Ground turkey is usually made from pure minced turkey meat. Butchers often prepare it by mixing light and dark turkey meat.
There may also be some skin and visible fat processed together with the meat. Depending on where you purchase your meat from, the mince may contain additives like preservatives and soya.
Ground turkey is as versatile as ground beef or chicken as it has a fairly bland flavor that combines well with a variety of ingredients. It can be used for burgers, meatballs, meatloaf, or combined with sauces. However, ground turkey can sometimes be mushy.
We have put together 4 possible reasons for this.
Why is Ground Turkey So Mushy?
1. Choose the right fat percentage
It is important to purchase ground turkey with the correct fat percentage for your recipe needs. Using turkey with a high fat percentage in, say, a casserole, may give you a mushy result due to the high fat content.
On the other hand, if you are making burger patties, we advise choosing mince with a higher fat percentage so that your burgers don’t end up being dry.
If you bought cheap turkey mince from a superstore or chain supermarket, the reason for it being mushy is a high fat content. It is better to buy it from a butcher who will not add too much fat.
2. Not enough binding material
Mushiness can also be a problem with low fat content turkey mince. If you are making burger patties or meatballs, you will need to add some kind of binding ingredient to help the ground meat hold together.
If you don’t, the meatballs might break up into a mushy mess and will not keep their shape when they are cooked. To prevent this, add something like an egg, breadcrumbs, cracker crumbs, or oatmeal. A tablespoon or two per pound of meat should be enough.
3. Over handling
Another thing that you will need to be careful about is how you handle ground turkey. When mixing the ingredients for meatballs or burgers, use a big bowl and blend everything with your fingers rather than a mixer or spoon.
Shape the portions with wet hands but do not squish the meat too hard.
While some meat types become mushy if you overcook them, it is the other way around when it comes to ground turkey. If you overcook it, it becomes dry, tasteless, dry and crumbles up.
However, if the ground turkey is undercooked, the fat inside the mixture will cause it to appear mushy and that is certainly not very appetizing. That is why you need to be careful about your cooking times and temperatures.
Undercooked turkey carries a food poisoning risk so, like chicken, it should never be underdone. If your burgers or meatballs are mushy in the middle, they are probably undercooked.
Is my mushy turkey bad?
You may be wondering if your turkey is mushy because it is bad. This is a possibility. During processing, the turkey meat, fat, and skin are ground into a coarse paste that turns bad fast if the storage conditions are not optimal.
The meat should be kept chilled and if not frozen, used within a day or two of purchase. Luckily, it is pretty easy to tell if your turkey has gone off.
Fresh ground turkey is pink and glistens moistly. If it is grey, moldy, or slimy, it is bad and must be thrown away.
Fresh turkey has a mild smell that is difficult to detect. If your turkey smells stinky, has a sulfur odor, or smells unpleasant in any way, discard it.