Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger
This recipe was brought together over the course of more than 30 years by combining a past and present that few would rarely put together.
Though I grew up in a family that enjoyed an outdoor lifestyle, hunting wasn’t a huge part of it. We chased the occasional squirrel or rabbit, but we spent more time fishing. I also have numerous fond memories of my siblings, dad, and I crabbing together in the brackish waters leading into the Chesapeake Bay. Now a grown man, I have become addicted to hunting, and I have found a particular love for chasing gobblers in the spring.
When spring turkey concluded this year, I somewhat returned to my roots and began day trips to the coast to load up on blue crabs. I hit the water in a kayak just after daybreak and regularly catch a dozen or so monster blue crabs using nothing but hand lines and chicken backs or wings.
Just a few weeks back, after my dad and I spent a day catching blue crabs on the coast of South Carolina, and catching nearly 30 crabs, I dug out some wild turkey legs from the freezer and created this awesome burger. I cannot recall ever seeing anything like it, but it was a delight to share with my parents.
The flavor of turkey leg meat paired with the sweetness of lump backfin meat truly makes for a mouthwatering burger. Topping the burger with a homemade sauce that is reminiscent of crab dip only elevates the burger to another level.
Want to make this burger for yourself? Serving up the burger is the easy part; bagging a wild turkey and blue crabs is the tougher portion!
Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger Ingredients
- Legs from one wild turkey (thighs and drums)
- 8 live blue crabs
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 8 oz cream cheese
- 1 cup mayo
- ½ cup Parmesan Cheese
- Old Bay Seasoning to taste (approx. 2 tsp)
- Baby greens
- 8 toasted brioche Buns
Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger Instructions
For Turkey Burgers:
- Debone the meat from both the thighs and drums. Be careful to remove all tendons from the drums.
- Cube meat and place in freezer before the first grind. Once meat is somewhat solid, run through the grinder on a medium grind. If meat is still sufficiently chilled after first run, grind a second time for best consistency. Chilling metal components of the grinder before use will aide in the process.
- Once grind is complete, place meat in the fridge to chill before forming 8 equal-sized patties.
- Combine water and vinegar in bottom of a steamer pot and place live crabs in the pot over medium high heat.
- Season crabs with Old Bay and steam for at least 10 mins, making sure the shells turn reddish orange.
- Chill crabs before picking meat. Thoroughly pick crabs, separating lump backfin meat from crab meat that comes from claws and other chambers of the body.
- Lump backfin will be used for the burger topping and other crab meat can be used later for crab cakes, crab dip, etc.
For Cheese Topping:
- Mix cream cheese, mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and season to taste with Old Bay. The Old Bay should not be overpowering, but reminiscent of crab dip.
For Cooking and Assembling:
- First, salt and pepper wild turkey patties, and then place on Traeger or grill on high heat. Once patties begin to sweat, give them their first and only turn.
- Again, wait for the burgers to begin to sweat, and once liquid runs clear, turn down heat and load the burger with a healthy portion of both cheese topping and lump crab meat.
- Also place brioche buns on the grill to toast.
- Once crab meat and sauce are warmed, remove the burgers and buns from the grill and assemble.
- Place a small amount of the cheese topping under the patty and then top with light mixed baby greens.
- Serve with a side of seasoned fries.
Peter’s Suggestion: DO NOT TOP WITH KETCHUP OR OTHER CONDIMENTS