The Pennsylvania Perfect “Pearing” (P3) Turkey Burger

Pairs well with:


Bright and full-bodied, this Zinfandel wine is a curious contradiction in tastes.

The Pennsylvania Perfect “Pearing” (P3) Turkey Burger is a pairing of some of the best ingredients from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The P3 turkey burger reflects the tastes I remember as a child growing up in the Keystone State and as a student at the Pennsylvania State University. The P3 turkey burger captures the tastes that represent the history and geography of this great state. I included ingredients originating in Pennsylvania that reflect a grown-up palette, yet this burger contains ingredients that are readily available across America.

The “keystone” ingredient is ground turkey. However, the P3 recipe also highlights Barlett pears, which were named after the French Huguenot family Bertolette, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1683, and are still harvested in Pennsylvania. This Pennsylvania based recipe would not be complete without Hershey’s chocolate from Hershey, PA and Heinz ketchup from Pittsburgh, PA. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup was developed by a graduate of Penn State and is usually thought of as an ice cream topping. Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup is an unexpected compliment to the pears as an ingredient in a marinade and with the ground turkey in the burger. The green onions in the P3 turkey burger and green leaf lettuce served with this burger remind me of my grandparents’ garden. The Worcestershire sauce is my mom’s “secret” ingredient in many recipes. Typically thought of a southern product, the Pecan nut also flourishes in the southern portion of Pennsylvania. The P3 turkey burger is topped with cheddar cheese, an Amish-made delight. The burger is sandwiched between a famous Martin’s potato sandwich roll made from a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. Other ingredients I selected round out the layers of flavor that appeal to all in a healthy alternative burger. A finishing touch is the Herlocher’s Penn State dipping mustard, which adds a zing to any dish from pretzels, cheese, and especially the P3 turkey burger.

I have perfectly “peared” some of Pennsylvania’s finest ingredients so the entire country can experience the great tastes the Keystone State has to offer. I hope you find my P3 turkey burger creation both delectable and reminiscent of Pennsylvania’s tastes and traditions.


Pear Marinade/Burger Brush
2 medium Bartlett pears, washed. Slice the pears to get six 1/3-inch slices, ensure that there are no seeds in the slices and stem pieces are removed. Finely chop remaining pear pieces and reserve.
1/3 cup cabernet sauvignon wine
1/2 cup Hershey’s syrup, halved
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1 1/3 lbs ground turkey
1/3 cup candied pecans, finely chopped
2 Tablespoon McCormick’s grill seasoning
2 Tablespoon Hershey’s cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon cabernet sauvignon wine
2 Tablespoon Heinz ketchup
1/4 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 green onions (scallions) finely chopped, white and green parts
1 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
Reserved pear, finely chopped from marinade step
2-3 cup Panko bread crumbs

Toppings and Bun
1/4 stick of butter, softened
6 thick slices of sharp cheddar cheese
6 Martin’s Famous Pennsylvania Dutch Potato Hamburger Rolls
Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard (Penn State or regular)
6 green lettuce leaves, washed and dried


Pear Marinade/Burger Brush
In a shallow dish or a 9″ pie plate, combine 1/3 cup cabernet sauvignon wine, 1/4 cup Hershey’s chocolate syrup, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Mix to combine. Add the six pear slices to the marinade. Turn occasionally during burger preparation step below. When the pears are removed, reserve marinade to brush burgers with later during cooking.

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, except the Panko bread crumbs, and mix well with a spoon. Add 1 cup of the Panko bread crumbs and mix well. Continue to add remaining Panko bread crumbs and mix well until the ground turkey mixture is of a dense consistency and easily forms into shapes. Make 12 turkey burger patties and set aside on a plate.

Turn on gas grill to high.

Remove one pear slice from the marinade and place on top of one turkey burger patty. Place another turkey burger patty on top of the pear. Form the turkey burger around the pear slice so it is completely enclosed. Repeat until you have six pear-stuffed turkey burgers.

Turn down gas grill to medium. Oil the cooking grate lightly with olive oil. Place turkey burgers on a medium hot grill. Cook burgers 5-7 minutes each side until meat is white, with clear juice, and it is cooked through. Baste burgers with reserved marinade/burger brush as they cook. While the burgers are cooking, butter the tops and bottoms of six Martin’s famous potato rolls and place on top rack of grill to toast. When burgers are nearly done, place a slice of cheddar cheese on each burger to melt. Turn off grill and gas. Remove burgers when cheese is melted and remove rolls when lightly toasted. Let the burgers rest for 5 minutes.

To assemble the burgers place a leaf of green lettuce on the bottom half of the toasted potato roll, add burger. On the top side of the potato roll, spread a generous amount (1-2 teaspoons) of Herlocher’s Dipping Mustard. Place top of potato roll on the Pennsylvania Perfect “Pearing” (P3) Turkey Burger. Repeat five more times.