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Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger

Backfin and Wild Turkey Burger

A fresh, hot crabcake with tomato and lettuce between two brioche buns. Fresh fries and dipping sauce are in the background.

This clever combination of turkey and blue crab makes a memorable surf-and-turf 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

Peter Muller
A clever combination of turkey and blue crab makes this a memorable surf and turf burger
No ratings yet
Prep Time 1 hr
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 971 kcal


  • Meat grinder


  • Legs from one wild turkey thighs and drums
  • 8 live blue crabs
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Baby greens
  • 8 brioche buns toasted


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.

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.

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.
  • 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.


This recipe is full of flavor, so it’s best not to top with ketchup or other condiments!


Calories: 971kcalCarbohydrates: 40gProtein: 57gFat: 63gSaturated Fat: 24gPolyunsaturated Fat: 16gMonounsaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 335mgSodium: 1354mgPotassium: 632mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 1199IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 215mgIron: 4mg
Keyword crab, Turkey
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