Is turkey or chicken a better sub for beef burgers? Dark or white?



Monita April 17, 2013
Thanks everyone for both the recipe ideas and the health info.
fuhsi April 17, 2013
I like several of the above suggestions: yes, reduce quantity or amount while looking for the option that most satisfies- currently testing some exotic stuff available locally (all ground elk, wild boar, ostrich- and ground you can have less, plus portobello's to "trick" your palate and get that texture, too).
For sure only grass-fed and think of it as medicinal.
And oh- agreed! Love Union Square Cafe's tuna burger, but getting new info on fish that very regretfully trumps having it once or twice a week...
alygator April 16, 2013
I made really great ground chicken burgers (white meat) by adding diced apples, celery and onion that had been sauteed in butter and white wine. I also mixed in some fresh parsley, a mixture dried of spices and a little olive oil. I was really pleased with the results! (I may try adding fennel seed dust next time tough!)
susanm April 16, 2013
I made a delicious white meat turkey burger the other night: to 1lb of ground white meat I added: 1 large yellow pepper (finely diced), 2 stalks of celery (finely diced), salt, pepper, celery seed and toasted fennel seed dust. Pan sauteed in 2 turns of olive oil. Satisfying and delicious! My BF ate two.
jsdunbar April 16, 2013
Consider grilled oiled portobello mushroom caps instead of burgers. Even for meat lovers they are surprisingly good - they have the umami flavour of meat that is so satisfying.
amysarah April 15, 2013
My goodness.

To answer your question - I'd use dark meat, if that works for you, as it's more flavorful. Union Square Cafe (in NYC) makes a great burger of fresh tuna - I've used the basic recipe with ground turkey and it works well (though obviously you need to cook it thoroughly: rare tuna is a good thing, rare turkey not so much ;) Gives the turkey, which can be a bit bland, a big boost w/o adding any fat:
ChefOno April 15, 2013

If I wanted to cut my intake of red meat, I'd eat one hamburger a week instead of two and substitute a tuna salad sandwich because I hate fake hamburgers. But maybe that's just me.

The answer to your question could depend upon your doctor's concerns and his working theory, if he's thinking about dietary cholesterol, myoglobin intake, saturated fats, trans-fats, carcinogens from cooking, heme iron, inflammation factors or some other issue. For a few it could really be as simple as beef vs. poultry in which case I'd say dark meat turkey because I eat lots of chicken already and dark meat has a deeper, richer flavor and a higher fat content than white. From a culinary standpoint, fat content is important for flavor on several levels and for perceived moisture. Medically it may be a different story. There's more than a three-fold difference in fat content between light meat turkey and dark meat chicken for example.

The phrase "love hamburgers" compels me to continue.

Dr. John Ioannidis, director of Stanford University's Prevention Research Center and well respected expert on the credibility of medical studies says much of the information doctors rely on is misleading, exaggerated and often just plain wrong. The article “Why Most Published Research Findings are False” is the most-downloaded article in the history of Public Library of Science:

The piece is aimed at researchers and maybe a little too dry (not unlike a turkey burger). This article in The Atlantic is more digestible:

Monita April 15, 2013
Looking to substitute cause doctor advised reducing red meat and love hamburgers
pierino April 15, 2013
I think I would go with dark meat chicken, and you also get the "schmaltz". But I also concur with ChefOno's knee jerk. Does this constitute "repurposing" chicken?
ChefOno April 15, 2013

My knee-jerk answer is "neither" but I'm sure that's not the answer you're looking for. What's your motivation for contemplating a substitution -- taste, calories, fat type / content, economics, supply issue, ecological, moral, medical or religious?


Voted the Best Reply!

ChefJune April 15, 2013
I don't consider a turkey burger a "sub" for a beef burger, and I don't try to make it taste like one. We prefer dark meat for its flavor and moisture, but I season my turkey burgers with fines herbes and shallots. And I hold them together with egg white. Totally unlike a beeg burger.
aargersi April 15, 2013
I agree! I also add olive oil to the mix for a bit of good fat.
savorthis April 15, 2013
I think either is good as long as you have a good amount of fat content to avoid them drying out. I would do a mix of dark and white meat in addition to some good seasonings. I often saute onions and other shredded vegetables and fold them into burgers.
Recommended by Food52