Contrary to what their name suggests, turtle burgers are not actually made from real turtles. They are, in fact, made from ground beef or mince, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and sausages, all arranged to make the shape of a turtle and cooked in the oven. They provide a quirky alternative to the normal hamburger or cheeseburger and are often served at fun holidays, such as Halloween, or at children's birthday parties.
To make turtle burgers, the patty needs to be relatively thick, to have enough space to push in the sausages. The choice of which sausages to use is up to the cook and who will be eating the burgers, but plain hot dogs work well. They are cut up and pushed into the sides of the turtle burgers to create their heads, legs and short tails. Some cooks even cut "toes" by splitting the ends of the sausages and make a mouth in "head" end of the sausages, but leaving them plain works as well.
On top of the patty, a slice of cheese is placed, preferably a sharp cheddar or American cheese, again this depends on the cook's taste. On top of this, bacon slices are weaved, to create the shell of the turtle burgers. Once melted, the cheese ensures that the bacon shell stays exactly in place. Weaving the bacon slices will also help to keep it all together, once cooked.
The turtle burgers are then baked in the oven on a greased tray for 20 to 30 minutes. They should be crispy on the outside, but not too crunchy. The patties can then be served, as is, with fries and a salad or, like traditional hamburgers, in a burger bun with various accompaniments such as avocado, lettuce, onion, tomato and relish. To ensure that everybody gets to see the "turtles" before they're hidden in the bun, they can be served on a platter and each person makes up their own hamburger.
Hamburgers are a popular choice as a barbecue food, be they beef burgers, chicken burgers, homemade or commercially bought. Summer weekends and holidays are often traditionally spent with family and friends, outdoors around the barbecue and, as such, hamburgers may form a main part of the menu. The making of turtle burgers in preparation for such occasions can be something the whole family is involved in, including the children.