Can Turkey Burgers Be Pink?

Can Turkey Burgers Be Pink

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Turkey is a great tasting, generally healthier alternative to beef. Chances are you’ve used turkey as a nutritious alternative to the meat, which means you use it to make chili, tacos, and, of course, it’s a great meat for burgers.

However, this does not mean that cooking with turkey is easy, as the meat can come with its setbacks. 

For example, when using ground turkey to make burgers, you may find yourself questioning how well the meat has been cooked and if the turkey is still edible.

While we all know that chicken with any pink should be avoided, the same cannot be said for turkey, which can make the overall process confusing. 

So if you want to know if you can eat pink turkey burgers, then you have come to the right place. 

In the following article, we have gathered some important information about turkey meat and its preparation, so that you can cook the meat in a safe and hygienic manner. Just take a look down below and you will find everything you need to get started.

Can You Eat Turkey Burgers With Pink?

If you’re in a rush and don’t have time to read the entire article, then we have provided a condensed version of our answer in the section below: 

While it is safe to eat turkey burgers that are slightly pink in the middle, you still need to cook the meat to an internal temperature of 165ºF. 

When the meat has reached this temperature, the bacteria on the burgers will be destroyed and the meat will be edible. 

If you want to learn more about ground turkey and its components, then you will find a more detailed explanation in the following section… 

What Is Ground Turkey? 

Ground turkey is considered a healthier alternative to ground beef, as it contains high amounts of protein, vitamins, and minerals. The meat is also lower in saturated fat and can be used in a range of dishes. 

When it comes to purchasing ground turkey, there are several varieties available, with each blend boasting a different fat content. 

For example, some blends are marketed as 93 percent lean, which means they are made using only white meat. While other blends that boast an 85 – 15 percent fat content are usually made from a combination of white and dark meat. 

In most cases, lean blends are the healthier choice, although lean ground turkey can sometimes lose its shape when being made into patties. To combat burgers falling apart, we recommend adding a raw egg to the meat, which should make it easier to work with. 

Ground turkey also comes with a mild flavor profile, which means you will need to season the patties with herbs and spices to achieve a truly delicious burger. 

Can Turkey Burgers Be Pink? 

If you have cut into your recently cooked turkey burger and the meat is still pink, you may be wondering if it is still edible. While pink turkey often means undercooked, this is not always the case

In fact, pink turkey burgers can be perfectly safe depending on how they were cooked. While you do want the meat to be opaque, it is not unusual for ground turkey to have some pink shading in the middle, even when the meat has been cooked. 

Instead, you need to make sure that the meat has reached the correct internal temperature, as this will mean that the bacteria has been killed and it’s safe to eat. 

However, if you plan on cooking the patties in a smoker, then it is natural for the meat to turn pink during the cooking process. This is because the smoke causes a chemical reaction, which turns the meat red and is often visible beneath the skin. 

Can Turkey Burgers Be Medium-Rare? 

The short and simple answer is no – all poultry must be cooked to a temperature of at least 165ºF before it can be consumed.

Can Turkey Burgers Be Pink (1)

While it is common for beef burgers to be served medium or medium-rare, it is not safe to eat turkey that has not been cooked. 

But why is this? Well, the answer has to do with the nature of the meat, as turkey can contain harmful bacteria such as salmonella.

Unlike cows, turkeys and chickens have thinner skin, which means the bacteria can penetrate deeper into the meat. This is why you have to cook poultry thoroughly before it can be served. 

It is also advisable to cook all ground meat to at least medium-well, as this helps to kill any bacteria gathering on the surface. So when it comes to cooking ground turkey, heating it to the correct temperature is the only way to make sure it is safe.

For more on this topic, head over to our ultimate meat doneness guide next.

Side Effects Of Eating Undercooked Turkey

In most instances, eating undercooked poultry can lead to salmonella, which is a kind of food poisoning present in white meat. 

When you have eaten undercooked turkey, the illness could make itself evident as soon as 12 hours later, or it could take a week before it manifests. In any case, the symptoms will usually last for around 4 – 7 days. 

These symptoms include: 

  • Diarrhea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Fever 
  • Abdominal cramps 

If you believe you are suffering from salmonella (or another form of food poisoning), then you will need to contact a medical care provider.

While the symptoms will usually resolve themselves within a few days, it is still important to set up an emergency contact for extreme circumstances. 

How To Make Sure Turkey Burgers Are Cooked

When it comes to cooking with raw poultry, you have to be certain that the meat is cooked before you can eat it. Fortunately, you can now use a calibrated meat thermometer to find this out. 

All you have to do is insert the probe into the thickest part of the burger, which should have reached 165 degrees F to make it edible.

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However, it is important to note that the outside of the patties will cook first, which means you should never rely on color to determine the status of the meat

Of course, there are other methods that can be used to check if the meat is cooked, such as pressing the pattie against your thumb to feel the heat. If the meat is piping hot, then this most likely means it has been cooked. 

It is also possible to poke the patties with a fork or knife to release the juice, which should run clear if the meat is ready. However, if the juice runs red, this means the burgers are undercooked and need more time on the grill. 

Final Thoughts 

While cooking ground turkey correctly may sound complicated, we promise it can be done without any fuss or effort. Just make sure that the meat has reached a temperature of 165ºF and you’ll have nothing to worry about. 

At this temperature, the bacteria on the meat will be destroyed, even if the inside of the burger still looks a little pink in the middle.