The Eclectic Organic Amalgamated Asiatic Austin Earl Grey Turkey Burger
Austin is an eclectic city, full of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts, home to the largest organic food chain in the country and a diverse population of ethnicities. I live in the part of town having the largest Asian population. This burger combines the intense competition of bold ingredients in an Asian inspired sauce with the gentle, natural pairings of a farm fresh garden. Hill Country peach wood adds a sweet smoky contrast to the mix.
All Organic Ingredients
2 Earl Grey tea bags
1/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup Pineapple preserves
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
10 sprigs of fresh thyme (about 4″ each)
2 pounds ground turkey
1-1/2 Tbsp salt
1 tsp ground ginger
freshly grated pepper
Peach wood for extra heat and a smoky flavor
Bun and Toppings:
6 Onion Rolls
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
5 oz. baby spinach leaves, pre-washed
6 thin red onion slices
3 oz. shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese
Prepare a -hot fire in a charcoal grill. You may need some extra coals to make a really hot section for the dip – easier to accomplish on a gas grill, but not as much fun. When the coals are still red hot, pile them on the grill.
Start with the sauce – in a cast iron or aluminum sauce pan over the hottest coals, heat 1 ½ cups of water to very hot (not boiling) and steep the Earl Grey tea bags for 6 minutes. Remove the tea bags (put them in your compost), add the soy sauce, pineapple preserves, Tabasco sauce and thyme to the hot tea and gently stir to combine the liquids. Let this reduce on the grill, eventually to a syrupy texture, while you prepare and cook everything else.
To make the patties, form the ground turkey into six patties, each slightly larger than the diameter of your rolls. Combine the salt and the ginger in a small bowl. Sprinkle both sides of the patties with the salt/ginger mixture, then pepper to taste.
Spread the coals out now with ample coals still under the saucepan. Brush the grill rack with olive oil. Put a nice chunk of peach wood ( about 2″ diameter) under the saucepan to stoke the fire. As the wood burns, it will add a nice smoky flavor to the burgers and rolls. Place the patties on the rack, over hot coals, turning once until done, about 5 minutes on each side. While the patties are grilling, brush the cut side of the rolls with Extra Virgin Olive Oil and place the rolls cut side down on the grill, toasting them to a crispy golden brown, rotating often.
While the patties are grilling, organize your spinach leaves (about 10 per burger), thinly slice the red onion (1 whole slice per burger) and shave the Pecorino-Romano cheese (enough to cover each burger). Keep the cheese cool, you don’t want it to melt. When you get to the assembly part, you’ll want to work fast, so have everything ready to go.
After the turkey patties are finished cooking, it’s time to assemble the burgers. Remove the sauce from the grill. Remove the thyme sprigs from the sauce (put them in your compost). Dip the cut side of the tops of each roll into the sauce and let it soak up the liquid for 5 seconds. Evenly divide the remaining sauce onto the bottom cut sides of each roll (there shouldn’t be much liquid left at this point). Place the onion slice on the bottom half of the roll, add the turkey patty, top with a small handful of baby spinach leaves and finally a generous portion of shaved Pecorino-Romano cheese. The cheese should not touch the burger, you don’t want it to melt. Top it with the top half of the bun and serve with a big absorbent organic cotton cloth napkin.