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Spicy Turkey Burgers with Barbecued Onions


For the Barbecued Onions: (Try these on hot dogs or dogs with cheese as well.)

  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil

  • 4 large sweet onions, halved lengthwise and sliced

  • Salt and coarse pepper

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1/4 cup ketchup

  • 1 tablespoon spicy brown or Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1/2 cup chicken or turkey stock

For the Burgers:

  • 2 pounds ground turkey

  • Kosher salt and coarse black pepper

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons grated onion with its juice

  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced

  • About 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1/3 palmful

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1/3 palmful

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika, 1/3 palmful

  • Olive oil or canola oil, a liberal drizzle

  • Sliced sharp white cheddar (for cheeseburgers, optional)

  • 4 to 6 halved burger rolls

  • Lettuce leaves and sliced pickles, for garnish


For the onions, heat a medium skillet over medium heat with olive or canola oil. Add onions and season with salt and pepper; add bay leaf. Cook onions until tender then add garlic and cook until onions are light golden and just beginning to caramelize, 20 minutes. Stir in ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, Worcestershire, cider vinegar, brown sugar and stock. Simmer over low heat to combine flavors and thicken a bit. Keep warm over a low flame, adding a splash of water to keep loose if necessary. Discard bay leaf before serving and adjust heat level by adding a little more hot sauce to your taste.

For the burgers, place turkey in bowl and season with salt and pepper. Grate a few tablespoons of onion over bowl into turkey meat. Add garlic, Worcestershire, cumin, coriander and paprika, and drizzle a little oil over the meat. Mix well with your hands and form four large or six medium patties. Patties should be thinner at center and thicker at edges for even cooking.

Preheat a griddle or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat for burgers. When very hot, add burgers and cook 10-12 minutes turning once. Add cheese, if using, in last minute or two of cooking time melt cheese under foil tent or lid.

Place lettuce and pickles on bun bottoms and top with burgers or cheeseburgers. Mound up some barbecued onions and set bun tops in place.