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Thanksgiving Turkey Burger

  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 3 big burgers


© CarnalDish



Cranberry sauce:

  • 1 lb fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • juice from half an orange
  • splash of rum
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • coarse sea salt

Onion straws:

  • 1/2 onion, sliced into thin rings (I used a mandoline)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (feel free to use less)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika (regular paprika will work)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 4 cups vegetable oil for frying

Turkey Burgers:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey (85% lean)
  • 3 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon granulated onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped fine, plus 8-12 whole sage leaves for frying
  • generous pinch of red pepper flakes
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • sea salt
  • 6 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cooked to desired crispness
  • Brie cheese
  • dijon mustard and mayo
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 hamburger buns (type of bun is totally up to you)


For the cranberry sauce:

  1. In a saucepan over high heat, dissolve the sugar into the water. Add the cranberries, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, orange juice, rum, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and bring to a rapid boil. Stir occasionally until mixture has cooked down to desired consistency. This can take anywhere between 12-20 minutes, depending on how you like your cranberry sauce. I cooked mine for about 20 minutes. When you’ve reached your desired consistency, remove from heat and add the orange zest. Mix everything together and set aside to cool slightly.

For the onion straws:

  1. Soak the onion rings in the buttermilk for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours. Mix the flour, baking powder, and remaining seasonings together. Place the buttermilk soaked onions into the flour mixture. Don’t let too much of the buttermilk drip off the onions before flouring them because this is what will give us a nice crust. Dredge the onions into the flour mixture well to make sure they are evenly coated. Place in the refrigerator or freezer for about 20 minutes to let the flour set and adhere. Heat the vegetable oil to 360 degrees, and fry the onions until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from fryer to drain on a paper towel and immediately season with sea salt.

For the burgers:

  1. Heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix the ground turkey, worcestershire, melted butter, fresh herbs, and seasonings in a large bowl until evenly combined. Form the mixture into 3 equal sized patties. I use a large biscuit cutter to help form my patties and keep them from turning into meatballs. If you experience this problem, use this method.
  3. In a large oven-proof skillet or cast iron pan, heat 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat, just until you start to see wisps of smoke (if it’s totally smoking, you’ve gone too far). Place each patty into the skillet and cook for about 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. DO NOT PRESS DOWN ON YOUR BURGER! We don’t want all of that delicious flavor to seep out and leave us with a dry patty. While the burgers are cooking, place the whole sage leaves into the oil inside of the pan so they can fry up crisp, about 2 minutes.
  4. Remove skillet from heat and let’s start building this monster.
  5. Separate and butter the insides of your hamburger buns lightly. Toast them in the 400 degree oven until golden brown, about 5 minutes or so. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Remove and set aside.
  6. With the burgers still in the skillet, place the bacon on top of the burger first. Then top with creamy brie cheese. Place the skillet into the oven on the middle rack so that the cheese can melt beautifully and dramatically, about 2 to 3 minutes. Pull the skillet out of the oven, and pile on the crispy onions and 3 to 4 fried sage leaves per burger.
  7. Spread cranberry sauce on the bottom bun and put the burger on top of that. Then spread a thin layer of mayo and dijon mustard on the top bun. Get some napkins, eat this baby, and try not to slap anyone.
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
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