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Allergy Safe Recipes

Bourbon BBQ Turkey Burgers

Bourbon BBQ Turkey Burger cropPhoto Credit: Chris Gonzaga

By Cybele Pascal

Hearty, flavorful and succulent, these burgers are worthy of the center plate, and pair perfectly with allergen-free coleslaw and our sweet potato fries.

Makes: 6 servings
Free of: gluten and all top allergens


Turkey Burgers

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 large red onion, halved vertically and cut into thin vertical slices (3 cups)
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  •  1 1/2 lbs (680 g) ground turkey
  • 6 allergen-free hamburger buns
  • 6 slices firm, ripe tomato
  • 6 lettuce leaves

Bourbon BBQ Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (120 mL) ketchup
  • 2 tbsp bourbon
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat, canola oil or olive oil
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp gluten-free Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp barbecue seasoning (look for allergen-safe brand)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat 5-7 minutes, until browned and crisp. Remove to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour off bacon fat, but don’t discard.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add 2 tablespoons bacon fat back to pan. Add onion and cook 20 minutes stirring occasionally, until soft and browned.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk all BBQ Sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, loosely cover and simmer 10 minutes, until thickened.
  4. Once onions are cooked, add bourbon, vinegar and salt. Saute 2 minutes while scraping up browned bits on the pan’s bottom to deglaze, until most of liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat and let cool 5 minutes.
  5. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  6. Place turkey in medium bowl. Roughly chop 1/2 cup of cooked onions, and stir into turkey meat. Divide meat into 6 equal portions and form into 1/2-inch thick patties.
  7. Liberally apply cooking spray to grill. Place patties on grill, close lid and cook 4 minutes. Flip  patties and add buns to grill, face down. Close lid and cook 4 minutes, checking buns halfway through.
  8. To assemble, spread 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce on bottom half of a bun. Top with a cooked patty, tomato slice, lettuce leaf, sauteed onions and 1 piece bacon broken in half. Finish with top half of bun and repeat for remaining burgers. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side.

Note: Most experts agree that bourbon is gluten-free due to the distillation process.

Contributor Cybele Pascal is the author of three cookbooks, including the new Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking and The Allergen-Free Baker’s Handbook. Visit her at
For many more great recipes, subscribe to Allergic Living magazine.

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