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Grilled Chipotle Turkey Burgers

August 11, 2013
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Grilled Chipotle Turkey Burgers with Chiles in Adobo and Caramelized Onions

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

Turkey burgers don't have the greatest reputation. They aren't loaded with flavor and they are generally viewed as a healthy alternative to the regular burger. Healthy usually makes us think: nasty. Well I was thinking of ways to make the turkey burger a bit better. The main ingredient that comes to my mind when thinking of amazing flavor is chilis in adobo puree. If you haven't tried this before I strongly suggest it. Chilis in adobo, or chipotles in adobo sauce, is basically smoked jalapeno peppers in an amazing tomato vinegar sauce. It is sold in the ethnic section of most grocery stores and is easily found in Mexican grocery stores. The can comes with whole chipotle peppers and a rich red sauce. All you have to do is toss the contents in a food processor and you're good to go. I reasoned that this strong smoky spicy flavor would be just perfect to upgrade the turkey burger. To add a bit of sweet flavor and consistency this recipe also has diced caramelized onions in the ground turkey mix. This is a winner!

As I mentioned above, to make chilis in adobo puree you just have to crack open the can of chipotles in adobo sauce and put it in the food processor. After a few seconds you'll have a deep rich magical sauce.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

Take one medium sized sweet onion and dice it. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the onions. Slowly saute the onions stirring about every 5 minutes. The goal here is to caramelize the onions. This gives them a nice brownish color and a bit more sweetness. This should take about 30-45 minutes.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

After the chipotle pepper puree is finished and the onions are nicely caramelized, add 2 heaping tablespoons of chipotle puree and all of the caramelized onions to about 1 pound of ground turkey. Mix it up well.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

With 1 pound of ground turkey you should be able to make 3 big burgers. These are a little wet so be careful. Add salt and a generous amount of pepper to both sides of the burger.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

Prepare your grill for medium high heat. You should be able to hold your hand about 1 inch over the grates for 4-5 seconds. When the grill is ready carefully place your burgers over direct heat and close the lid. Don't even think about opening that grill for at least 5 minutes. If you open it up earlier and try to tinker your burgers will stick. Let the burger char a bit and then you'll have no issues with sticking.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

After 5 minutes flip the burgers over and let them grill for another 5 minutes with the grill lid down. At this time take a digital thermometer (Thermapen) and insert it in the center of the burger. When the burger is about 165 degrees add a nice thick slice of pepper jack cheese to the top. Let the burgers grill over direct heat for another 3-5 minutes to melt the cheese. Notice I said keep grilling these over direct heat. That's because I think these burgers taste a little better when they hit the 170 internal temperature range. Keeping them over direct heat helps the burger continue to cook a bit quicker.

Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo
Grilled Turkey Burgers with spicy chiles in adobo

I served these burgers next to a side of shoestring fries. These were some really nice turkey burgers. Mrs. Grilling24x7 was a happy lady. There was a good bit of heat from the chipotles in adobo sauce and the caramelized onions provided a nice sweet flavor and consistency. The pepper jack cheese also added some nice spicy flavor. Now if you were going to ask me whether I like these better than a big juicy cheeseburger with steak sauce on top I'd have to say "NO WAY!" However, there is a time a place for turkey burgers and if I had to serve a guest a turkey burger this recipe would be it. It's really tasty for a light turkey burger.

Grilled Chipotle Turkey Burgers

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Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


  • • 1 Medium Sized Sweet Onion
  • • 1 lb Ground Turkey
  • • 1 Can Chipotles in Adobo Sauce
  • • 3 Slices of Pepper Jack Cheese
  • • 3 Burger rolls


  • Puree the contents of the chiles in adobo can.
  • Dice sweet onion and add to a medium heat frying pan with olive oil. Sauté for about 30-45 minutes until the onions are dark in color.
  • Add 2 T of chiles in adobo puree and all of the diced onions to 1 lb of ground turkey.
  • Form 3 burgers.
  • Grill burgers over medium high direct heat for 5 minutes per side. Do not flip the burgers prior to 5 minutes or they will stick.
  • After 10 minutes of total grilling add a slice of cheese and grill for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove turkey burgers from the grill and top burger with any toppings you like. Enjoy.

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