Meet the Ultimate Turkey Burger!

In case you haven't noticed, we're going through a burger phase here at YumSugar. For the first 28 years of my life, I was a hot dog girl, but then I got a meat grinder, and all I can think about are burgers! After tackling beef and salmon, I decided it was time to find a great turkey burger recipe. While there's tons of variations out there, there's only one turkey burger that's good enough to serve the First Lady. I'm talking about Spike Mendelsohn's Michelle Melt. The Top Chef favorite created this burger at his Good Stuff Eatery in Washington DC in honor of Mrs. Obama. The patty is a mixture of sautéed celery, apple, and onion. Mango chutney and chipotle chiles in adobe make it sweet and spicy. The condiments are classic — lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese, and herb mayo — but the resulting burger is far from ordinary. It's juicy and packed with flavor without being overly healthy. In a word this burger is exquisite. You'll love it. Here's Spike's recipe.

Michelle's Melt

Michelle's Melt


  1. Southlawn Herb Garden Mayo
  2. 2 large eggs
  3. 4 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  4. 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  5. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  6. 2 cups grapeseed oil
  7. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  8. 1/2 lemon, zested
  9. 1 tablespoon of chopped thyme
  10. pinch of salt and pepper
  11. Turkey Mix
  12. 2 tablespoons butter
  13. 1 cup diced celery
  14. 1 cup diced scallions
  15. 2 green apples, cored and diced
  16. 1/2 cup canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  17. 1 cup store-bought mango chutney
  18. 30 ounces ground turkey
  19. 1/2 cup grated lemon zest
  20. 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  21. 1/4 cup fresh chives
  22. 1/4 cup fresh parsley
  23. 1 teaspoon sea salt
  24. 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  25. Multigrain potato buns, cut in half
  26. Canola oil
  27. 6 leaves iceberg lettuce
  28. 6 ruby-red tomato slices
  29. 2 cups thinly sliced Spanish onions
  30. 6 slices Swiss cheese


  1. Make the mayonnaise: Add the eggs, mustard, vinegar, and salt to a food processor blender or blender food processor. Process for 30 seconds in the food processor or 10 seconds in the blender. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil slowly at first, then after a few seconds add the oil in a thin, steady stream until all the oil is added and the mixture is smooth. Stop the motor and taste. If the sauce is too thick, thin it with a little hot water. If too thin, process a little longer. The mayonnaise can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
  2. Add lemon, thyme, salt and pepper.
  3. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the celery, scallions, and apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. Add the chipotles and 1/2 tablespoon of adobo sauce from the can and the chutney to a blender. Puree until smooth. Transfer to a bowl.
  5. Add the celery mixture and stir until well combined.
  6. Add the turkey, lemon zest, lemon juice, chives, parsley, salt, and pepper and stir until well combined.
  7. To make the patties, roll six 5-ounce turkey balls and form each ball into a patty. Arrange on a tray, cover, and refrigerate.
  8. Butter bread on both sides. Lay on flat top for 1 minute on each side. Set aside.
  9. To make caramelized onions, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onions -- don't worry if they're piled high; they will cook down. Turn with a spatula so all the onions are evenly coated in oil. Continue to cook, turn the onions every 8 minutes, until the slices have turned a dark, rich brown color, about 25 minutes. If the onions begin to burn, reduce the heat to medium-low and add more oil. Remove the onions and place them in a bowl.
  10. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add enough just oil to cover the entire bottom. After 2 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and place the patties into the skillet. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes. Flip, and cook on the other side for 1 minute.
  11. Place 1 slice cheese on each patty and continue cooking 2 minutes more for medium-rare. Cover with a lid for the last 30 seconds to melt the cheese.
  12. To assemble the burgers, place 1 patty on a toasted bun bottom. Top the patty with a tablespoon of caramelized onions, 1 lettuce leaf, 1 tomato slice, 1 onion slice, and a spoonful of the Southlawn Herb Garden Mayo. Cover with the bun top. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.
  13. Wrap the sandwiches in wax paper. Place burger in the middle of wax paper. Pull one corner over then pull in right side corner and left side corner. Finish by pulling the remaining corner over top. Let rest 2 to 3 minutes and serve.

Makes 6 burgers.

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