Testing a Weston Game Grinder, Plus a Recipe for Wild Turkey Fajita Burgers

In last week’s post I convinced you to keep all your wild turkey legs. I also promised to share a … Continued

In last week’s post I convinced you to keep all your wild turkey legs. I also promised to share a recipe this week to help you make those legs into tasty burgers. It took every ounce of my self-control to stop turkey hunting and sit down at a computer long enough to fulfill that promise, but here goes.

grinder

First Look: Weston #8 Meat Grinder and Sausage Stuffer

First, I’d like to mention that this turkey burger experiment allowed me to test my new Weston #8 electric meat grinder for the first time. I’ve been using a KitchenAid with a grinder attachment to grind most of my game for the past couple of years, and it has done the trick. But when I fired up this new Weston unit with its 650 watts of meat-grinding mechanics, it was like putting the pedal to the metal.

Unlike the KitchenAid, this Weston didn’t hiccup at all when I was force-feeding it with lean chunks of wild turkey leg meat. It’s supposed to grind 3-4 pounds of meat per minute, and I ran a pound through it in about 20 seconds or less. It’s co-branded with “Realtree Outfitters” (cool if you’re into the all-camo lifestyle sort of thing), but everything except the Realtree label and the Realtree Xtra storage cover is 100-percent Weston—a name synonymous with high quality when it comes to meat processing. So far, after my initial trial with this grinder, Weston lives up to its name. I look forward to testing the sausage-stuffer attachment when turkey season winds down (sigh).

burger

Recipe: Wild Turkey Fajita Burgers
Anybody can patty a burger and grill it, but where’s the fun in that? If you’re a fan of fajitas, and if you’re not afraid to get a little loco with your turkey burgers, try this wild recipe with a Mexican twist.

Burger Patty Ingredients (serves 3)
1 pound ground wild turkey leg meat
1/2 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried, chopped oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

Fixins and Whatnot
1 sliced red bell pepper
1 sliced green bell pepper
1/2 small sliced red onion
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or any coarse-ground salt)
1 small block of pepper jack cheese
3 hamburger buns
1 cup olive oil
1 jar of your favorite salsa

Homemade Creamy Guacamole
2 avocados
1/2 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or any coarse-ground salt)
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/4 cup fresh minced cilantro

Evenly mix all ingredients in a bowl until you achieve a creamy texture. Keep the avocado pits in the bowl with the guac if you plan to store it in the fridge—it’ll last longer (I learned that trick while turkey hunting in Mexico).

Putting It All Together
Fire up your grill. Temperature and timing are a matter of preference, as is the style of grill. You’d be hard pressed to beat the flavor and convenience offered by a Camp Chef Pellet Grill, but a trusty Weber with natural hardwood lump charcoal will do the trick. If you’re in a hurry, cheating with a gas grill will suffice.

Heat olive oil in a cast-iron skillet to medium-high, then begin sautéing sliced bell peppers and onion with salt.

You’ve already let the ground meat mingle with the spices overnight in the fridge. While the grill is heating up, hand-patty the burgers. (You’ll typically get a pound, or slightly more, of ground meat from the legs of a single gobbler or jake.) Toss the burgers on the grill and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, or until they’re done to your liking (don’t overcook!). You’ll only need to flip them once, at which point you’ll want to smother them with the sautéed pepper/onion mix and a thick layer of pepper jack cheese. While the burgers are cooking, oil the hamburger buns and put them face down on the grill for the final 10 seconds as the cheese begins to melt.

Plate the burgers on their buns. Scoop a liberal dollop of your homemade guacamole and your favorite salsa onto each burger. Sprinkle the whole plate with minced cilantro to make it look fancy. Eat. Kill more turkeys. Repeat.