Jordan Luxa

Jordan Luxa

With Memorial Day Weekend approaching and summer just around the corner, it makes sense that the month of May is home to National Hamburger Month and May 28 is National Burger Day.

If you ask me, there is nothing better than a juicy burger right off the grill.

The great thing about burgers is that there are no rules when it comes to building a burger. There are never-ending combinations of proteins, topping and even breads that you can use to create your favorite burger.

My personal favorite is a beef patty stuffed with jalapenos and cheddar cheese then topped with pepper jack cheese, ketchup, mustard and dill pickles. Serve that up on a grilled sesame bun and I’m one happy camper.

Now, some people prefer turkey burgers and I have to admit I never saw the appeal. That is until I actually tried one!

Not only are turkey burgers delicious, but also an excellent source of high quality protein. Of course, beef is a great source of protein as well but keep in mind that most burgers are not made with lean ground beef. Since ground turkey is lean it contains less fat making it a healthy alternative for grilling.

My favorite combination for turkey burgers? Top it with grilled onions, jalapenos, cheddar cheese, sliced tomato, and spinach all stuck between two slices of toasted whole wheat bread.

Whether you prefer beef or turkey burgers, or maybe even chicken burgers, it’s important to follow food safety recommendations when it comes to grilling.

Grilling outside in warm weather increases the rate at which bacteria can grow and in turn increases your risk for developing a foodborne illness. Follow these tips to keep your friends and family healthy this grilling season:

• Clean. Wash your hands for 20 seconds using warm soapy water before and after handling raw meat, poultry or seafood. It’s also important to wash all utensils and cutting boards.

• Separate. Always keep prepared, ready-to-eat foods separate from raw meat. Use separate cutting boards; have one cutting board designated for raw meats and one cutting board for fresh produce. Additionally, do not reuse utensils or plates that previously handled raw meat. If you used one plate to bring raw hamburgers out to the grill, have a new clean plate ready for serving.

If you choose to marinade your raw meat, do not reuse the marinade, throw it out.

• Cook. Use a thermometer to ensure your food is cooked thoroughly. Ground beef or hamburgers should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees; chicken 165 degrees; steaks, pork chops, and fish 145 degrees.

• Refrigerate. If you’re eating outside make sure that perishables, such as potato salad, are kept below 40 degrees at all times. Otherwise, food needs to be stored in the fridge or freezer within two hours of cooking or one hour if it is 90 degrees or warmer outside.

As you decide what type of burgers you plan to celebrate National Hamburger Month with, keep in mind these grilling tips and enjoy! And, if you’re looking to join the turkey burger club, try this recipe.

The Juiciest Turkey Burgers

INGREDIENTS

1 lb lean ground turkey 93/7

1 large egg

salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning

1 tablespoon cold milk

2 tablespoons cold butter

4 slices American cheese

4 soft sesame burger buns

Other toppings: pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, etc as desired

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Place turkey into a large bowl with egg, salt, pepper, parsley, poultry seasoning and milk. Stir to combine. {Mixture may seem a little wet, but once it starts cooking, the egg will help hold it's shape together.}

2. Divide meat into 4 even patties. Cut butter into skinny half tablespoon pats. Press butter into the center of each patty forming the meat around it.

3. Spray grill/griddle with nonstick cooking spray and place each burger down. Cook about 4 minutes per side or until browned and completely cooked. Melt cheese on top of each burger.

4. Remove burgers and place onto buns. Top with any desired toppings and condiments and enjoy.

*Recipe adapted from laurenslatest.com

Jordan Luxa is a Food, Nutrition and Health educator for Nebraska Extension in Washington County. She can be contacted at 402-426-9455, jordan.luxa@unl.edu, or visit the Washington County Extension website at www.washington.unl.edu

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