State Fair Turkey Burgers

SFturkeyburgers3 - CopyNothing compares to the state fair here in Iowa. I can say that because “Nothing Compares” is the slogan for the 2016 Iowa Sate Fair. Even though it is only April, and the fair is in August, twitter, facebook and the morning news shows are already alerting us to:

  • grandstand entertainment (Steven Tyler, Lady Antebellum, Dierks Bentley, Jeff Dunham, and more)
  • new food items to search out (I am drawn to the Ultimate Bacon Brisket Bomb)
  • the on-going controversy over when our schools should be allowed to begin classes for the fall (during the fair or after? It’s not as simple an argument as it seems!).

I do not attend the fair every year (I may have to apply for residence in another state after admitting that). There are three things that keep me from going every year:

  • I am not a big “crowd” person
  • I am even less of a “crowd” person when it is 95+ degrees
  • and, being the foodie that I am, I want to try EVERYTHING! But I cannot afford (financially and stomach-ally) to try more than two or three things (okay, maybe four if my husband and I can agree on a couple to share).

I wish the-state-fair-powers-that-be would come up with a way for sampling food.  You give me the opportunity to pay $25 dollars to sample 10 items, and I am there!

One of the long-standing favorites of the Iowa State Fair is the grilled turkey leg. The grill itself is a sight to behold, but it is the aroma that draws you to it!  Years ago (enough years that I honestly cannot remember its source) I received a recipe for a “State Fair Turkey Marinade”. I have always used it to marinate turkey breast fillets and it is amazing! As I am incorporating more ground turkey into our diet, the idea of State Fair Turkey Burgers became reality.

State Fair Turkey Burgers

1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 cup vegetable/canola oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2-1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
3 tablespoons finely diced onion
1 egg
2 pounds ground turkey

Combine first seven ingredients in a small bowl. In a larger bowl, combine onion, egg and turkey; add marinade and fold together until marinade is well distributed. Form six patties (this mixture will be stickier than ground beef and you will have to handle the patties carefully). 

Prepare and preheat grill (350-400 degrees). Spray both sides of patties with cooking spray (or apply a light coating of oil) and place on the grill (be careful of possible flame flare-ups). Do not rearrange the patties. When you can see the patties starting to “pull away” from the grill, the patties will hold together enough to be flipped. Continue grilling until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

How you top your burger is up to you: lettuce, tomato, onion, cabbage, coleslaw, kimchi, pickled veggies, bacon, goat cheese, jalapenos?

Or maybe, in the spirit of the Iowa State Fair, skip the bun and serve it …


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Anita Hinkeldey McVey

From the farm in Alta ... to college in Ames ... to the suburbs of Des Moines in Waukee ... I am an Iowa girl through and through. I married the cute, but quiet, guy who made me laugh out loud in Statistics class and we have two awesome, but terribly sarcastic, boys. In 1999, I quit my research job to be home with those active boys. Staying home allowed me to spend more time preparing meals, trying new recipes and striving to serve healthier options for my family. Now that my boys are men ... well, "adults" anyway ... and my husband still appreciates what I accomplish at home, I have time to explore my creative side and knock "writing a blog" off my bucket list. I love trying new things, traveling, gardening, reading and clean countertops. I love baseball (watching, not playing) and concession stands. Choosing a favorite food is impossible but if I was forced to pick just one, it would be pie! I thank God that He has led me to this place. Here's to a new adventure and hopes that others will be able to use what I post to discover the benefits of family meals and living a picnic life.

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