photo credit: flickr,mufan96

Backyard grills could be called heart attackgrills and we all know it.

Greasy beef, fat-laden cheese, mayo, white bread, and the complimentary beer(s) are prime ingredients for fat build-up in your arteries, heart and brain. Practice some moderation and you'll be just fine. However, if you are hooked on BBQ in a major way, give this a shot.

Here's a burger recipe as good as any slider you ever glommed down and it's healthier than usual backyard grill fare.

Deluxe Bird Burgers to Die for (topped with sweet and sour coleslaw)

The burgers:

  • 1-2 lbs lean ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 tbs tomato sauce OR 3 Tbs ketchup
  • A splash of Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce, red or green, to your taste garlic, chopped - you decide how much
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, sliced
  • A little olive oil
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire Sauce or steak sauce
  • 1 Tb grilling seasoning mix (from the spice aisle) Low fat cheese, optional
  • 6 Whole grain hearty hamburger rolls

Fire up the grill. Gently saute the chopped white onion in a bit of olive oil and just as they begin to turn clear, add the garlic for a few seconds to soften it but not brown it at all. Remove from heat. In a big bowl, mix the bird, tomato sauce or ketchup, hot sauce, the sauteed onions and garlic and the Worcestershire and seasoning. Add a good amount of black pepper and a pinch of salt, if you must. Your clean hands are the best tools.

Form the mixture into six patties, but don't smack them around or flatten them too much. Get your spouse or best friend to pilot the outdoor cooking - put the burgers on the grill, but keep the heat on the medium side - flare ups will dry these babies out too much so go gently. Cook until the juices are clear and the centers are done. Do not char. Add a slice of red onion and one of cheese to each burger just before you take them off the fire. Let the cheese melt.


The coleslaw (make it the night before, if you can):

  • 1 bag already shredded red and white cabbage
  • 1/2 small onion, grated
  • 1/2 c. raw carrot, grated
  • 1 Tbs honey or 3/4 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup sweet or sweet/dill pickle relish
  • Juice of one lime
  • 1 tsp lime zest
  • Salt and pepper

Put everything together, toss thoroughly and let it set while your burgers cook. You can refrigerate it over night for the best texture and flavor, but bring it to room temp before using. Now, put the burgers on buns, plate them and top each with a big spoonful of the coleslaw. You won't need any other condiments. Serve with watermelon wedges and a few whole grain chips.

OK, now you have a hearty and satisfying meal. My very picky husband, who refuses to eat health food, loves these bird burgers. Give them a try this summer.