As much as we hate to insult the healthy white meat, sometimes a turkey burger needs a little help in the taste department, which is exactly what Gaby Dalkins, author of Absolutely Avocados, did with this recipe. Her bacon-cotija guacamole is the perfect, flavorful complement to the juicy turkey burgers, and we’re convinced that we’ll be using it for a lot more than our burgers.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Lay the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer and transfer to the oven. Let the bacon cook for 20 to 25 minutes, until just crispy, turning the bacon over once in the middle of the cooking time. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the bacon to a paper towel–lined plate to cool. Once the bacon is cool enough to touch, chop it into bite-size pieces and set aside.
Cut each avocado in ½ lengthwise. Remove the pit from the avocado and discard. Remove the avocado from the skin, and place the avocado flesh in a bowl.
Add the cilantro, cotija cheese, serrano pepper, lime juice, salt, and pepper to the bowl. Mash with a fork until half smooth and half chunky. Fold in ½ of the bacon. Taste and add more salt and pepper if desired. Garnish the guacamole with the remaining bacon, and add more crumbled cotija cheese if desired.
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill.
In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, paprika, chili powder, red pepper flakes, and garlic salt. Mix together with your hands until the spices are evenly incorporated. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions.
Take 1 portion of the ground turkey and form it into a large disk. Add 1 ounce of the shredded cheese in the center of the turkey disk. Form the patty into a ball to enclose the cheese and then form the turkey into a patty that is roughly 4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Repeat this process for the remaining turkey and transfer the 4 turkey patties to a plate.
Brush the hot grill with olive oil.
Transfer each turkey burger to the grill and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the burgers and grill for another 4 to 5 minutes, until fully cooked. Remove the patties from the grill and transfer to a clean plate.
Brush the hamburger buns with the olive oil and transfer to the grill for 1 minute, until they are just toasted.
Put 1 burger patty on the bottom layer of each bun. Top with ¼ cup or more of the guacamole and top with the remaining bun. Serve immediately.