Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger

Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger

Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger

Peter Muller

My Story

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)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Baby greens
  • 8 toasted brioche Buns

Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger Instructions

For Turkey Burgers:

  1. Debone the meat from both the thighs and drums. Be careful to remove all tendons from the drums.
  2. 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.
  3. Once grind is complete, place meat in the fridge to chill before forming 8 equal-sized patties.

For Crabs:

  1. Combine water and vinegar in bottom of a steamer pot and place live crabs in the pot over medium high heat.
  2. Season crabs with Old Bay and steam for at least 10 mins, making sure the shells turn reddish orange.
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Also place brioche buns on the grill to toast.
  4. Once crab meat and sauce are warmed, remove the burgers and buns from the grill and assemble.
  5. Place a small amount of the cheese topping under the patty and then top with light mixed baby greens.
  6. Serve with a side of seasoned fries.


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