Memphis-Style Barbecue Turkey Burgers

We’ve been on a grilling kick recently, and this weekend was no different. But instead of just making some regular turkey burgers, I decided to spice our burgers up a bit last night.

I’m a Memphis girl, and barbecue is one of my favorite foods. Where I come from, pork is king, and we don’t “do” beef barbecue. That just goes against what Memphis barbecue stands for. (No offense, Texas friends.)

While I’ve never made my own barbecue before because it was readily available for me to pick up when we lived in Tennessee, I’m getting close to the point of needing to give it a shot. But despite the fact that I’ve never made my own, I have a mini barbecue spice and sauce arsenal at our home. My husband can attest to the fact that we have a variety of different barbecue sauces – all from Memphis barbecue joints, mind you – and a variety of different Memphis-style barbecue rubs. The one thing they have in common? They are all delicious and remind me of home.

So, with this in mind and experiencing a mini-barbecue craving, I whipped up this recipe. Although this breaks the whole Memphis ‘pork is king’ mindset, the turkey held up well to the taste and satisfied my barbecue craving.

(No, I don’t have preparation shots because, let’s be honest, who wants to see lots of raw meat? Not this girl.)

You start off with a pound of lean ground turkey in a clean glass bowl. Throw in bread crumbs, finely minced onion, barbecue sauce and spices. Mix these together with your hands (or with a spoon, I suppose) until all the ingredients are incorporated into the meat.

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    Form the meat into four burgers, and cook these on the grill until they are cooked completely through.

    Serve on a bun with fresh spinach and honey mustard sauce. I know, it sounds so strange, but it is SO DELICIOUS. Trust, friends.

    Memphis-Style Barbecue Turkey Burgers // The Speckled Palate

    A BBQ turkey burger on a white plate
    Yield: 4 burgers

    Memphis-Style Barbecue Turkey Burgers

    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes

    Barbecue and turkey? Why not!? Memphis-Style Barbecue Turkey Burgers are a leaner entree option than pulled pork or Texas-style brisket, and these turkey burgers are packed full of flavor. The burgers start with lean ground turkey. Memphis-style barbecue sauce is mixed into the meat along with breadcrumbs and several spices. These sweet and spicy turkey burgers are guaranteed to make a flavorful impact the next time you fire up your grill!



    • 1 lb. lean ground turkey
    • ¼ cup plain breadcrumbs
    • 3 tablespoons barbecue sauce
    • ½ cup white onion, finely diced
    • ¾ teaspoon chili powder
    • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
    • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
    • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 4 whole wheat burger buns


    • Spinach or romaine
    • Tomatoes
    • Grilled onions
    • Honey mustard sauce
    • More barbecue sauce


    1. Preheat your grill or a grill pan.
    2. Place the ground turkey into a glass bowl.
    3. Add the bread crumbs, barbecue sauce, onion and spices.
    4. Mix with your hands until all ingredients are incorporated into turkey.
    5. Divide the turkey into four even portions and form those into four burgers with your hands.
    6. Grill for about 10 minutes or until burgers are cooked through. You want turkey to reach 165°F internally before you pull them off the grill.
    7. Serve on hamburger buns (or whole wheat sandwich pockets!) with your favorite toppings of choice, and enjoy.

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    Nutrition Information:



    Serving Size:

    1 burger without condiments

    Amount Per Serving: Calories: 953Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 119mgSodium: 386mgCarbohydrates: 145gFiber: 25gSugar: 4gProtein: 63g

    Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.

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    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

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    1. This looks beyond delicious! Love everything you made it with and it must be incredible grilled to perfection!

    2. These sound delicious! Grilling is generally what I prefer in the summer too but its been too hot. Love this site, Erin.

      1. Thank you! We’re big fans of grilling since we JUST got a grill, and I feel you on it being too hot. I cannot wait for the fall, but that won’t come here until at least October, so we’re trying to get used to the heat…

    3. So, my parents pick up Rendezvous AND Corky’s BBQ sauce every time they come through the Memphis airport in between MN and Huntsville trips. My house in MN was NEVER without Memphis BBQ sauce. I should see if they’ll ship some to me!

    4. These turkey burgers sound delicious. I would have never thought to mix the BBQ sauce in with the meat before cooking! I am sure it helped to keep the turkey nice and moist while cooking. Thanks for the great {and healthy} recipe!

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