Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers

The turkey burger that just might convert the turkey burger skittish.

Serving Size: 4 burgers

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

I always get a little mad when I ask guests at a barbecue, “Who wants beef burgers?” and tons of hands shoot up and then I ask, “Who wants turkey?” and everyone yanks their hands down and only a couple go up. Really, even now, people still have so much hesitation about turkey burgers?

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

Yes, yes, I understand that people are nervous about turkey burgers being dry. But that’s just a matter of not overcooking them, and using a mix of dark and light ground turkey, often available prepackaged in your grocer’s (look for a label that says 93/7% which indicates that there is 7% dark meat mixed in – the 99% ground turkey is quite lean and will yield a less moist burger).

You can also add in an ingredient or two to help keep them juicy, plus give the mild meat a boost of flavor. Play around with all kinds of ingredients, from ketchup to mayonnaise to shredded apple to sautéed onions.

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

A touch of olive oil doesn’t hurt either, both as a juiciness enhancer and a flavor booster, and here it is used along with barbecue sauce and a bit of heat, which you can make by simply dumping a can of chipotles in adobo into the food processor and pureeing the whole shebang.

Use what you need, and keep the rest in a sealed container in the fridge for weeks, adding a spoonful to any recipe where you want a little heat and smokiness. And here – and really everywhere – don’t forget the salt.

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

Finally, take the burgers off the heat the second they are cooked to your liking, as they will continue to cook a bit after being removed from the direct hear.  I am advised to advise you that is when they reach an internal temperature of 165° – that’s when they are just safely cooked through.  But rare they aren’t by that point, so use your judgement.

If you don’t wish to grill them, the burgers can be cooked in a lightly oiled skillet or under the broiler for roughly the same amount of time. There is a sauce that goes along with these burgers, but you are welcome to use plain old mustard or ketchup if you prefer.

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers / Mandy Maxwell / Katie Workman /

Chipotle Barbecue Turkey Burgers


For the burgers:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup minced scallions
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 teaspoons pureed chipotles in adobo
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon pureed chipotles in adobo
  • Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

To serve:

  • 4 hamburger buns
  • sliced onions
  • sliced tomatoes
  • Romaine lettuce leaves

1. Preheat the grill to medium high. In a small skillet heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the scallions are softened.

2. Turn the scallion mixture into a mixing bowl and add the barbecue sauce, bread crumbs, and pureed chipotles and stir to combine. Add the turkey and salt and pepper and mix well, using your hands or a spoon, but trying to handle the meat lightly. Form the mixture into 4 evenly-sized patties, and once the patties are well shaped use your fingers to press an indent into the middle of each patty – this will help them remain flat when they cook, as they will naturally swell in the center.

3. Grill the burgers for about 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through and have reached an internal temperature of 165°F. While the burgers are cooking, in a small bowl combine the mayonnaise and the chipotles in adobo.

4. Place the cooked burger on the bottoms of the buns, top with the sauce, and layer in any toppings you like. Serve immediately.

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