Americans eat about 50 billion hamburgers annually. That’s about three hamburgers a week. While Americans love their red meat, not all burgers are built the same.
It all starts with the burger. It needs to be of the right quality, has plenty of flavors, be juicy, and be cooked to perfection. There’s one question that always gets asked, is a rare hamburger okay?
This guide will help you know what to look for when ordering a hamburger.
Risk of Illness
The more processing a cut of beef goes through, the risk of food-borne illness increases. Hamburger meat is some of the most processed because it’s a cut of meat that’s then ground up. There is a large surface area for bacteria to collect and grow.
Not cooking your meat to 160 degrees means that there could still be bacteria on the meat. This puts you at risk of exposure to E. coli or salmonella. If you have a healthy immune system, you may feel sick for a short time.
However, those with weakened immune systems or who are older may want to stick with a well-done hamburger.
Don’t Depend on Color
For most people, a medium hamburger is preferable because it’s a nice balance between rare and well done. You’ll find several guides online that describe the color and texture of a medium burger. However, this isn’t the most accurate method for determining doneness.
Using a food thermometer is the only accurate and failproof method for determining how cooked your burger is. Pink meat doesn’t indicate undercooked meat, while brown doesn’t automatically mean it’s done.
Aim for Quality
The higher quality and fresher the meat is, the safer it is. Handmade burgers that use freshly ground high-quality beef are going to be safer and tastier to consume.
When ordering a hamburger, look for a meat supplier or restaurant that only uses high-quality meat and freshly prepares the burgers. Check it out!
Beef chuck is the best cut of meat because it has a bold, beefy flavor and the right balance of fat. The result is a flavorful and juicy burger.
There are also eight grades of beef that the USDA assigns to meat when determining its quality. The grades judge the meat’s fat marbling, maturity, color, and texture.
Stick with prime, choice, and select grades for use in your burgers. These are the top three quality grades and will produce the best quality burgers. The top-quality grades have the most marbling evenly distributed throughout the meat.
Order a Rare Hamburger
Don’t be afraid to order a rare hamburger. While there are risks, you can still enjoy this American pastime cooked to your preferred level of doneness. Just be sure to only eat a hamburger that’s cooked to the right temperature and made from high-quality meat.
Become a better cook in your home kitchen by checking out our other informative articles.