It’s pineapple turkey burger time!!!!
Confession: I am not a good burger maker. Seriously, I form burger patties way to small for the bun and they almost always fall apart on me when I go to flip them! Not to mention if I am making a turkey burger rather than a beef burger – which was my goal for this recipe. This, my friends is the reason why you haven’t seen burger recipes on this blog yet. Well, okay that’s a lie, I did make two burgers waaaaay back in the beginning – the pictures aren’t very good and I never tested the recipes, I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.
BUT this time around I tested this burger recipe 3 times before I got it right and I spent at least 45 minutes styling and photographing these babies and they are finally ready to share with you. Just in time for the end of summer…..I know right? I wanted these pineapple turkey burgers to be ready like a month ago!
Then Paul reminded me that there is football season in the fall – which I always forget about- and burgers are perfect for watching football games, right?! (<- Please say yes!) Anyways, these pineapple turkey burgers are here for your end of summer grilling needs/fall football party watching needs! GO TEAM!!!
Yes, there are oats in these burgers!
It may sound weird but I found out after testing these pineapple turkey burgers 2 times only to have them crumble when I flipped them that they NEEDED some sort of binder to hold things together, like bread crumbs. I came to this realization just as I was about to test these pineapple turkey burgers a third time. But I don’t have any bread crumbs – should I cook some quinoa? I’ve used cooked quinoa as a binder in meatballs before and it’s worked great – but ugh that’s another step I would have to add to the directions. All of this is going through my head as I am searching my pantry for a solution. Oh heeeeey oats, you would do the job. They worked like a charm. I simply crushed them up a little with my fingers so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating oatmeal in your burger, cause that would be weeeeird!
Success was mine for the taking!!! YES! I tackled my turkey burger fears!
In case you are wondering these pineapple turkey burgers are in fact inspired by the Banzai burger at Red Robin. It’s my all time favorite burger to get on the occasions that I treat myself with one. It’s a beef burger that’s got mayo on the bun, melted cheddar cheese, and is piled high with pineapple slices, lettuce, and onion. Then it is drizzled with sticky sweet teriyaki sauce! It’s a true indulgence.
My only issue is that I usually feel way too full after eating one of those burgers.
So, I decided to make my own version at home that is lighter. My first solution was to use ground turkey instead of beef – seriously makes a huge difference in not feeling like I just ate food for 10 people. Also, I decided there was no need for the cheese – sorry, buuuuttt not really. I do love cheese <- hello I’m a WISCONSIN girl at heart – when I tested these pineapple turkey burgers with cheese I found it kind of got lost in all the pineapple and teriyaki sauce and then when I tried them without it I didn’t really miss it. Cheese YOU OUT!
The final trick to making these pineapple turkey burgers healthier is to make your own teriyaki sauce. YES, it can be done, and it’s way easier than you think. I honestly don’t know if there is a calorie difference in a store bought teriyaki sauce or a homemade version but we can control the ingredients that go in it and to me that is a plus. All that’s in teriyaki sauce is is soy sauce (again, use tamari for GF), water, honey and corn starch that’s simmered down until it’s thick and sticky (5 minutes). Of course I had to add a spin on it so I added crushed pineapple and ginger to go with the flavors of the burger.
Paul said he doesn’t usually like teriayki sauce but he likes my version. I win again!
Are you worried that these pineapple turkey burgers are going to be dry and flavorless? Seriously don’t be! The key to a flavorful and juicy turkey burger is to add in a few things to the ground turkey to keep it from drying out. Aside from the oats I threw in crushed pineapple, soy sauce (tamari if gluten free), crushed garlic, and ginger. So many delicious flavors that pair beautifully with that pineapple and homemade teriyaki sauce!
The second trick to juicy turkey burgers is to use a meat thermometer and pull them off when they reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit, let them rest for 5 minutes and they will reach that 165 degree temperature which is perfection for poultry! If you leave the turkey patties on any longer that is how they will dry out and become tough. Paul agreed that he doesn’t miss the beef patties at all with these turkey burgers (<- guys, he is my number one fan! But I swear he tells the truth).
I know you will love these pineapple turkey burgers with homemade teriyaki sauce. They are flavorful, juicy and topped with sweet pineapple and sticky teriyaki sauce, red onions and tender lettuce – turkey burger perfection for your August grilling frenzy.
Come on, you know you want to take a bite of that delicious looking pineapple turkey burger with that teriayki sauce dripping down the side! 😉
- Teriyaki Sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free or coconut aminos if avoiding soy)
- ½ cup filtered water
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons honey
- ¼ cup crushed pineapple plus juice*
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger (for this recipe I like to use ginger paste to keep things simple)
- 1 tablespoon corn starch + 1 tablespoon filtered water
- Turkey Burger Patties
- 1½ pounds ground turkey (I use 85% lean and 15% fat but any combo will work. You can also sub ground chicken or even ground beef)
- ¼ cup + 2 tablespoons gluten free oats, crushed (just use hands to break them up into smaller pieces)
- 1 tablespoon crushed pineapple
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce (use tamari for gluten free or coconut aminos for soy free)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- For Burgers
- Buns, sliced in half (use gluten free if avoiding gluten)**
- 2 tablespoons grape seed oil, divided
- 4 to 8 Pineapple slices***
- Mayonnaise (optional)
- butter lettuce leaves
- red onion, sliced
- Make the teriyaki sauce: Add all ingredients EXCEPT cornstarch to a small sauce pot. Whisk together, bring to a boil and reduce to a gentle boil. Allow to boil for 5 minutes, whisking frequently. The sauce should have reduced by half and thickened slightly, reduce the heat to a simmer. In a small bowl whisk together the corn starch and the tablespoon of water until smooth. Whisk the corn starch slurry into the teriyaki sauce. Allow to simmer for 1 more minute, it should be really thick by now. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool.
- Make the Turkey burger patties: Add all of the ingredients for the turkey burgers to a large mixing bowl. Gently mix together with your hands or a spatula. Form the patties into disks that are about ¼ of an inch larger than the buns your are using. Use your thumb to press an indentation in the center of each pattie to prevent them from bulging in the center when cooking. You should have 4 patties. Cover with foil and place int he fridge.
- Prepare ingredients for your burgers Heat your indoor or outdoor grill or even a large nonstick skillet to medium high heat. Place the sliced buns on the heat source face down without any oil. Toast for about 5 minutes. You want to get the buns toasted so they don't fall apart with all the teriyaki sauce. Once you pull the buns off the heat brush your grill with 1 tablespoon oil. Place the pineapple slices on the grill and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until they are nice and warm. Remove them and cover with foil to keep warm. While the buns and pineapple are cooking slice your onion and get your butter lettuce leaves ready.
- Cook the turkey burgers: On the same grill or skillet that you cooked the pineapple brush it with the remaining oil and place your burgers on the grill. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes or until your see the sides of the burger begin to cook half way up the patty. Flip and cook another 3 to 6 minutes or until the internal temp reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the burgers and allow them to rest for 5 minutes.
- Assemble the burgers: On each half of your bun spread some mayonnaise. Top the bottom half with a piece of butter lettuce followed by a burger patty, followed by a few onion slices and 1 or 2 pineapple slices. Drizzle the teriyaki sauce over the burger. Place the top bun on top. Devour immediately.
**For gluten free buns I do not have a brand to recommend. I tried Udi's gluten free buns and wouldn't recommend them for this recipe. Because of the teriyaki sauce you need a bun that is hearty and Udi's disintegrated immediately. Look for a hearty bun. Please share in the comments below if you have any brand suggestions, it would really help people out when making the recipe! 🙂
***For the pineapple slices sometimes you can find pineapple at your grocery store that the skin has been removed and cored. You can use that and slice the pineapple into thick rounds yourself. If you can't find fresh pineapple that way then you can buy pineapple slices canned. Look for pineapple stored in pineapple juice, no sugar. I found I preferred the fresh pineapple for more flavor but the canned pineapple was easier to grill and to work with than the fresh. Either way they are both tasty.
You can make the teriyaki sauce several days in advance. You can also form the patties up to 3 to 4 hours in advance - cover and store in the fridge.
Teriyaki sauceis adapted from: The Adventure Bite