Juicy smoked turkey burgers topped with mustard and melted mozzarella cheese. This easy smoker recipe is proof that turkey can be just as flavor-loaded as any other burger.
When the mercury starts to rise and summer’s edging closer and closer our mind goes to one thing – burgers. Is there a more perfect summer dish? Patties of meat slung on the grill and then wrapped in little buns with the toppings of your choice to create the ideal mouthful – it’s the ultimate easy dinner. The usual choice is beef, but if you’re looking for something a little bit different, then these smoked turkey burgers have got you covered.
Turkey isn’t known for being the juiciest or most flavorful meat but we’ve found that smoking solved both of those issues. Cooking the patties slowly in a smoker prevents any drying that might happen on a hot grill. Turkey’s a notoriously lean meat which makes it a great option healthwise but that does mean you need to watch how you cook it.
From forming the perfect patty to getting your smoking wood choice right, here’s how to smoke turkey burgers today.
Smoky BBQ Turkey Burgers
So what makes a smoked turkey burger so different from a normal burger? Well, obviously the meat is the first big difference. We love a beef burger but switching up to a lighter meat means we can play around with flavors a bit more and mix up our toppings. White meats are perfect for showcasing fresh summery ingredients like basil, mozzarella, and avocado. You can also add fresh herbs to the patty mixture with your seasonings, to add extra pops of flavor.
This lean meat is also ideal if you’re counting calories but you do need to be careful with how you cook it to prevent it from drying out because of its low-fat content. This is why smoking is perfect for these patties. Cooking the burgers slowly in the smoker keeps them perfectly moist in the center and also imbues that delicious smokey flavor to the meat.
This is one of our best burger recipes and you’ll soon see why. Once you give these a go, they’ll soon become a regular at yours too.
How to Smoke Turkey Burgers
- Fire Up: Preheat your smoker to medium 250°F (121°C)
- Make the Patties: Combine the ground turkey and seasonings in a large bowl, and form four equal-sized patties
- Smoke: Place the burgers on your smoker’s grates and smoke until cooked through to 160°F (71°C), about one hour
- Serve: Rest the patties with melted cheese on top, before serving in a bread bun with your favorite toppings and sauces
In our opinion, turkey burgers are best when they showcase fresh, summer ingredients. We love to stack them high with juicy tomatoes, lettuce and fresh avocado but you could also take them further down the BBQ route, slathering them in your favorite sauce and topping with jalapenos and cheese.
- Ground Turkey: We’ve mentioned already that turkey can be pretty dry so if you can try to pick ground turkey that’s at least 15% fat.
- Seasonings: You can really go wild with seasonings for these turkey burgers and flavor them to match your other ingredients. We’ve kept it really simple with finely diced onion and garlic for a fresh taste and then plenty of salt and pepper. Feel free to experiment with spices such as cumin and ground coriander too.
- Toppings: Our burger embraces all things summer with juicy slices of tomato, crunchy lettuce, and some mozzarella for that perfect cheese pull.
- Buns: We love soft, white fluffy buns for our burgers (something like a potato bun would be ideal) but you could also use wholemeal if you’re trying to keep things a little healthier.
How to Make the Patties
These patties are exceptionally simple to make. We’ve stayed away from binders such as breadcrumbs here as they have the potential to dry the meat out further and we find the patties stay together well on their own.
Fresh onion and garlic are finely chopped in our recipe to add flavor to the patties. You could use onion or garlic powder in its place but we like the freshness this brings and the chopped vegetables help to add a little more moisture too. Try not to overmix the meat and seasonings, it can also make the burgers dry.
To form the patties you can weigh the meat and divide it equally to get four patties of the exact same size or you can eyeball it and simply divide it into quarters. Use your hands to shape the burgers, first forming them into a ball and then squishing them into a hockey puck shape.
Best Wood for Smoking Turkey Burgers
The best wood chips for smoking turkey are mild fruitwoods like apple, pecan, or maple. Our choice would be applewood because it’s sweet enough to impart enough smokey-sweet flavor on our burgers while remaining subtle enough to allow the flavors from your seasonings to shine through.
Avoid stronger hardwoods like mesquite, which are extremely robust and rick completely overpowering your turkey patty and toppings.
Times & Temperatures
Being poultry, these burgers must be cooked through fully before being consumed. Cooking for 1 hour at 250°F (121°C) will achieve this but be sure to check the internal temperature is 160°F (71°C) before serving.
Smoked Turkey Burgers
- 4 bread buns
- 2 lbs ground turkey
- ½ red onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 tsp Dijon mustard
- 4 slices mozzarella
- 4 slices tomato
- 4 crunchy lettuce leaves e.g. romaine or Little Gem
- Preheat the smoker to 250°F (121°C)
- In a large bowl, add ground turkey, garlic, red onion, salt and black pepper. Use your hands to mix it all together. Be careful not to overwork.
- Divide the mixture into 4 equal balls. Use your hands to press into a hockey puck/patty shape.
- Place the burgers on the smoker grates and cook until the internal temperature hits 160°F (71°C), about 1 hour
- Once cooked, remove the patties from the smoker. Place a slice of mozzarella cheese on top and set to one side to rest.
- Whilst the burgers are resting, prepare the buns. Spread ½ tbsp mayonnaise and ¼ tsp Dijon mustard on both halves of each bun.
- Slide the cheese-topped burgers onto each bottom bun. Top with a slice of tomato and a lettuce leaf, before crowning with the top bun to serve.