Saga of The Best Turkey Burger Ever

Southwest Style Turkey BurgerLast summer on a whim, Lauren and I bought a package of “Southwest Style Turkey Burgers” from Trader Joe’s. We forgot about them and they sat in the freezer for a month or so. Then we decided to bring them to a BBQ at Mike’s house. They were, in a word, awesome. Never again did a package of them last for more than a week or two.

Then on a rainy weekday in February, disaster struck. Walking down the freezer aisle, there were garden burgers, buffalo burgers, gorgonzola stuffed beef burgers, but no southwest turkey burgers. We asked the staff and were told: “We no longer stock that item. It was discontinued due to slow sales.” I was thunderstruck. I considered wearing all black for a week. Went through all seven stages of loss in fairly rapid succession.

Fast forward to yesterday afternoon and a routine trip to TJ’s to fill the empty fridge. I was in a wandering mood and decided to stroll all the aisles (at our local TJ’s this is all of 4 aisles). Just past the frozen Turbot I stopped, agape. Lauren wondered if I lost my mind, and all I could do was point. They had come back from the dead. The Southwest Turkey Burgers had returned. It was a miraculous event. The checkout lady told us that they hadn’t been discontinued, merely “out of stock”. For 3 months? I don’t know if I believe it, but who am I to question. And just to be safe, we purchased 4 boxes on the spot.

And now the story has been told. I encourage all of you who live near a Trader Joe’s to try this very affordable delicacy, and help ensure that the Southwest Turkey Burger stays off the “slow sales” endangered grocery list.

UPDATE (04/12/06): They are gone again. Talked to the staff on Capitol Hill and they had no information to help me. There will be a big hole in our grilling this summer 🙁

UPDATE (11/12/06): They are back! Hopefully this time they are here to stay…

17 thoughts on “Saga of The Best Turkey Burger Ever

  1. Steve


    This is an ancient posting – and it’s ridiculous for me to leave a comment about Turkey Burgers but tha’ts what I’m doing.
    I randomly entered “trader joes southwest style turkey burgers” in google and your blog is the third posting after 2 from TJs.
    I’m having the exact same experience 1 year later here in Long Beach, CA. They’ve discontinued them and I was going through a box a week. Never saw it coming. The store says they can’t order them any more.
    So – I’ve filled out the comment card at the store and am encouraging anyone who’s interested to do
    the same because as the store manager told me, “HQ takes these things very seriously.”
    TJ’s main office # 626-599-3700.


  2. Kenny

    Yes, it seems they’re gone here as well (though I heard of a sighting in Sacramento, CA last month). I’ll call the main office as well. Others reading this should do the same!

  3. Leigh Kenny

    I too, typed in Trader Joe’s Southwest Turkey Burgers in Live search and found this blog. This is the first time I have ever responded to one of these, but I too am compelled to. These things Rock! I just tried my first box and I am hooked. They have them in the trader joes in reno, nv. This is an old blog, so maybe they restocked them, or maybe we are one of the last stores to carry them. For all of our sakes, I hope they restocked!

  4. Kenny

    Inspired by your report from Reno, I chatted with the manager of the Seattle store and left a request for stocking the Turkey Burgers here. Whether as a result of that or mere coincidence, either way the end result is that they are back here as well. Happy day 🙂

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  7. Joan Stewart

    I learned last week that the Turkey Burgers, which I have come to adore and horde, have disappeared from the TJ’s in Glendale, Wisconsin. I’ll fill out a consumer card and formally ask the store to restock them. Then I’ll call headquarters.

    Does anybody have any recipes that try to recreate these great burgers? I’ll make them myself if I have to.

  8. Eric

    Well my T’sJ in Ahwatukee (phoenix, AZ) has these burgers. But I have to recommend the chicken lime burgers. They are extremely tasty and just as inexpensive as the turkey ones.

  9. Kenny

    I agree, the Chicken Lime Burgers are very good, especially with some grilled onions, mushrooms, and guacamole! Fortunately I like them, as we are still missing the Turkey Burgers in Seattle….

  10. Kenny

    That’s amazing, since I just noticed last week that they were back in stock at the Seattle (capitol hill) Trader Joe’s! You can try asking the store manager at your local TJs?

  11. Kenny

    Definitely ask the store manager. Here in Seattle we currently have the turkey ones (though we don’t have the chilli lime chicken burgers at the moment, which I was also loving).

  12. lisa

    same experience in ny- we loved to chop these up and brown them and use them as a taco filling….trying to replicate at home with a recipe…anyone have a good one.

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  14. Joan Stewart

    I found a terrific recipe online that’s a very close match to TJ’s turkey burgers.

    If you’d like it, email me at and put “Turkey Burgers” in the subject line and I’ll email it to you. I make them with Jennie-0 ground turkey and go through about 30 a month.

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