There aren’t many things more satisfying than a juicy burger with melty cheese in between a warm bun. But you don’t always want or need that red meat. Follow this recipe for duck fat turkey smash burgers, a healthier alternative to beef that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor.Jump to Recipe
“This burger is so TurDuck’n good”-Chuck Byrd
What is a Smash Burger?
A smash burger is a type of burger that is made by cooking meat on a hot griddle or skillet and “smashing” it into a thin patty. This keeps the fat from escaping and essentially cooks the burger in its own juices.
This method creates a thin, crispy, seared texture on the outside of the patty, while keeping the inside juicy and flavorful.
Smash burgers are typically made with ground beef, but they can also be made with other types of meat such as turkey, chicken, or lamb. The key to making a successful smash burger however, is fat content.
It’s what makes all the magic happen. So if you’re cooking with a lean meat, you’ll need to add some fat to your patties. This is where the duck fat comes in for our turkey smash burgers.
Are Turkey Burgers Healthy?
Healthy? Well lets just say these turkey smash burgers are a lot healthier than Ronalds quarter pounder. But they won’t exactly be getting a ringing endorsement from the heart health institute either.
Unlike ground beef, ground turkey is lower in fat and calories, making it a healthier option for sure. And yes, we do add fat to these turkey smash burgers, but it is a much healthier, duck fat.
So you probably won’t be losing any lbs eating a diet of turkey smash burgers, but you can rest assured it is a healthier option to beef burgers.
Turkey is way more environmentally friendly as well. Turkeys don’t produce methane and they require a lot less food and water to maintain.
So whatever your reason is for choosing turkey over beef, we’re glad you are here and we hope you enjoy these duck fat turkey smash burgers.
Benefits of Duck Fat?
Besides being super tasty, duck fat is actually pretty healthy. And it’s easy to find in most super markets. Or just order it off amazon here. Duck Fat Link.
Duck fat is is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are the “good” kind of fat that can help to improve cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. Duck fat also contains a significant amount of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, D, and E, as well as iron and magnesium.
Additionally, turkey is a good source of essential vitamins and minerals such as zinc, iron, and B vitamins. These nutrients help to support a strong immune system, healthy muscles, and overall good health.
Turkey Smash Burger Recipe
Turkey Smash Burger Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this Turkey Smash Burger.
- Ground Turkey: I know you saw this coming. Shocker, you’re gonna need ground turkey to make turkey smash burgers. Don’t make things hard on you and get extra lean. Buy the 80/20 or 85/15 fat ratio if you can.
- Extra Fat: Duck fat, butter, or bacon grease are all good options. Remember, its the fat the cooks the meat that makes the smash burger special. Don’t forget to add fat to the natuarally lean turkey.
- Potato Bun: We love using potato buns. They are so soft and gooey and just go perfectly with these turkey smash burgers. Other great options would be pretzel buns or even sourdough slices. I’m thinking a turkey smash burger patty melt!
- Cheese: American cheese is just the best for a burger. It melts perfectly over the bun and just gives it that classic burger taste. We’re doing turkey okay, let me have my cheese!
- Sauce: You could simply just use mayo, or go for broke and make this special sauce. We don’t like overriding it with toppings so the sauce for us is key.
- Toppings: lettuce, tomato, jalapeño use what you like. Personally, I want my turkey patty to sing the loudest, and I feel like too many toppings take away from a perfectly cooked piece of meat. So for my turkey smash burgers I only use caramelized onions and a couple pickles.
How to Make Turkey Smash Burgers
Follow these steps to make a turkey smash burger. Before you begin cooking your patties, you should have a toasted bun with mayo, pickles, and jalepeno ready to go.
Step 1: Sauté the Onion
Toss your sliced onion in a tsp of duck fat and cook in a skillet until they nice and browned. Set them aside put keep them close. You’ll add them back to the griddle when you cook your patties.
Step 2: Make your Patties
You don’t need to season your meat or add an egg. Just add your duck fat and meat to a big bowl and mix thoroughly. Make little balls out of 2oz of meat. If you bought a pound of ground turkey you should end up with 8 patties.
This may seem like a really small patty, and it is. But this will enable them to cook super quick and get that nice char we all love. And hell, 2 two ounce patties is a quarter pounder, so its not a tiny burger. Make it a triple if you want.
Step 3: Smash your Turkey Burger Patties
Heat a griddle or a nonstick skillet over high heat. Don’t add any oil. Once its super hot add the turkey smash burger patties.
Then one at a time, quickly place a small sheet of parchment paper over the balls. With the back fo a metal spatula “Smash” your patties until they are about 1/8 of an inch thick. Really lean it. The parchemnt paper should help the burger not stick to the spatula.
The griddle should be super hot and with patties so thin, they won’t take long to cook. About 30 seconds to a minute. With that time, liberally season the patties with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Flip your Turkey Burger Patties
Toss the onions back on the griddle to reheat them for a few seconds. Then use your spatula to flip the patties. Then add the American cheese slices and sautéd onions. This side will only need about 30 seconds to cook.
Starting with the first patty to touch the griddle, stack your patties onto of each other.
Step 5: Assemble & Enjoy!
Use your spatula to transfer your turkey smash burgers to your awaiting bun. I just like mayo, pickles and jalapeño on mine. Lettuce and tomato get in the way of the crispy gooey goodness. Save the salt for another day.
Buns & Cheese
It’s hard to beat the soft fluffy potato bun. Its a perfect vessel to carry these delicious turkey smash burgers in. They soak up all the excess duck fat juices from the patty and the onions.
They’re also just a little bit sweet, which pairs wonderfully with the savory turkey patties.
Finally, potato buns are a little smaller than the average bun. With 2 really thin patties you don’t want a ton of bread taking away from your burger experience. Even with 3 patties the bread/meat ratio is perfect, maybe even better.
This is the only time I will heavily advocate for American cheese. Theres just something about that yellow goo that melts perfectly around a meat patty. It almost forms a cheese shell. And while guarding these turkey smash burgers is fools errand, I salute you American cheese.
Leftover Turkey Smash Burgers
It is hard to recreate that crispy seared edge that a freshly made smash burger gives you. You just lose a lot of the magic when you reheat it.
With that being said, if you do normal turkey burger patties without the added fat and smashing method, you would get a much better burger for leftovers.
I don’t like to cook anticipating a lot of leftovers, but sometimes during a busy stretch Frankie and I will block out an evening to meal prep for the rest of the week. You can grill up a normal turkey burger patties and store them in the fridge for a week.
Frankie likes to just reheat the patty and go protein style with no bun and a bunch of toppings. I like my carbs so I slap the patty on a bun after reheating it in the skillet with a slice of cheese.
Fries with that?
Don’t forget the fries! And in the vein eating slightly healthier, check out these air fryer potato recipes:
Turkey Smash Burgers FAQ
If you’re getting dry burgers you aren’t adding enough fat. Turkey is a lean meat and you need add fat in order for this smash burger recipe to work.Additionally, cooking a burger this way will prevent you from getting a medium raw center. Thats the trade off for getting the crispy caramelized patties that make smash burgers so good.
Yes, but not until the fat has rendered. If you’re working with 2oz patties that are smashed super thin, it should only take 30 seconds until they need to be scraped and flipped.
Yes. Get your skillet or griddle as hot as possible.
Thin, thats how you’re gonna get the great crispy caramelized edges. Smash those patties down hard, try and get them to 1/8 – 1/4-inch-thick. This will make them cook fast, so don’t walk away and burn your turkey smash burgers.