs; Worcestershire and soy Sauces. One mischievous cat. One computer with Internet access.

Makes: four burgers; a lot of smoke; an enormous mess of your kitchen; hours go by in the blink of an eye.


  1. Remembering something you saw on an episode of Good Eats, place a cast iron skillet in a 500 degree oven to heat up while you chop vegetables.
  2. Dice onion, pepper, and garlic, saving two slices of onion to saute. Slice tomato into wheels.
  3. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, two tablespoons each of Worcestershire and soy sauces, a quarter cup of panko. Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and other seasonings of choice. Mix. Realize it’s too loose, and add another half cup of panko. Mix and set aside.
  4. Remove skillet from 500 degree oven and move to a medium-high flame. Switch oven to broiler to toast potato rolls.
  5. Remember your vegetable oil is all in the fridge; remove it and add one tablespoon to the skillet. Watch in awe as it immediately turns to a cloud of foul-smelling smoke. What’s the smoke point of canola oil, again?
  6. Remove ruined oil from hot skillet. Reduce flame. When skillet seems cooler, add a fresh tablespoon of oil, which only smokes a little bit.
  7. Open kitchen window at the top to try and let out some of the cloud of smoke. Realize that a cloud of smoke is an extra bad idea when you have a chest contusion from hockey and coughing really hurts.
  8. Drop diced vegetables into skillet. Jolt away from stove as spitting oil lands on your bare chest (also, it’s summer and you’ve just come home from a run to your overheated apartment).
  9. Keep vegetables moving as you realize that the skillet is too hot and you’re probably going to burn the garlic. Wonder why you bother with so many hours of Food Network if you can’t even remember not to burn garlic.
  10. Once onions are translucent, remove them to a bowl and set aside to cool. Return skillet to medium flame.
  11. Realize you should have done steps 7 and 8 before step 3. Curse. Buy time by toasting rolls; realize the pan you have them on is too big to fit into your broiler. Improvise by turning it so it sticks halfway out, and resolve to chase away any cats that come too close.
  12. Sautee onion slices until brown; remove to a plate with tomato wheels.
  13. Slice avocado in half and remove pit. You know a really cool way to do this because you watch a lot of Alton Brown, so take pride in your avocado disassembly skills. Using the back side of a fork, mash avocado in its own skin, and then move to a bowl.
  14. Season avocado with salt, black pepper, and lime juice. Taste it and realize you made it WAY too salty. Reason that it’s probably okay, because you maybe didn’t salt the turkey enough – after all, you couldn’t taste raw turkey.
  15. Veggies cool? Not in the least! Press on!
  16. Drop cooked vegetable mixture into turkey mixture, and mix. Realize it’s way too loose again, and add more panko.
  17. Oh shit! The buns! Fetch them out and hope they aren’t burned. Looks like they’re okay.
  18. Divide ground turkey mixture into quarters, and shape those quarters into patties. Drop first patty into hot skillet. Smile with satisfaction at the sizzle it makes.
  19. Fry first burger for three minutes and then flip. Well, attempt to flip. Realize that it’s stuck to the pan, and really dig at it to get it loose. Fry other side for three minutes, and then remove to a rack or plate to rest for five minutes.
  20. While second burger is frying, remember that turkey is poultry, and these have to be well done. Cut open first burger and notice the interior is still pretty much pink.
  21. Press remaining patties much flatter, hoping they’ll cook faster. Go to computer with Internet access to check recommended time for pan-frying turkey burgers. It’s five minutes. Get caught up watching Hugh Laurie’s episode of Inside the Actor’s Studio on YouTube.
  22. Run back to check on that burger! It looks like it’s probably done. Flip it.
  23. Realize you haven’t seen one of your cats in a while, and the last time you noticed him he was under the open kitchen window.
  24. Run around the apartment calling your cat’s name and jingling his favorite toys while in the back of your mind wondering how you might go about finding a cat that’s on the roof behind your apartment.
  25. Panic when you can’t find him anywhere.
  26. Prepare to run into the street like an insane person, until said cat saunters out from under your computer desk with a look on his face that says, “Oh, were you calling me?”
  27. Remember turkey burger in pan. Turns out it’s pretty perfect. Remove to rest.
  28. Notice that the bits of debris left by the patties you’ve cooked are really starting to burn. Try to scrape them up, but they’re pretty well stuck. Then remember about “deglazing,” and throw some water in the pan. Wow, that’s cool! It makes a lot of sizzling just like on TV, and the stuff is easy to scrape up! Toss it in the sink, where you’ll get to it later. Maybe.
  29. While you’re frying that next patty, go ahead and assemble your first burger. After all, you’ve been waiting a while and you’re hungry. Spread a thick layer of avocado paste onto bun, then top with browned onions, cooked burger, and a tomato wheel. Turns out this thing actually tastes pretty good. On your first bite, be sure to drop a heaping tablespoon of avocado paste on your carpet, or shirt, or your garment of choice.
  30. Devour the rest of that burger so fast you barely taste it. Resolve to take the second one slower.
  31. Do pretty much the same thing with the second one.
  32. After you’ve finished your fourth patty, return the first one to the skillet so it can finish cooking.
  33. The two uneaten patties can go into the refrigerator for later housing. Cover them with the remaining avocado paste (if there is any).
  34. Throw all the dishes in the sink, and tell yourself you’ll wash them before bed. Write a blog entry and fall asleep.

In all seriousness though, these things were pretty tasty – though you might want to adjust a few things from my recipe.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.