Hamburgers have been labeled “America’s favorite food” and some would argue that they are the best option for any kind of burger. Lately, there seems to be more and more people becoming health conscious, especially now with the Internet and articles popping up every day about how something isn’t good for us anymore. There has been a trend to change our favorite staples into healthier options. A healthier option for hamburgers would be turkey burgers, but can we say that one is better than the other? I decided to compare the two on different aspects to see if there was a clear winner.
I found comparisons between the nutritional facts between 4 oz. of raw ground turkey (85% lean/15% fat) and 4 oz. raw ground beef (85% lean). You can find many different comparisons out there, but I chose the ground turkey I am using for my recipe this week, Jenni-O ground turkey 85% lean/15% fat (this is the only option they had for ground turkey at my grocery store). There are other options for ground turkey that is extra lean, 98-99% lean, which will be much healthier than my kind. It is the same with ground beef. There are leaner and fattier versions of beef you can buy, but my family buys the 85% lean ground beef.
From this comparison chart, you can see that ground turkey has less calories, total fat, saturated fat, and sodium. These are the nutritional facts that you are watching out for when you are trying to lose weight. The turkey burger is the better option for that. The leaner the meat, the less the fat content will be in it. One thing I did notice was the cholesterol was higher in turkey burgers. My family has a history of high cholesterol, so I feel like I notice these number more than my fiancé would. Your body produces all the cholesterol it needs, so if you have high cholesterol, you want to stay away from foods with higher numbers of cholesterol, including red meat (beef burgers). I still would say that when it comes to nutritional facts, the turkey burger wins.
Before this week, I had never had a turkey burger, so I didn’t know what it would be like. The ground meat looked very similar except the turkey had a more pink color than red (the leaner the meat, the lighter the color will be). The meat patties also felt the same to me. After I cooked them, I noticed that the turkey burgers were a lot more delicate and seemed to fall apart easier. This is where I could really tell the difference. A beef burger can be cut with a fork pretty easily, but the turkey burgers almost fell apart when you cut into it. With my first bite, I could immediately tell the texture was different. (For me, I had a harder time getting past the texture of it). When it looks like a beef burger, and smell like one, you think that’s what you get. The texture is more soft in your mouth. For me, beef burgers won the texture contest, but this could really be me just being used to it.
I think originally, turkey burgers were not very enticing when it came to the taste. They were seen as “the weak excuse of a burger substitute” because they were dry, and were lacking flavor that a beef burger naturally has. Now there are so many recipes out there to spice up these seemingly dull hamburgers. For my recipe, I added breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, egg whites, and parsley to my ground turkey. When I first cooked the turkey burgers, they come out grey looking. I was immediately turned off by the look. You see in pictures that burgers (beef and turkey) look better with the buns, and condiments, but I have never liked my hamburgers on buns and have always eaten them plain (except for cheese-which I DID NOT add for this). So for this taste taste, it was truly a naked test where I was only judging the actual meat patty. After my first bite, I was pretty shocked because of the texture, but once I let myself just taste the flavor, I actually really liked the taste. Do I think it is the best burger I have ever had? No! Was the difference from taste that significant from beef burgers? Again the answer was no! You can make the argument that I only tried the one recipe and maybe there are recipes out there that make the turkey burger taste even better, but I think you can say the same about beef burgers too. I think when it comes to taste, it isn’t as black and white as some other categories. I think this comes down the personal choice. I have had really great beef burgers, and some that were terrible. I bet I could say the same about turkey burgers if I had enough. As for the taste test, I think for me it’s a tie.
Nutritionally, turkey burgers are the healthier option over beef burgers, Textually, burgers are the top choice, and taste wise, it is up to the eater. Can there be a clear winner? I would say the winner is up to you, but either way, can you really go wrong with a burger?