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Tallahassee Smoked Turkey Burgers with Sweet and Tangy Swamp Cabbage Summer Slaw

It might be genetic or it could be a learned skill, but every southerner knows how to smoke meat. When we would visit our relatives in North Florida we would smoke wild turkey and when they would visit South Florida we would smoke fish. Our summers were filled with regular cook-outs and as a youngster my job was to prepare the swamp cabbage that my brothers had gathered. Swamp cabbage is the heart of the Sable Palm and was a staple in the diets of many low country southerners. It is available in most grocery stores as Hearts of Palm and in this delicious new burger I have combined my favorite flavors from both North and South Florida. Serve it up with a great bottle of Sutter Home Pinot Grigio and Enjoy!


8 large sprigs of Rosemary
1 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon Creole Mustard
2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
3 Tablespoons Colavita Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 medium yellow summer squash, sliced into thin coins
1 (14.5 ounce can) Hearts of Palm, sliced into thin coins
1 cup Red Onion, very thinly sliced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 pounds fresh ground dark turkey meat
1 cup finely chopped green onion
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup fresh chopped flat leaf parsley
3 teaspoons Tabasco Chipotle Pepper Sauce
Vegetable oil for brushing the grill
6 Crusty Hamburger Buns
2 cups watercress leaves, packed


In a large bowl, cover the rosemary sprigs with water and set aside. In a small jar with a tight fitting lid add the vinegar, sugar, mustard, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and shake until sugar is dissolved. Add the olive oil and shake vigorously until the oil is fully incorporated. To a large bowl add the summer squash, hearts of palm and onion. Cut 1/2 of the bell pepper into very thin strips and add to the bowl. Toss with the dressing, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. In a medium bowl, mix together the mayo, tarragon and lemon juice, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pre heat a gas grill to medium high heat. In a large bowl add the ground turkey, the remaining salt, green onion, garlic, parsley and chipotle sauce.. Finely dice the remaining bell pepper and add to the bowl. With wet hands mix just until combined and form into 6 patties. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the water and spread the sprigs directly on the hot coals. Brush the grill with oil and place the burgers on the hot grill, cover and grill 4 to 6 minutes on each side or until done. During the last few minutes of grilling, place the buns cut side down on the cooler parts of the grill 1 to 2 minutes to lightly toast. Remove the burgers and the buns from the grill.

To assemble the burgers: Coat the cut side of the bottom bun with some of the tarragon mayo and a burger. Add the watercress to the swamp cabbage slaw, toss to coat and add a generous portion to the top of each burger. Coat the cut side of the top bun with some of the remaining mayo and place on top of the slaw. Serve warm and enjoy!