I had the pleasure of spending time in Stockton, Missouri, with the kind folks from Hammons Black Walnuts, and I learned about and gained an appreciation for the distinctly American wild resource that is the black walnut.
While not as common as the English walnut, the black walnut is my preferred variety due to its bolder and earthier flavor. And, I learned about all the applications for the resource, including uses for food and industrial purposes. Side note: Did you know ground-up black walnut shells were once used to clean the Statue of Liberty?
But loving burgers as much as I do, I wanted to create a meal that evoked the essence of the town I was visiting in the southwest Missouri Ozarks. That means it would feature black walnuts in some fashion and, of course, be built with ground wild turkey.
Prep time: 30-45 mins (grinding turkey and making black walnut butter, but not including making jelly)
Cook time: 15-20 mins (for bacon and burger cooking)
Total cook time: About 1 hour
- Deboned wild turkey legs and thighs of one bird, about 2 pounds (venison substitute is also an option)
- Black walnut butter (recipe below)
- Redbud jelly (other jellies can be used; Timber to Table’s Michael Pendley has a great recipe)
- Bacon (12-ounce package)
- Brioche buns
- Sliced cheddar
- Mixed greens
- Salt and pepper
Black Walnut Butter Recipe
- 1 cup recipe-ready Hammons Black Walnuts
- 1-2 tbsp oil (vegetable, peanut or black walnut)
- kosher salt to taste
- Place 1 cup recipe-ready Hammons Black Walnuts on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 375 degrees until lightly toasted and fragrant.
- Once toasted, let cool briefly.
- Add nuts to food processor and pulse to begin breaking down the nuts.
- Periodically use a spatula to push down build up on the sides of the food processor.
- Start adding oil a teaspoon at a time (don’t add it all at once as it may be too much for your liking) and continue processing until desired creaminess.
- Once desired consistency is reached, salt to taste and set aside.
Ground Turkey Burger
- Cut turkey meat into 1-inch cubes.
- Place meat in the freezer to chill along with grinder components (20-30 minutes).
- Grind meat twice at a medium grind.
- Form patties, yielding about 8 quarter-pound patties.
- Season lightly with salt and pepper and place in fridge to keep chilled.
Assembling “The Stockton”
- Cook bacon to desired crispiness and set aside.
- Cook burgers on a grill or in a skillet to internal temperature of 150 or above.
- Once burgers are done, scoop desired amount of black walnut butter on top of the burger and let it warm.
- Place a slice of cheddar on top of the bottom bun, followed by the patty with walnut butter. Top with desired amount of redbud (or other) jelly, two half pieces of bacon and mixed greens. No other toppings are necessary.